When we talk about self-esteem, we often characterize it as something that only has to do with the relationship we have with ourselves, with our identity.
In part, this is not surprising: cultivating good self-esteem seems to be something based on introspection, the way we deal with our feelings, and the way we think about what that “I” means. But really, the thing is more complex than that, and it also includes our personal relationships. Indeed, our way of relating to others is both part of the causes of having such and such self-esteem, and of the consequences of the latter.
In this article we will see how our self-esteem influences the world of relationships and what we can do to avoid problems in this regard.
What exactly is self-esteem?
Let’s start with the most important: what does the word “self-esteem” mean? It is made up of the set of mental representations that make up our concept of “I” and the emotions and feelings that we associate with our identity. That is to say, in a nutshell, we could say that self-esteem is what we believe about ourselves and how we feel about it.
Of course, self-esteem is not just a description of how we are; it also includes moral notions of what we should be and how far we are from this ideal “I” towards which we should strive. People with very low self-esteem feel that they are far from this model to become, and those with well-balanced self-esteem feel close to them, even though they still have the motivation to keep improving. .
In addition, self-esteem is not a static thing, but it evolveso; sometimes unintentionally, and sometimes because of what we do on purpose to improve our self-esteem.
Self-esteem in relationships
How we see ourselves and value ourselves has a lot to do with how we initiate and manage relationships. We must not forget that although a courtship or marriage is based on a strong bond and commitment, individuality is not lost. And in this sense, there is another relationship that must be considered in a relationship: the one that we have with ourselves.
Here are some of the ways they can interact and cause problems:
- Some relationships are initiated to fill a void caused by one’s own insecurities.
- A relationship can turn into a relationship of dependency that prevents us from feeling beyond the role of serving another.
- A relationship can lead to the need to mold yourself into gender roles, in a very limiting way.
- Presumably, a relationship is just one area of life that we devote all of our free time to.
- Many situations of abuse begin when the abuser realizes the victim’s fear of abandonment.
On another side, it’s one thing to suffer from relationship issues caused by low self-esteem or vice versa, and it’s another to know how to deal with them properly. so that they stop causing us emotional pain and communication problems. Fortunately, there are several ways to approach these problems, and the most effective are to go to psychotherapy.
What can be done to improve self-esteem in relationships?
As we’ve seen, improving self-esteem isn’t just about reflecting on who we are; it also includes managing emotions and the way we interact with others. To achieve this in a relationship, consider these tips:
1. Keep projects exciting beyond the relationship
You must be able to maintain a life plan that has aspects that are stimulating and relevant to you beyond the relationship. For example, developing an artistic skill, playing sports, learning languages to get in touch with other cultures … On the other hand, all your self-esteem will depend on experiences that depend in part on the same person: your partner.
2. Affirm your contributions to the relationship
A relationship can erode self-esteem if there is constant emphasis on the sacrifices and efforts that a person has made to make that relationship viable and maintain it, and the sacrifices that the other has made are so. made invisible.
3. Don’t let fear of rejection be your motivation
It is important to detect the cases where what mobilizes us the most in the relationship with our partner is the fear of leaving us. The source of motivation for being with this person should focus on the positive experiences they bring us, not the negative experiences they might bring us.
4. Allow your partner to support you in your personal improvement process.
The person you want can help you move towards the goals you’ve set for yourself that are meaningful to you. In this way, you will harness the potential of your love affair as a medium that will help you demonstrate what you are capable of.
5. Don’t let the other person apply nicknames that bother you.
It is very common for nicknames used as affectionate nicknames to be used in relationships. Sometimes, however, the lack of assertiveness means that when these nicknames cause embarrassment, nothing is said.
6. Don’t let it make you feel bad for your accomplishments.
There are toxic couple dynamics, often based on jealousy, in which the successes of the other are seen as a threat or a destabilizing factor in the relationship. These situations often lead one person to blackmail the other emotionally, leading them to believe that it is their fault that the relationship is going badly, even though it is actually this controlling mindset that is the problem. .
- Bandura, A (1977). Self-efficacy: towards a unifying theory of behavior change. Psychological review, 84 (2): p. 191 – 215.
- Franco, C. and De León, V. (2015). Increase self-esteem. Scientific Bulletin of the Logos Preparatory School, 3 (2).
- Jordan, CH; Spencer, SJ; Zanna, MP; Hoshino-Browne, E .; Correll, J. (2003). High, confident and defensive self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85 (5): p. 969 – 978.