Generally, we allow others to treat us the manner in which we believe we deserve. When we don’t respect ourselves, we won’t expect to be treated with respect. When we don’t value our feelings and needs, allow abuse, and lack the courage to reveal them, we remain unhappy, feel resentment, or might blame or withdraw. We might accept abuse or withholding behavior.
Self-sacrifice and imbalance
Similarly, we may give more than we receive in our relationships and overdo at work. Our inner critic can be judgmental of others, too. When we’re critical of our partner or highly defensive, it makes it difficult to problem-solve. Insecure self-esteem can also make us suspicious, needy, or demanding of our partner.
Self-esteem is generally determined by our teens. Some of us struggle all our lives with impaired self-esteem and even the resulting depression. But we can change and build healthy self-esteem. Raising self-esteem means getting to know and love yourself – building a relationship, as you would with a friend – and becoming your own best friend.
This takes attentive listening, quiet time, and commitment. The alternative is to be lost at sea, continually trying to prove or improve yourself or win someone’s love, while never feeling truly lovable or enough – like something is missing.
It’s difficult to get outside our own thoughts and beliefs to see ourselves from another perspective. Therapy can help us change how we think, act, and what we believe. Many times, one partner in individual therapy makes positive changes, and the relationship changes for the better.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to raise self-esteem. It’s more powerful when combined with meditation that increases self-awareness.
On your own, you can follow the guidelines in How to Raise Your Self-Esteem.
Some things you can do:
- Recognize the Signs. Be able to spot clues that your self-esteem needs uplifting. Many people think they have good self-esteem. They may be talented, beautiful, or successful, but still lack self-esteem.
- Root Out False Beliefs. Learn how to identify and deprogram false beliefs and behaviors you want to change and those you want to implement.
- Identify Cognitive Distortions. Impaired self-esteem can cause us to skew and distort reality. Learn to identify and challenge your cognitive distortions.
- Journal. Journaling has been shown to elevate mood and decrease depression. Keeping a journal can also help you to monitor your interactions with others and your negative self-talk. To change your self-talk, see my ebook on overcoming self-criticism, 10 Steps to Self-Esteem: The Ultimate Guide to Stop Self-Criticism.
- Heal Toxic Shame. If you believe you suffer from codependency and shame, learn more about it and do the exercises in Conquering Shame and Codependency.
© Darlene Lancer 2019
Written by Darlene Lancer
Originally appeared on WhatIsCoDependency.com
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- Toxic Shame: How Internalized Shame Alters Our Self-Image
- 7 Inner Archetypes That Cripple Your Confidence and Self-Respect
- 5 Life Changing Habits That Will Build Your Self- Esteem
- 8 Signs He Has Low Self-Esteem, And Why You Need To Move On
- What You Can Do About Self-Criticism As A Highly Sensitive Person