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.

Never Appreciated

unappreciated

Never Appreciated

Do you feel that you have control over your life, but you are always getting stepped on? You go out of your way to show love, devotion, and perform grand gestures in hopes that they will be reciprocated. Instead, they turn out to be expectations. It stings the most when it’s a lover. But often those who are taken advantage of by romantic partners suffer at the hands of bosses, professors, friends and family too. If you’re never appreciated, or taken for granted more often than not, read on and you’ll know how to change it all around, and put some new direction in your life.

First, evaluate what you do for your lover and what they do for you. Writing two lists might make sense. Compare. Are you actually being taken advantage of? If your column takes up two pages with footnotes and addendums whilst theirs is barely two lines long, your lover has some explaining to do. Don’t get heated though. Instead, start to take a look at the patterns you take part in, in life. Do you get taken advantage of often, and by whom?

A lot of people are people-pleasers, so don’t feel bad. These people gain self-esteem from the gratitude of others. When they bestow their gratitude you get a bump. The problem is this person doesn’t often voice their own needs, wants and desires. No where do they feel more awkward at voicing their needs than with their partner. They secretly believe their own needs aren’t as worthy as others. But they are. So sit down with your partner and discuss how you feel with them. Tell them how hard you work on your grand gestures and how disappointed you are when they don’t reciprocate. Understand that they will be defensive. Don’t point the finger at them, or make them feel guilty. Just tell them how you feel and ask how they feel about that.

Approach it as a problem and invite them in. Have solutions outlined already. If your lover is resistant perhaps they aren’t in it for you, just for what you do for them. Assert yourself with your friends and at work too. Ask for what you want. Don’t overcompensate for past behavior. Be reasonable and ask in the right manner. But don’t back down. They may try to scare you off, but stand your ground. When you stick up for yourself others recognize it and you get respect. For more advice read the New York Times bestseller, The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.

Why many are Scared of Love

fear of love

Why many are Scared of Love

Did you know that most divorces and breakups happen at the beginning of the year? January seeks the most separations of couples. Why is that? Speculations abound but no real reason has been pegged. It could be that people want to have a new life in the New Year. Or perhaps they see Valentine’s Day down the road and run off before it gets there. But this begs the question, why do so many breakups and divorces happen at all? One reason, lots of people are scared of an emotion that should instead empower them, love.

These fears don’t always surface at the beginning of a relationship. They may lay dormant waiting for the right trigger to bring them forth. They all come down to one thing, a fear of intimacy. And even though initially this fear is seen as a protective quality, it ultimately keeps us from the intimacy and closeness we desire most. There are lots of ways to be scared of love. See if any of these describe you or someone you know. First is fear of vulnerability. This usually happens at the beginning of a relationship. Love means letting someone else in. You are suddenly dependent upon someone else for your happiness, not just you. And this fear of vulnerability can often affect or even end a relationship, the fearful partner driving the other away.

Falling in love also brings up old scars from the past. Childhood traumas are often brought forth. Anger, resentment, neglect, rejection and fear can all resurface in conjunction of finding love in one’s life. Love can oppose our old perceptions of ourselves. We may think we’re unlovable or undeserving of love. There are those who sometimes mistake their inner critic for how they actually feel about themselves. They let those negative voices become their opinion of themselves. The inner critic is an amalgam. It is nothing but a collection of negative messages we were exposed to when we were young by our parents and others, or those which our parents felt about themselves which we internalized and made about ourselves. Other negative messages from bullies and other peers may become part of this amalgam. Eventually it gets ingrained in the individual. Falling in love, and being validated by someone who loves you, throws a wrench in that perception. And since our biggest fear is that of the unknown, the person who is loved but doesn’t feel that they deserve it doesn’t know what to do.

Some people fear inevitable pain from the elation of love. That the breakup will hurt just as bad as the love now feels. But how do you know that it won’t work out? Lastly, some people fear that the other person loves them more than they love that person. They’re afraid that this dynamic will never change. Love changes over time and moment to moment. Do not fear love. Let it be a transformative force in your life, not a blast that forces you to crouch but an updraft that makes you soar. For more advice read, Love Me, Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.

Are you a Pushover?

pushover

Are you a Pushover?

Are you dating someone that you think is taking advantage of you? In a relationship, for real love to blossom there has to be mutual respect and if there isn’t, then it’s merely a relationship of convenience. You can’t have a real relationship where one person takes advantage of the other. But what is the difference between being sweet, considerate, understanding and showing your appreciation for your significant other and being taken advantage of? Read on to find out whether you are a pushover or not.

Are you in a committed relationship? If not, are you interested in being in one? If you haven’t established exclusivity, you two have been seeing each other for a while, you want to establish a commitment but you are afraid of being left, you are a pushover. Of course, when you are first dating and figuring things out, you don’t want to push a relationship. It should develop naturally. But if you’ve been seeing each other regularly for months with no signs of commitment on the horizon, talk to your significant other. If they still don’t want to give you a commitment, when that is what you want, let them go. They aren’t serious about you. Discuss the issue, in depth to make sure there aren’t any extenuating circumstances. But by and large, if this is the case they are taking advantage.

Does he or she have friends over all the time and you feel more like the wait staff than their romantic partner? If you are cooking, cleaning, and taking off so they can have guys or girls nights at your place all the time, you are definitely a pushover. Why can’t they prepare all this themselves? And what about times when people aren’t coming over? Do you do his or her chores in addition to your own? If so, your significant other treats you more like a servant than a partner. Unless this is some type of weird fetish or you are female and very traditional from a certain ethnic or religious background that causes you to do all these things, you are a pushover.  Everyone goes out of their way once in a while for their significant other. But if you are always making accommodations, allowances, and keep saying to people that’s how he or she is when confronted by what they see as an injustice, you are definitely a pushover. Is this person loving, attentive, and do they surprise you with something, a little sweet text, a gift, take you out, something like that? If you feel perpetually taken for granted, while you do all the little niceties for your partner, you are a pushover.

If you avoid conflict and every fight ends with you backing down, you are definitely a pushover. Now what are you going to do about it? There are two problems here, your significant other is taking advantage and you are giving them more than enough opportunity to do so. Instead, sit down with them. Have a chat. Set some ground rules. Go over everything that is unfair and tell them what you think would make it fair. Hear them out. But if they aren’t willing to bend you have to be willing to walk. Instead of investing all that energy in your relationship start investing it into yourself. Work on your goals, your dreams, your career, going to college or whatever it is that will enrich you. You are worth it. If they don’t see how worthwhile you are, be brave and lose them, and find someone who does. For more advice read, How to Be More Assertive: Quit Being a Pushover and Boost Your Self Confidence in Any Situation by Alfred Hale.

How does Someone Become Needy?

needy

How does Someone Become Needy?

Neediness isn’t good for a relationship. It lowers the person’s self-esteem and self-worth. It puts pressure on the relationship and ultimately pushes their lover away. The anxiety, constant worrying, the accusations or the constant need for reassurance become overbearing, robbing the other of psychic energy. A little self-doubt of course can be seen as modest and endearing. But it can become really draining to have to reassure someone time and again. Sooner or later the needy partner is seen as a liability and is cut loose. So how does someone become needy and how can they avoid it?

There are many reasons why people become needy, and a combination of reasons could be the case too. Here are some speculations. Unavailable parents, trauma, or abandonment causes neediness. There are unseen wounds that spring open when the person starts to enter into a new romantic relationship. Some people are never satisfied. The problem could be a traumatic event in their past. Or the problem could be temperament. Some things are never good enough for certain people. They have a hard time being satisfied. Development could play a role. Some people get stuck in the idealizing phase of their development, when they entered into their first romance. But they idealize love too much and fail in their adult life to be able to do the nuts and bolts of what it takes to make it work long term.

If the person acts immaturely, the problem is development. It could also be what Freud called the Unresolved Oedipus Complex. This is desiring what you can’t have. It’s like loving your parent and desiring them but knowing you can’t have them, this wanting what you can’t have and a constant inner tug-of-war destroys their relationships. These people tend to make the same mistakes in their love life over and over. Attraction to someone who is unavailable makes them more alluring to many. But it always ends in heartache. If you find yourself with this problem seek the help of a mental health professional. Work on building your self-esteem. Volunteer, do things that matter to you, count your blessings and make plans for the future. Plan goals and reach those goals. When you have a series of accomplishments you’ll feel better about yourself and feel less needy. When you feel needy, double think calling or texting that person. Put little systems in place for yourself to control your neediness. Have a good friend be your mentor and call them if you feel needy. It will improve your relationships if you practice a little bit of patience and some good judgment. For more advice read, Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Sabotage and Healing from Abandonment by Susan Anderson.