Have you ever taken an inventory of who you’ve dated? If you’re not liking who you’re dating, chances are it’s your self-esteem. The reality is that we tend to date the same degree of self-esteem that we believe we have.
No worries though. Your self-esteem is very fixable. It takes some work, but the positive changes you make, especially in your dating practices will be well worth it.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-Esteem is the degree to which we value ourselves. The more we value ourselves, the higher degree is our self-esteem.
This doesn’t mean being “cocky”.
People who truly value themselves don’t need to “puff” themselves up to others. The people around them can already see the good things about them to value.
Those who need to brag about themselves have lower self-esteem and often look to others to build them up. However, that’s not true self-esteem. It’s a lack of self-esteem.
Those fortunate children who felt valued by their parents and were encouraged to believe in themselves are the lucky ones. Because they learned to value themselves they attracted others with equally healthy self-esteem. Those healthy friends would be able to truly value them.
But don’t blame your parents fully. Very likely they didn’t feel encouraged, loved, and valued in their family dynamics either, so it was passed on down the line.
Why Self-Esteem Determines Who You Are Dating
If you think back to high school, most often the more popular kids tended to feel good about themselves and attracted other popular kids who truly felt good about themselves.
And the less popular kids, including the “troubled kids”, found friends that were equal to them in their degree of self-esteem.
Well, it works the same way in finding a mate. The healthier you are emotionally, the healthier is the person you attract to you.
Therefore, the more you truly value yourself, the more likely you are to attract a healthier mate. The healthier you and your mate are emotionally, the easier it is to navigate your relationship.
Remember, relationships can be challenging regardless of one’s emotional health. But if you both have healthy self-esteem, your chances of a fulfilling relationship are much more likely.
Negative Self-Esteem Is Not Permanent and Can Improve Significantly
It’s a common perception that you can’t significantly improve “who you are” emotionally. But that’s not true. Remember, low self-esteem comes from early experiences in childhood usually and is fixable at any age.
Often, clients will come into therapy to feel happier, or to get help in finding a mate. But regardless of the main reason a client comes in, it often goes back to correcting an inaccurate view of themselves.
How we feel about ourselves most often remains the same as how we felt about ourselves as children. We don’t realize that those early childhood experiences stayed with us and we never knew those beliefs were inaccurate. It’s just how we knew ourselves to be.
Healthy self-esteem really is fixable! So if you are not liking who you’re dating, then it’s most likely your inaccurate view of Self that needs fixing.
The How-To of Fixing Your Self-Esteem and Truly Like Who You’re Dating
- First, you must accept that your true view of yourself is likely inaccurate and you are more valuable than what you believe to be true.
- Next, make sure you understand that your current self-esteem likely comes from your perspective as a child. Remember, you don’t have the cognitive part of your brain fully developed until about 23-25 years of age. So all a child knows, is what they see and hear. And then they interpret the events to the best of their ability. Therefore, the child only knows what she “thinks” is accurate. However, a child cannot yet see things outside her thoughts about herself.
- Name the things you like about yourself. For example, “I’m kind”, or generous, funny, very bright, caring, pretty hair, like experiencing new adventures, etc. You must know and believe you have several good qualities. This is not bragging or being “full of your self”. It‘s learning to recognize your true Self and valuing those things.
- Ask your most emotionally healthy friends to list the qualities they truly admire and appreciate in you. It can be in several categories: ie: who you are as a person, skills where you excel, or what your talents may be. This list can include various physical attributes (ie: nice hair, pretty eyes, good figure, etc). Your friends must be genuine. Ask them to not “fluff” things.
- Name at least three things you’ve done in your life that you are proud of. It can be helping someone in need, or some nice painting you created or finishing school when you really didn’t want to attend, but you did it anyway.
These lists help define who you are. They also highlight moments of strength and values in you that are very important to know and accept. This recognition will help you to begin correcting those childhood misperceptions of your self-esteem.
Practice “Being” Who You Truly are in the Positive…The REAL You!
For example, when you notice you’re playing down your true worth and value, correct it by changing and restating the true and positive attribute you now recognize in yourself. Remember, it’s not being cocky and it’s not about “fluffing” yourself up to “look” good for someone. It’s recognizing and valuing who you truly are.
If you don’t catch this “misstep” in the moment, no worries. Correct it even when you recognize this later. Restate the real truth of your value and attributes, alone, or to someone else. This is how this new, healthy, and more accurate belief in yourself becomes a true part of who you are.
Take a Good, Hard Look at What Kind of People You are Attracting
This is especially important in terms of dating and possibly marrying one day. If those around you currently also have poor self-esteem you may need to change some of your friendships to healthier ones.
I know this sounds harsh, but here is why this is so important:
- Women, especially, often compete with one another. This action is not healthy when it feels like someone is being put down, or may not have your best interest at heart.
- The “right” people around you are the ones who value you and demonstrate that.
- Healthy people want to uplift you, and to see you happy and successful in your relationships.
- This doesn’t mean you must “dump” all your friends. But it’s important to recognize those who truly value and encourage you, versus those who put you down and want to compete with you.
How All of This Fits Into Dating Choices and Practices
The more you truly value yourself the healthier mate you will attract. The less you value yourself, the less healthy will be your dating options and mate.
So do the work: practice the new and positive beliefs about yourself. As you feel better about yourself, be open to “showing” those positive qualities you have in public. The more you can accept those good qualities, the easier it is for others to see and value them!
You Don’t Have to do This On Your Own
Don’t be shy about seeking professional guidance. After all, they don’t teach this in school. Psychotherapists are trained in issues of self-esteem and dating and help people move forward in their life.
You’ve Got This!!!
For more information, see some previous articles: