On the surface, reassurance seeking seems harmless. In reality, it’s anxiety’s fuel.
Getting reassurance that a fear won’t come true is like a drug: We need more of it to get the same level of calming effects as before.
It’s important to remember, reassurance seeking is a form of avoidance and reinforces the anxiety cycle.
Anxiety will lie and tell us a different story though:
- “Reassurance = self-care”
- “What’s so bad about getting support from a friend?”
- “This time is different, we need reassurance because…”
- “Just one more time. Getting reassurance this way will be the answer we need”
If your intention for seeking out reassurance is to get the truth, arrive at a conclusion, accept uncertainty and take action, then this is likely helpful long-term. However, if the main intention is to reduce anxiety, its discomfort, and attempt to find certainty, more often than not, it’s reassurance seeking and will reinforce the anxiety long-term.