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Low Self Esteem In Relationships

Updated: Mar 9

Low Self Esteem In Relationships - Man and Woman

Questions we all have with Low Self Esteem in Relationships

“Why are we arguing all the time?”, “Why do I feel so annoyed, so angry?”, “Why do they always say such hurtful things?”, “I don’t know where our relationship is going anymore!”, “Why can’t I trust you any longer?”, “You used to be so different”, "Oh grow up", “What did I do wrong?”. We can all experience low self esteem in relationships. But the truth is, we don't have to.

Relationships are one of the most complex areas of human life. Yet human life couldn’t go on without them. Every single thing we do - our work, our play, our love life, our entertainment and enjoyment, keeping healthy and our making money, everything depends on the relationships we have. So why is it so hard to get along? Especially with those closest to us, our friends, our partners, our children, our parents. It often feels like the ones we love the most are the ones we end up hurting or being hurt by.

It was reported in the news that more and more people are seeking advice on splitting than has ever been observed before. It seems that the pressures imposed on people, due to Covid, and other influencing factors, are pushing people apart.

Don’t misunderstand me, I believe that if two people are no longer interested in being together, if they just want different directions in life, then perhaps they do need to make that decision for the happier lives of everyone. But I also passionately believe that anyone, if they want to stay together, and to live the life they want, can.

But a relationship isn’t something that you can just have, and it works out perfectly. It has to be something that you put effort into, to make it work. A great relationship isn't due to how strong it was at the start. It's due to how much you put in now that makes the difference. Just living together, or seeing each other each day, in the same way you always have, will not change a thing. It is ACTON with UNDERSTANDING that will bring about change.

The Stages of Love

When two people first meet, when you are first attracted to each other, or, when you meet a new potential business partner or colleague we will show love or at least a connection as we look to see what we get from the relationship. How it will affect us and what we can do to get the most from it. We can call this a stage 1 relationship where we all start out. It’s the girlfriend telling her friends he’s got a great job and a really nice house. It’s the boyfriend telling his buddies how stunningly beautiful she is. It’s the business partner telling their colleagues how quick, how new and refreshing this person is. Each based upon what they are going to get and how things will change because of this relationship. If both individuals are at stage 1 at the same time it can be really thrilling, exciting, fun, intriguing, passionate, and feeling great as you look to the future with some really great expectations. But then something happens and one individual grows into a stage 2 relationship.

At level 2 the relationship is more about a 50/50 relationship. I’ll put in X if you put in Y. Like a contract. I’ll do the dishes if you cook. I’ll pay the food bills if you get the energy. I’ll love you like this if you love me like that. Again if both partners are at stage 2 then life can be great. Its very amicable. Fair. Everyone understands where they are. Not quite as exciting as stage 1 but it works. Each has a deeper understanding of what is needed to keep the relationship going. But here’s where it can quickly all fall apart. What if someone is at stage 2 while the other is still at stage 1. This is where feelings of resentment can start to edge in. Feelings of “I'm putting my share in, why can’t you?”, “What am I doing wrong?”

Stage 3 would be where a partner is putting in 100% regardless. Simply because it's who they are. The rule is you always have to put 100% into your relationship in order to feel worthwhile, significant, loved. If the other person isn’t putting in 100% or even 50% it doesn’t matter because maybe they can’t for some reason. So you keep giving. You are still getting something from knowing it is you holding things together. Now if both partners are at stage 3, you are going to be together for a very long time. Some passionately so, others not but content in life regardless. But the ultimate disaster is when one partner slips back to stage 2 or even stage 1. For no perceivable reason!Causing resentment, these relationships can quickly deteriorate.

ACTION - Can you see where you and some others in your life sit regarding the different stages of love or connection? What would happen if one of you shifted? Or even better both shifted to the next stage? Or perhaps if you have been at stage 3 for a long time - what would happen if you both slipped to stage 1 and perhaps added some spice back into things?

Significance and Certainty vs. Love, Connection and Growth

Every human being, according to Human Needs psychology, have basic needs that must be met for life. When you know what these are and understand how they drive EVERYTHING you do, you can completely understand why you have been feeling so bad, and how to change it.

We have the need for SIGNIFICANCE (feeling special, needed, wanted), the need for CERTAINTY (feeling confident about the future, and feeling safe), the need for VARIETY (fun, change, excitement), the need for LOVE or CONNECTION, the need for GROWTH, and the need for CONTRIBUTION. Now which of these are MOST IMPORTANT to you?

Because of how the commercial world works, how media portrays life to us and how we are so easily manipulated - so many of us have an insatiable appetite for SIGNIFICANCE. Think about it - What phone do you have? What makeup do you wear? What bag do you take out with you? Do you have a nice home? Car? Job? Most of us are striving for a good life - which to us means having these things. But we don’t need them. They just make us feel special, significant. We also tend to have a strong draw to needing more certainty in our lives. To feel safe and secure. But what happens if our ABSOLUTE NEED IN A MOMENT is for SIGNIFICANCE, and then our partner says the wrong thing? We have the capacity to react so massively when we are made to feel small or not enough. I bet we can all remember times like this.

But what would life be like if LOVE / CONNECTION and GROWTH were your core basic human needs? How would we react differently then? If these are your core basic needs then it’s very difficult to argue, to hurt, to distrust, to feel used. We all have all of these needs but we prioritize them differently. What if your partner prioritizes theirs differently to you? How could that impact the love in your life, your relationship, your happiness?

ACTION - Write down your core basic human needs and list behaviors you like and don’t like about yourself. Then write out how these behaviors are meeting your needs. When you look at them think - is this what I really want? If I had other needs as my core, how would things be different?

Remember Who We Are

As we grow up we can very easily forget who we are at our core. Life happens, pain happens, people come and go, jobs, homes, and the waves upon waves of TV and social media influence us in ways we cannot possibly imagine. We are no longer who we once were. In the old days the judge of a person was by their character - modest, humble, honest, caring, self-sacrificing, happy, loving were all traits by which people were judged. Today it is do you have an iPhone or an Android? Do you wear MAC or Chanel? Or have the best car or home. Nothing is wrong with any of these but realize that these things are not you. You are more than these things. What if rather than striving to become more, we strive to grow more as individuals?

When we bring these into a relationship we see a few things happening - past pain causes us to lock up and true femininity and masculinity diminish. People swap roles in the home and without knowing wonder why things start falling apart. If a feminine person cannot be feminine, if they cannot just open and flow with the beauty of life, that person will not be truly happy and will start to become the masculine one in the home. This can then diminish the masculine one causing a lack of respect, lack of motivation and a loss of interest. People start turning to other things to make them feel fulfilled like work or other people. How much better it is when we trust, and return to our true nature.

ACTION - Write down what your true nature is. Write down what things in life have influenced you for good and for bad. Think about what life would be like today if you decided to get back to your true core.

Understanding and taking action in our personal relationships is what can save them. There are people out there in marriages and partnerships who have been together 30, 40 and more years of their lives. They don’t have anything special. They have ups and downs like the rest of us. But they do understand that it takes work and an understanding of what is going on.

If you have doubts about yourself in relationships and it's getting in the way of a happy and fulfilled life, you might be interested in my free book on beating self doubt here Self Doubt Book.

Frequently Asked Questions on Self Doubt and Low Self Esteem in Relationships

What causes low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem can stem from various factors, including unrealistic beauty standards, past traumas, experiences of racism or bullying, medical conditions, and life events like separation or job loss. Understanding these triggers is crucial for addressing self-esteem issues. Or we can look underneath and ask what am I getting from low self-esteem, and how would life look if I was able to let it go?

How does low self-esteem impact relationships?

Low self-esteem significantly influences behavior, thoughts, and reactions in relationships. Individuals with low self-esteem battle self-doubt, insecurities, and negative thoughts, affecting communication, trust, and emotional well-being.

What are common signs of low self-esteem?

Signs include self-criticism, ignoring praise, avoiding challenges, feeling sadness or guilt, and struggling with assertiveness. Low self-esteem affects thoughts, feelings, body state, behavior, and relationships.

How can I boost my self-esteem in a relationship?

Prioritize self-love and self-respect. Recognize your worth, treat yourself kindly, and focus on your strengths. When you value yourself, it positively impacts your relationship with others.

Why do I always doubt my partner’s feelings?

Low self-esteem often leads to questioning your own worth and doubting whether someone truly loves you. Recognize these patterns and work on building self-confidence.



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