Everyone feels insecure at certain moments in their life, especially their love life. Whether it be an awkward crush like many of us go through in middle school, your first kiss, first real love, or a spouse who did everything right and swept you off of your feet. The feelings that surround these moments can feel so overwhelming, that we feel small by comparison. But for some, self-esteem is a sustained, ongoing, even lifelong struggle. A relationship is best when it is engaged in by two equal partners. If one person is constantly struggling with self-esteem issues, though it may feel like a personal problem, it is affecting your relationship in a myriad of ways. When you have low self-esteem you have a hard time believing your partner when they pay you a compliment. This lack of appreciation can hurt them, putting space between the two of you. Those with low self-esteem have trouble setting boundaries. Everyone crosses a line once in a while. But without the ability to say something, your partner can walk all over you, and all you can do is wear a shirt that says, “Welcome.” Those with self-esteem issues do not know how to ask for what they want in a relationship. They fear their desires will be met with disapproval. So they never get what they want, leading to a secret little pit of hell, an inner cubby hole of frustration as one can never feel comfortable expressing themselves truly to the person they love most.
Do you hold back from engaging in open and honest dialogue with your partner? According to a study out of the University of Waterloo in Canada, this can be viewed as aloofness on the part of your beloved. It makes them think you do not care. But what is actually going on, you hold back because you are afraid of becoming vulnerable, of driving the person away, or of getting hurt. The author of this study Megan McCarthy, said that the partner with low self-esteem is resistant to address problems in the relationship. But in doing so, things cannot develop or progress. The relationship becomes stagnant until it no longer ceases to be. Those with low self-esteem believe that if they do speak up about problems, they will be rejected by their partner. But this causes them dissatisfaction. What researchers suggest is interpersonal communication. Work on telling your partner little problems or small wishes and wants that you have. When they fulfill them, be happy and reflect on it. Then work toward bigger problems or desires. On another front, work on yourself. Improving your self-esteem can only help to improve your relationship. You are indeed half of it. So what can you do to build up your self-esteem?
Look back your accomplishments. Celebrate them. What have you done, and what positive personality traits do you embody that these accomplishments signify? What skills did you have to use to get there? Set slightly higher goals for yourself and work toward reaching them. Celebrate after each one. Smile more. Just the act of smiling can make you feel brighter. And people respond to you when you are smiling. It makes you seem more attractive and more confident. Positive interactions with people will help further your self-esteem journey. Talk to trusted friends and confidants, and let them know about your struggles. Ask their unadulterated opinion of you and any advice they may have. Usually, those close to us will say nice things and make us feel good. But they can also offer some fresh perspective which you may be in need of. Surround yourself with those who support and uplift you. If you have people in your life who are pessimistic, always critical, who disrespect you or tear you down, get rid of them, or if you have to see them, severely limit the time you spend with them. They can only hamper your efforts. Be positive and find things to be positive about. People love enthusiasm. If you can dig deep and find it, you can attract more people to you. Their desire to be around you will help you to feel confident. Lastly, try and get some exercise. The feel good, natural chemicals it releases will give you a boost that others and even your baby will notice and it will make them feel good, basking in the energy you radiate.
For more pick up a copy of, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff.