Attachment issues are quite common. They typically start during childhood and can last into adulthood. There are four major kinds of attachment: secure, insecure, fearful-avoidant, and dismissive – avoidant. People fall into these four categories typically based on how their attachment to their parents was developed when they were children. Attachment fosters dynamics and healthy–or unhealthy – relationships between two people.
While most people may want a secure attachment style for their intimate relationships, you can also develop secure attachment for all kinds of relationships in your life – with children, family members, and friends. You can form healthy connections with everyone around you by understanding attachment and how to make it secure so everyone involved is healthier and more independent, focusing on long-lasting and healthy bonds.
Identify Your Attachment Style
The first step to ensuring your attachments are secure is to identify what your attachment style is in the first place. This helps you start off with purpose and a solid understanding of which exact negative aspects you would like to change, whether you tend to have insecure, fearful-avoidant, or dismissive-avoidant attachment.
By acknowledging what you yourself need and have to work on, this helps create an attachment that is beneficial to both you and the person you’re connecting with – all the work can’t be on their end, after all. Focusing on what to improve within yourself is a great beginning.
For example, if you’re insecure-avoidant, this means that you tend to avoid meeting the needs of other people. Once you identify this, make a conscious effort to meet someone’s needs and talk to them about why you may feel like pulling away. Then talk about what they can do on their end to help support you in a healthy attachment.
Focus on Self-Esteem
It’s difficult to develop healthy, secure relationships if you are constantly criticizing yourself and experiencing negative thoughts or low self-esteem. You may neglect yourself or believe that you aren’t worthy of positive, secure attachments. If this is your situation, practice self-compassion and focus on building up your self-esteem so you can focus on the positives and devote your whole self to secure relationships.
To build up self-esteem, some people journal every day, take on a new hobby, develop a habit of positive self-talk, and more. There are many ways to try to build up your self-esteem and there is something for everyone. Having positive attachments to other people begins with a positive attachment to, and positive support of, yourself.
Heal From Your Past
If you tend to have insecure attachments, this often develops from experiences and situations from your childhood. Self-criticism, self-destructive behaviors, shame, and self-esteem issues all tend to root from childhood experiences as well, so acknowledging these and working with a professional to heal them can help you develop the foundation you need to be able to create secure attachments. Often, insecure attachments run deep and it takes time to heal from these before you can create secure ones.
Talk with the loved ones in your life about the changes you want to make. It starts with identifying the attachment style that you already have in place, then focusing on self-esteem and healing from there. The main point is that developing a secure attachment style doesn’t depend on others; it depends on yourself, but focusing inward is always a great place to start.