5 Self Esteem Tips for Women & Relationships
Updated: Feb 15
Since self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself in relation to your intelligence, personality, appearance and success, it can have a profound effect on all your relationships, especially your relationship with your partner or your chances of finding the right one for you.
If you feel, and therefore believe, you are not as pretty, attractive, sexy, intelligent, smart, sassy, witty, entertaining, sociable, lucky, successful, driven, or whatever it is, as others, then your chances of finding love and building a loving relationship are doomed.
In the same way, if you give more importance to what others think or expect of you, or to what you assume they think or expect of you, rather than to what you believe about yourself, then you are going to be constantly, and unsuccessfully, chasing ghosts and criticising yourself.
You cannot be two people. You cannot be you and the person people expect you to be or the person you want to be like. We all are unique and you are unique too. So which one are you choosing to be? Choose YOU!
How self esteem affects your relationship
Whether you are in a relationship or looking for a partner, your level of self esteem will determine the type of partner you find and the quality of your relationship.
If you are a woman in a relationship, and you have low self esteem, you may fear losing him for someone more attractive, intelligent, sociable, successful... you are living in an ever lasting uncertainty that would drive any woman mad and can make you jealous and insecure, which leads to either arguments or becoming submissive. And even when you choose to engage in a raging argument, you'll end up being apologetically submissive in an attempt to keep the relationship going.
If you want to be in a relationship, you may feel you are not pretty, smart, entertaining or lucky enough to find the right man for you. And because this is what you believe, this is what you'll get - a man who doesn't appreciate your beauty, your wittiness and your quirkiness.
And, if you accept this man (because you believe no one else will have you), then you'll find yourself in the situation above, as a woman who is in a relationship powered by the fear of losing him. And the worst thing is that, even if you are unhappy in the relationship, you'll do everything in your power to keep it going.
But fear is not what a true loving relationship is founded on. And you do want a loving relationship, don't you? Have you ever wondered why you always meet the same type of man, or why your relationships only last a few months, or why you are always having the same argument? Read on and find out.
1.- The pedestal
Because you have low self esteem, you think highly of your partner. You may put him on a pedestal and keep him there regardless of how many times he disappoints or diminishes you, making excuses for him, his actions and the way he treats you. "Oh, he's a great man, except at 7pm when he comes home and beats me up."
In your head he's a great catch, he's the best you've ever had and you want to keep him by your side regardless.
If this is the case, your low self esteem has led you to seek abusive relationships and this is a subject of its own that I will cover in another post.
So let's suppose he is indeed a great guy deserving of a pedestal, always attentive of you and your needs. The problem is that you don't feel enough, you don't feel deserving of his attention.
And he didn't sign up for the pedestal position, you put him there! Can you imagine being under the pressure of always having to perform at 110%? Who would ever volunteer for that? Even if you were an athlete you would know that you are not always going to be at your best and that you can't always win the gold medal.
2.- The giver
Because you don't feel enough, you have to prove somehow that you are. Your whole life revolves around him and his needs. You become nothing and he becomes all. Your needs come last on your list of priorities and all you care about is making sure that he's happy, content and doesn't leave you.
This tactic can actually backfire.
If he has self esteem issues of his own, he may be looking for a mother in a partner, which would obviously result in an unhealthy relationship where you are the caregiver and there is lack of sex or no sex at all because you are not meant to have sex with your parent.
But if he is a sound man, he will feel you are mothering him and will reject or avoid this tendency of yours. Of course, from your point of view, when he rejects or ignores your efforts, it proves to you that either he doesn't appreciate you, or that you need to do even more.
It goes without saying that this comes at a cost. You can't be a giver eternally, you will put yourself in depleted mode because you are not voicing out your needs and having your needs met.
You have become a people pleaser but, at the same time, you are becoming clingy or needy because you are not making sure that your own needs are met.
3.- The naughty step
Eventually, resentment grows and arguments follow. Now, he's gone from the pedestal to the naughty step. The relationship has turned into one of criticism, blame and judgement because he doesn't meet your needs.
You put him on a pedestal and he's not delivering to your expectations. You can even argue over the smallest of things, like how he always throws his jacket on the sofa when he gets home. When you get into a heated argument, you may later regret what you said and feel even worse about your irrational response, which only adds more ammunition to your low self esteem.
He's confused now. One minute he's the greatest guy ever and the next he's the greatest disappointment. He's still the same great guy you met but he doesn't know what it is you need and it is not his responsibility to meet all your needs.
Truthbomb: You have to meet some of your needs yourself!
Your acts of low self esteem have made you both lose faith in the relationship. You've made him feel insecure and, if he wants to end the relationship, it's not because of your looks or anything else you may have in mind, it's because you cannot provide him with emotional security, that same security you seek from him.
4.- The victim
Now you can play the victim. You think you are unhappy and insecure because of him. But your insecurity lives inside of you and you fuel it every time you compare yourself to other women, to his exes, to his female colleagues, and every time you compare him to your exes and focus on his wrong doings.
While in victim mode, there is nothing he can do. You won't believe his compliments, you won't appreciate his gestures, you won't trust him. You may even go to the lengths of testing his commitment to the relationship because you don't feel deserving of his love and you doubt his intentions, so you make him prove to you that you are deserving.
5.- 'I just got lucky' sabotage
You think so little of yourself that you can't believe he's really interested and invested in you. So all those arguments are just a self sabotaging technique, a way to prove to yourself that you are not enough and grant yourself the right to blame him for not doing enough.
This gives you the opportunity to convince yourself that something needs fixing and that that something that needs fixing is him, not you. So at this point you may sabotage yourself and end the relationship with a great guy, fulfilling your prophecy that you just got lucky with this one, only to replicate in your next relationship.
Or you can continue in low self esteem mode: feeling not enough, being a submissive giver and then playing the victim about it - that is, if he doesn't end the relationship for you.
So how can you build your self esteem to improve your relationship or make the next one better?
Self esteem tips for better relationships
If you want to improve your relationship or find a partner with whom you can have a loving relationship, the first step is to love yourself. You cannot have high self esteem and feel good about yourself without loving yourself, the whole of you, both the good and the not so good. In my next article, I'll share with you all about self love.
1.- Be realistic
The knight in shining armour belongs in fairy tales, not in real life. We've all been fed childhood stories of damsels in distress being rescued and brought into a better life by infalible heros. The truth is that you ain't distressed and he ain't no hero.
You are both unique and perfectly imperfect people. How you manage your own and each other's imperfections to achieve your perfect complementation is what matters.
Be honest, clear and open about what you expect from the relationship and each other.
2.- Find your voice
Since the hero in shining armour doesn't exist and most people aren't mind readers, you have to express your needs. He cannot provide you with what you want if he doesn't know what it is, you have to tell him!
Regardless of how capable and willing he is to give you the attention, time, affection, praise or whatever it is you need, you are denying him the opportunity to do so by keeping your needs to yourself. Keep the balance in giving and receiving.
And always remember he isn't omnipotent.
There will be some needs that you have to meet yourself, others that can be met by your family and friends and others that only he can meet.
3.- The problem is always 'I' not 'you'
There are bound to be disagreements in any relationship, but that doesn't mean that an argument has to escalate and become an excuse to criticise, blame and shame the person you supposedly love. This only contributes to his insecurities and lack of trust in both of you and your relationship.
Whenever you find yourself getting into an argument, take a moment to assess whether there is a real cause for it or it's just an excuse to avoid talking about the real problem.
Then talk about how YOU feel instead of talking about what HE does or doesn't do.
This way you are not allowing the problem to escalate by putting the blame on any one, you are just stating the fact of how certain things make you feel.
4.- Swap criticism with praise
Nobody's perfect but everyone is perfectly imperfect. Learn to praise your partner more often and also praise yourself. Recognise his attributes rather than his actions, let him know what you value and admire in him.
In the same way, recognise your accomplishments and congratulate yourself for achieving them.
See what traits in you allowed you to get there and build a list of all your 'good enoughs' to remind you everyday of just how enough you are.
5.- You are worthy
You didn't just get lucky or fooled anyone. You found a great man who saw beyond your insecurities and wanted to give you his best. Accept it and cherish it. Allow him to show you how beautiful he sees you so you can learn to see yourself in the same way.
He doesn't need you nor want you to prove to him constantly that you are worthy enough of his love or seek his approval. He has already given it to you and he simply wants you to welcome it.
Neither him nor anyone else can do this for you, only you can accept yourself and his love for you as you are. Your self esteem is not about him, it's about you feeling good about yourself.
Wrapping it all up
Self esteem is the biggest issue that impacts relationships. A lot of people seek validation from relationships to make themselves feel better because they are not happy with themselves. But it only leads to hurt for yourself and your partner.
Your self esteem shapes how you let others treat you and how you treat others. Therefore, it is important to know how much you know, love and accept yourself before trying to love someone else.
Yes, you do have to work at relationships, but a big part of that work has nothing to do with your partner and everything to do with dealing with your own issues and becoming your best self.
If you want to improve your relationship or self esteem,
to find out how I can help you.