It’s no secret that women struggle to maintain a positive self-esteem. From the age-old question “Does this make my butt look big?” to more serious issues like feeling like you’re the black sheep of your family, we all fight against our inner critic on daily basis.
Unfortunately, your battle against negative self-esteem doesn’t only affect yourself, but it also impacts your romantic relationships. According to a 2023 study, self esteem influences our own relationship satisfaction, as well as that of our partner’s. When we routinely feel bad about ourselves and question our self-worth, insecurities creep into the ways in which we interact with our partner.
The Journal of Personality study also found that the impact of self-esteem on relationship satisfaction was consistent across gender, age, and length of the relationship, meaning this is an issue that can influence everyone. So the question is…how do we fix this?
To find out how your insecurities have developed, first you have to look at your past, suggests Julie de Azevedo Hanks, licensed therapist and author of The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide For Overwhelmed Women. “Our early childhood relationships set a template for our relationships in the future.”
How Your Past Sets The Stage For Future Relationships
Hanks says that we move towards the familiar when creating relationships. We’re drawn toward what we know and “are wired for connections.” The key to creating healthy relationships is balance, according to Hanks. We all have wounds, feelings and validations that we want to be met. “We must be able to give a portion of the validation we need back to ourselves, so that we aren’t entirely dependent on external sources.”
In adulthood, we seek out relationships we feel deserving of as an attempt to heal wounds from childhood relationships, explains Hanks. “And certain unmet needs will manifest themselves in our adult relationships.”
When building adult relationships, we tend to express our wounds, or unmet needs, in different ways.
One common way people express their unmet childhood needs is by distancing themselves from their partner. When a person distances herself in her relationship, she can come off as aloof and uncaring, but what she’s really trying to do is detach herself from the past and hide her emotions.
On the other hand, a person can express her insecurities through her relationship by being overtly needy (e.g. someone who is typically overwhelmed by her emotions). These individuals usually have a difficult time calming themselves down and practicing self-soothing techniques. “By acting needy, these emotionally-overwhelmed individuals end up overwhelming their partner as well,” says Hanks. “This causes their partner to feel burnt out.”
5 Tips To Address Insecurities In Your Relationships
For whatever reason you’re feeling insecure, Hanks offers these tips to help you start feeling better about yourself and establishing a healthier relationship with your partner.
1. MAKE SENSE OF YOUR LIFE STORY
We can’t change the past. Our childhood experiences have shaped us as the women we are today—both the good and the bad parts. However, what we CAN do is change the way we view the past. “It’s important to make sense of your life story,” advises Hanks. “Try to think about experiences in your past and how these experiences could have shaped actions you took in the future.”
By linking past experiences to your present, you’ll be able to better understand the motives behind your actions and move forward, so that your past —while it remains an integral part of yourself— doesn’t define you.
2. UNDERSTAND HOW YOU EXPRESS INSECURITIES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
When trying to address the insecurities that seep into your relationship, it’s important for you to be honest with yourself. And part of that is becoming self-aware, says Hanks. Are you a person who tends to distance yourself from your partner or are you more of the needy type? Answering honestly is crucial. “You need to tune into your inner world and then share it with your partner.”
One Comment on “5 Ways to Boost Self Esteem To Better Your Relationships”
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