According to one survey, 85% of people suffer from low self-esteem. Lack of confidence can negatively impact your life in many ways.
Common side effects of low self-esteem include anxiety, depression, impaired job performance, and problems with both friendships and romantic relationships. It’s this last area of your life that we’ll focus on today.
Does your love life need resuscitating? If so, low self-esteem could be to blame.
The Connection Between Self-Esteem and Healthy Relationships
Research shows that there’s a direct link between self-esteem and relationship success and satisfaction. One reason is that self-esteem isn’t just about you. How you feel about yourself plays an important role in how you treat others. It also affects your self-worth and ability to receive love.
When you enter a relationship feeling confident and deserving of love, you’ll achieve a deeper bond and greater happiness. Your relationship may even last longer.
People who lack confidence often seek validation from others which can lead to unhealthy and co-dependent relationships. Instead of looking for acceptance from the outside, you must first learn to accept and love yourself.
Once you build confidence, you can start building healthy, meaningful relationships.
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
While there’s no single cause of low self-esteem, most issues stem from childhood. Children raised in a home where one or both parents were overly critical can damage confidence from a young age. You’re conditioned to continually seek approval from significant people in your life — including intimate partners.
Witnessing a dysfunctional parent relationship can also damage your self-esteem. Observing relationships that lack cooperation, healthy boundaries, and conflict resolution can cause feelings of abandonment, which lead to low self-esteem.
Other causes of low self-esteem include:
- Poor school or work performance
- The breakdown of meaningful relationships
- Financial stress
- Ongoing medical issues
- Mental illnesses including depression or anxiety
Improving Self-Esteem and Your Love Life
By working on your self-esteem issues, you can also improve your love life. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started down the path of self-acceptance.
Be Honest About Your Insecurities
The old saying, “acceptance is the first step to recovery” applies in all areas of life, including this one. When you take an honest inventory of your insecurities, you can stop them from dictating your behavior.
Take time to reflect on how you perceive yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. Write down your biggest insecurities. The next time someone upsets you, check your list. Is it really their behavior that’s the problem or are you projecting your insecurities onto them?
In most situations, it’s your own lack of self-esteem that’s creating a false narrative and could be damaging your relationship.
Increasing your own self-awareness is another step toward regaining confidence and improving your love life. There are two types of self-awareness to consider — internal and external.
Internal self-awareness involves your own morals, beliefs, and self-worth. External awareness has more to do with how you feel about the way others perceive you. While both are important, internal self-awareness is key to building confidence.
You can also apply this theory to your intimate relationships. When something goes wrong, do you find yourself asking, “Why am I such a bad partner?” or “Why can’t I make my partner happy?”
These are negative, self-deprecating thoughts that lead you farther from the truth. Instead, try asking yourself what you can do to offer more love or support in the future. Now, instead of speculating or assuming, you’re learning about your strengths and weaknesses which can lead to increased self-worth and confidence.
Stop Overthinking and Overanalyzing
Do you find yourself looking for hidden meaning in text messages, making assumptions, and overthinking someone else’s actions? These behaviors are not only unhealthy but unproductive.
When you feel confident in your ability to make someone else happy, you’ll spend less time rehashing every nuance, sentence, or encounter. Instead of overthinking things, take what the other person says at face value.
If you tell them you miss them and their response is, “Me too”, accept it! Maybe they really do miss you. Maybe they’re busy and can’t text back more than a few words.
Avoid negative thoughts that kill your self-confidence and unfairly paint the other person in a negative light. Until they prove otherwise, give them the benefit of the doubt.
Understanding the Attachment Theory
Adults have different attachment styles that dictate their behavior and needs in a relationship. Knowing and understanding these styles can help you adjust your approach to dating and increase your self-esteem at the same time.
Attachment theory is based on the premise that early relationships with your parents and caregivers are the foundation for future relationships, including intimate ones. The four basic types of adult attachment are:
Learning these styles not only teaches you a lot about yourself and what you need from a partner but also helps you understand the other person’s needs and motivation. For example, people with an anxious relationship attachment fear being alone. They also have a negative self-image but view others highly.
Avoidant adults consider themselves loners, without the need for intimacy. Disorganized attachment often manifests as fear of intimacy and commitment, while secure attachment is the opposite. People with this type of attachment style are comfortable expressing their emotions and often establish healthy, happy relationships.
Bettering Yourself Means Bettering Your Relationships
The first step toward a more intimate and fulfilling love life is improved self-esteem. Until you feel worthy of love, you can’t give or receive it from anyone else.
Most people with low self-esteem inherently project their insecurities on others. This can leave your love life deflated before it even gets off the ground.
The good news is that with a little self-reflection and self-awareness, you can improve both your confidence and your love life. Click here to get started and learn how to live a life filled with love, happiness, and positivity.