While learning to reframe your attachment style can require time and effort, it’s not impossible, and your relationships will thank you for it. As Page explains, the biggest things you can do to get started are cultivating relationships with people you can truly trust, as well as focusing on the inner work of connecting to your own needs (and learning to voice them slowly but surely).
In an effort towards personal growth of any kind, mindfulness is also always required. After all, you can’t unlearn patterns if you don’t notice them in the first place.
To that end, marriage counselor Linda Carroll, MS, previously wrote for mindbodygreen, “Practicing mindfulness is essential for any change. In relationships, shifting from reactiveness to responsiveness can lift us out of our early attachment patterns toward a healthier, more secure style. “
As you start to notice when your avoidant tendencies are popping up, you can work to adjust your behavior. Page adds that working with a therapist you can trust is not only a good way to open yourself up to another person, but further, learn to tap into your own repressed needs and feelings.
“I cannot over emphasize how important it is to find people who cherish you and that you can trust, and how much more important that is than just trying to do it on your own,” Page tells mindbodygreen, adding, “Psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually, ‘lifting yourself up by your bootstraps’ never works because we are interdependent teams, first and foremost.”
Finally, he says, avoidants must learn not to be ashamed of their needs, and even to validate, honor, and champion them. To that end, he says, “The distance you keep from your own heart is the very is the distance you keep from your intimate relationships,” and when you’re connected to the desires in your own heart, “you’re going to be able to embrace that in your intimate relationships.”
It’s also important to note that these attachment styles exist on a spectrum of sorts, and few among us are 100% secure, according to Page. If lingering avoidant tendencies remain, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you’ve communicated your feelings to your partner. Page tells mindbodygreen that having a trustworthy and reliable partner who understands your need for space and independence can help you open up more in time.