How Your Self-Esteem affects your Relationships

SELF-ESTEEM

How Your Self-Esteem affects your Relationships

Do you stand up for yourself in relationships? If you don’t establish boundaries no matter how nice the person you are dating is, they will cross them. The truth is that relationships take both people sacrificing and contributing time, energy, patience and love for it to work. Here is how your self-esteem affects your relationships, though you might not be aware of when or how.

First, let’s define self-esteem. This is how you feel about yourself. Do you have a positive or negative self-image? What is your self-worth like? Some people think they’re worth a billion just for smiling. Others feel their utterly worthless. Most of us fall somewhere in between this spectrum. Self-esteem should not be confused with the ego which is the deciphering of your self-importance, helping you to realize how unique and extraordinary you really are. If you have low self-esteem you are liable to think you are lucky to have your partner. But they are just as lucky to have you. You will spend all of your time catering to their needs and fail to speak up for your own needs. It will be all give and zero take. You might expect your lover to know what you want and feel disappointed when they can’t read your mind and suddenly make your desire reality.

But this isn’t living in reality. After a while pent up anger, frustration and resentment will be pointed at your lover. You will be driving away the very person you want in your life. Or else you will be the perpetual servant waiting on your lover without receiving your fair share in return. Find ways to pump up your self-esteem. Start dressing how you want others to perceive you. Believe in yourself. Outline your dreams and ways to make them a reality. Celebrate each small accomplishment and watch your self-esteem grow. Write down five things you love about yourself and refer back and reflect on those things often. Ask your lover, friends and relatives to tell you what they love about you. Write down your skills. Think about how you can use those skills to better your station in life.

Perhaps go back to school, assert yourself and ask for a raise, or quit your job and do a year volunteering in Africa. In your relationship, show parameters. Ask to get your needs met. Be polite but direct. Be patient. Show the person and tell them. If they can’t take part in an equal exchange of power and care get rid of them. Know how to establish and assert yourself or else you’ll be taken advantage of in love and all aspects of life. For more advice read, Self Confidence NOW: Proven Strategies to Instantly Improve Your Self Confidence & Boost Your Self Esteem by William Wyatt.

Unhealthy Relationship Warning Signs

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Unhealthy Relationship Warning Signs

Do you know the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship? You’d better or else you could be in one and not even know it. Sure you might feel deep down something is wrong. But you’d be surprised how many people chug along in a relationship that is weighing them down or slowly poisoning them psychologically and they don’t even realize it. Here are the warning signs, see if you recognize them in your own relationship. First, what is the lying situation like?

Are you lying about small things? Do you tell a web of lies, one to cover up another and so on? If you aren’t a pathological liar by nature, then it is likely serious issues in the relationship that are making you lie. What about your partner? Are they lying all the time too? If you suspect they are lying, even on small matters, or worse if you’ve given up on whether they are being truthful or not, your relationship is rocky at best. Once the bond of trust has been severed, it’s hard to restore it. The next warning sign is infidelity. If one or both of you have gone astray, not only has the trust bond been severed but you’ve both been hurt emotionally. And what caused the cheating to begin with? This is a serious warning sign.

Do you have a secret goal that you wish your partner would achieve? If you have secret desires for them you haven’t shared, then go ahead and share them. Sit down with them and see if they want to commit to accomplishing whatever it is you have in mind. But to harbor them and have them affect you, thereby affecting the relationship, is a poor way to conduct yourself and it hurts your partner without either one of you knowing it. When they aren’t living up to some imagined expectation you punish them, even though they have no idea why. Is there jealousy issues? If you or your partner try to cut the other down, say separate someone from their friends because they are popular, or trying to get them fired because they are successful, a toxic jealousy has crept into the relationship. This will drive you two apart if it isn’t dealt with.

Being overly insecure and jealous of the opposite sex is another red flashing, warning sign. When you aren’t feeling any emotional intimacy the relationship is down the tubes. Reestablish it by reconnecting, or drift apart. If there is no sex in the relationship, this is a big sign that problems are deep and profound. Do you or your partner set each other up for a fall, just to say, “I told you so”? This is a warning sign that things aren’t going well. Find ways to turn this relationship around or get out of it. For more advice read, Love Is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships by Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, and Dr. Paul Meier.

Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

MINDFULNESS-RELATIONSHIPS

Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

When we get used to being with our partner we can sometimes take them for granted. We assume they’ll always be there. So we move on to our worries and stresses. We become so preoccupied with the kids or the challenges in our career that when we are eating dinner and trying to take part in meaningful dialogue, we aren’t even there. Then there is the constant distraction of our electronic devices that although convenient also become an obstacle to chitchat, discussion and intimate conversation. After a while without meaningful interaction we start to feel like roommates with our partner or spouse rather than lovers. The day-in, day-out decisions of running the household, parenting and paying the bills become the focus, and otherwise each person lives in their own separate bubble. When it comes time to interact, give your partner your undivided attention. When we aren’t fully present we aren’t showing them the love and respect they deserve. Instead, we are neglectful, albeit not on purpose. But the message we are inadvertently sending is that what is on my mind is more important than you. Misunderstandings arise when we don’t listen fully to our partner. This can lead to problems or even terrible fights. So how can we be more present with our partner?

First, make a conscious effort to focus on them and what they are saying. If there is something particularly important on your mind and you are distracted, tell them about it. Let them know how you feel and schedule another time to talk. Try and give them your undivided attention and expect the same in return. Make positive eye contact. Repeat back what they’ve said in your own words to show that you understand. When your partner or spouse seems distracted, don’t tell them or remind them of something. Wait until you have their full attention. If you are distracted and they told you something, don’t assume that they will remind you. It’s best to check with your partner in a positive manner whenever you are unsure. Regular running of the household exchanges are of course important. But they don’t help build intimacy. You two have to make time to talk on a deeper level. At the end of the day, we may be so exhausted that we just want to watch a couple of TV shows or surf the net, check our social media pages and go to bed. But that doesn’t bring you closer. Instead, clear out a little time each day to spend talking on a deeper level.  Not just, “How was your day?” But what really happened to you today? What were you thinking about? How did it make you feel?

Sometimes you have to leave the dishes in the sink or put off laundry and spend a little couple time together. Some experts say having more sex is the answer. But a recent study found that building intimacy is far more important. When miscommunication, unfulfilled expectations and misunderstandings occur they get in the way of real intimacy, and so not only block your connection but your ability to get physical. Hurt feelings get in the way. When we are fully present with our partner, the chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings are lower. Knowing what they expect will help meet or exceed expectations and vice-versa. Mindfulness is a touchstone nowadays. This is an ancient Buddhist practice that has become trendy lately in the West. This is the art of being fully present in the here and now and appreciating each moment in all its richness. If we could practice mindfulness in our relationships they would be so much more intimate. Couples would have a deeper sense of intimacy, better sex and superior communication too. To learn more pick up a copy of, The Mindful Couple: How Acceptance and Mindfulness Can Lead You to the Love You Want by Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D. and Darrah Westrup, Ph.D.

Silence is a Relationship Killer

silent

Silence is a Relationship Killer

Sometimes when something is wrong in a relationship one or both people will practice bouts of prolonged silence. This isn’t a moment of reflection or a collecting of thoughts. This is a wall put up. It speaks to an absence of emotional and verbal intimacy. The truth is, prolonged silences propagated by a strong emotion is a relationship killer. It speaks to an intense feeling just below the surface. Bottling feelings up inside does not relieve them. They tend to build like steam building inside a furnace. Sooner or later it’s going to explode. And the results will be ugly.

It’s better to communicate directly. Take some time to sort out your thoughts. Ask your partner for a particular time when you are calmer to discuss the issue. Talking about the issue with your partner will actually make you feel better, not cause you to act out. Another problem with silence is that it is a form of control or coercion. We usually think about loud, yelling people as controlling and coercive. But silence does the job just as thoroughly. It can even be seen as a form of bullying. Even though they aren’t being physically hurt you are controlling them through your silence. Instead of talking to them, explaining to them and persuading them of your point of view, in a respectful manner, you are asking for obedience and apologies merely by clamming up.

Sometimes silence is used for a particular offense. The aggrieved party then plays a film out in their head with them as the lead role and their lover doing and saying everything they want to make it right. They wait for their beloved to say and do these very things. And when the lover has no idea what they want, they get very agitated. This isn’t fair. No one is a mind reader. And if you respect the person you are going out with, you need to open up and talk about what is troubling you. At other times silence can be a punishment. But the problem is that instead of making the relationship stronger it actually starts to tear it down. There is no avenue of communication. Anger, sadness and depression can set in in one or both parties.

The relationship can’t move forward until the silence is broken, either by one party opening up or the other apologizing, or kowtowing and promising to make it up. The first situation is desirable as it will get the problem solved, though it may have hurt the relationship, showing one person that the other is very high maintenance and doesn’t have good communication skills. In the second one, one party is dominating the other. Sooner or later the dominated party will feel that they are being abused and seek greener pastures. Neither speaks well to the relationship. So speak up. Communicate. And if you are with someone that uses silence against you, evaluate if you want to stay with them at all. For more advice read, Why Can’t You Read My Mind?-Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get In the Way of a Loving Relationship by Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. and Susan Magee.

How to Write a Great First Message

online-dating

How to Write a Great First Message

Online dating seems to be the way a lot of people get together nowadays. Make a profile, upload some pictures and off you go. It’s a great tool and for some a fun way to spend a couple of hours searching and considering. But when there’s one profile you keep returning to, or someone who you just can’t wait to know more about, it comes time to message them. Some of us just freeze up. What do you say? There are others who aren’t intimidated but keep sending out messages and never get a response. So what’s the best approach? What can you do to make that first message great?  The first step is to actually write something. Don’t abbreviate or use internet lingo, use proper English. Double check your grammar and spelling. Daters on these sites want someone savvy and sophisticated, not a Neanderthal typing with hairy knuckles. Next, watch the physical compliments, especially guys contacting gals. Most women like to be told in person that they are beautiful or gorgeous, but online they want to know that you took the time to read their profile, and found something in there that attracted you. They want someone who is interested in who they are, not just their looks.

Just like everywhere else, there’s competition online. Beyond that, you don’t want to seem a flat, uninteresting dullard. Why not use a greeting that shows who you are? If you are both Star Trek fans, type them a Vulcan salutation. If you both like country music, hit them with a “Howdy.” Even if you just go for a “Hey there” it’s better than just a hello. A line from a movie you both like might work. Strike a casual tone however. Too formal and you might come off as a stick in the mud. Now include what you liked about the person’s profile, and what attracted you to them. What do you both have in common? Spend some time reading their profile and thinking about what would appeal to him or her. Do they like the same books, movies or music as you? Are they a fan of the same sports team? Are they vegan? Do they practice yoga? Do they have six dogs, seven birds and a tank full of man eating piranha just like you? The more things you have in common, the more things you have to talk about and hopefully, the better a match you will make. Use your commonalities to get the conversation rolling. Don’t be afraid to challenge them a little. Ask a question.  Posit a theory or give them some insight that most people fail to notice. Bring up something they might not know like a certain band they might like, a book that would blow their mind or a great little restaurant tucked away in a corner of their neighborhood. The more interesting, the more they’ll want to message you back.

Talk about yourself, but don’t brag. Be humble. Arrogance is a turnoff. You don’t have to write an enormous amount. A paragraph or two will suffice. Be yourself. Don’t be weird unless the person you are messaging has already shown an affinity for your type of weirdness. Can you be relaxed and funny? Go for it. Not sure how it will come off? Then just be upbeat. If you still aren’t getting responses check your selection process. If your search filter includes the words “Ivy League” while you barely finished high school, you might want to rethink that. Make sure the person you are messaging would find it reasonable to date you and vice versa. If you are only going on classic chiseled features, the perfect body, a prestigious career and high salary when you spend your days shouting “You want fries with that?” you may be setting yourself up for a fall. Lastly, be sure to be nice. Sometimes we try to elicit a certain response with something witty and acerbic but come off as mean or bitter. Keep things positive and G-rated, at least at first. For more tips on making your online dating a success read, Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating by Laurie Davis.