One of the themes I have been hearing a lot about in my office as of late is Self-Esteem and it’s impact on Relationships. Most people I discuss with this don’t realize just how big of a role low-self esteem (and healthy self-esteem) has on relationships so I thought I would write about three of the most common ways low-self esteem impacts one’s relationships.
Three common ways low self esteem impacts your relationship are:
1) Projection: Projection is the act where you project your own negative or undesirable thoughts, feelings beliefs onto someone else. Essentially instead of taking responsibility for your own (often unconscious) feelings, thoughts or beliefs you hold your partner accountable for them. This leads to an increase in conflict because your partner gets accused of things that aren’t actually true. It also is destructive because by blaming your partner you aren’t tuning in to what is going on with you to cause these feelings, thoughts or beliefs.
2) Avoiding Healthy Confrontation: All healthy relationships are faced with confrontation. In fact conflict often causes a relationship to grow and move forward. When you struggle with low self esteem you often go out of your way to avoid this necessary confrontation because you are afraid that if you assert yourself your partner will leave you. The challenge is that if you treat your relationship as fragile all the time you will eventually create a fragile relationship.
3) Relationship Insecurities: Low self-esteem often causes people to feel threatened and anxious in their relationships. These feelings often bring forward things like jealousy and a difficulty to trust. When trust and jealousy are problems in a relationship it creates insecurities in the stability of the relationship which start to challenge the relaxed nature a relationship requires to thrive. This often leaves both people feeling threatened, suffocated and ultimately unhappy
So what does all this mean:
If you are someone who struggles with low self esteem or can recognize yourself in any of the above three patterns, I would encourage you to do some work on your self esteem. Start simply by creating a positive mantra that you repeat to yourself every morning (ex/ Today I am good enough just as I am). Even if it feels uncomfortable to begin with, keep doing it until it feels natural and that voice within you that tells you you aren’t good enough gets silenced. If you feel you are really struggling or need more in depth support, get in touch with a counsellor who can help you discover the root of your insecurities. I promise that working to increase your self esteem will create so many more positive experiences for you in the future. People with healthy self-esteem have an easier time finding, keeping and enjoying their committed relationships. We all deserve that.