Why Love is Important for Healthy Self-Esteem
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 24, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kelly L. Burns, MA, LPC, ATR-P
There are a lot of reasons why love is important. It's something that's necessary for life. We all want to feel love and to be able to give our love to another person. But love is actually important for our own self-esteem as well. Self-love and self-esteem are directly related. Without love for yourself, you will not have good self-esteem, which can cause a lot of struggles for you in life.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as, "a confidence and satisfaction in oneself". Your self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. It's what you think of yourself when no one else's opinion is weighing in. Some people have great self-confidence. They are comfortable and confident in who they are.
But then there are other people who suffer from low self-esteem. These people may struggle with feeling like they aren't "good enough" and that they don't measure up. They can turn into people-pleasers who are always looking to meet the needs of others so they can receive approval in return.
Self-esteem plays a part in every area of your life. It affects your relationships, your confidence, and your ability to go after the things that you want to do. This is why it's important to be able to recognize what the symptoms of low self-esteem are so you can learn to address them. Many people struggle to recognize this in their own life.
Signs of low self-esteem
- You apologize for everything, even if it's not your fault. Sometimes people with low self-esteem take responsibility for things that are not their fault. Then, they end up apologizing constantly for things that they had nothing to do with. Taking responsibility for things that they aren't responsible for continues to lower their self-esteem.
- You cling to your phone in social settings. Low self-esteem can turn your phone into a security blanket when you are in social situations. Staring at your screen makes it look like you're busy so people won't talk to you. This way you don't have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone as much.
- You judge others. When you have low self-esteem, you feel that everyone else has their eyes on you and is judging you. This can make you feel very insecure and also cause you to judge others. You're constantly comparing yourself to others to see how you stack up against them.
- You adjust to being like the people you're with. When you have low self-esteem, you work to blend in with the crowd that you're with. That means you don't often have your own thoughts or opinions because you try to just go along with the crowd. This can lead you into doing things that you don't necessarily want to do just to be able to fit in.
- You blame other people for the problems in your life. Sometimes when people are dealing with low self-esteem, they want to play the role of a victim. They look at the things that aren't the way they want them to be in life and then they blame it on other people. This also removes their responsibilities from the situation.
- You give into fear. If you struggle with low self-esteem, fear and anxiety are most likely a large part of your life. You allow your fear to control you. This keeps you from moving forward with things that you want to do and accomplish.
- You avoid social gatherings. You may experience social fear and awkwardness causing you to avoid social gatherings. And, you may even want to attend the event or gathering, but you have so much anxiety about it that you keep yourself from going.
Why Self-Esteem is Important for Relationships
Your self-esteem impacts the types of relationships that you have with people, which in turn impacts your self-esteem. When you have low self-esteem, you have a tendency to end up in unhealthy relationships.
It's common for people with low self-esteem to get into people pleasing. You want the other person to like you and you think that if you do things for them, it means they will appreciate you. However, this type of behavior often leads to being hurt or taken advantage of. When people know that you are willing to do whatever they want, they are going to use that to get what they want, not to give you what you're looking for.
Your self-esteem cannot be based on external sources without consequences. You need to first have good self-esteem and self-love and then you will be able to have healthy relationships with other people as well.
Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem
The good news is if you suffer from low self-esteem, it doesn't have to stay that way. There are many different strategies that you can use to improve your self-esteem and self-love.
Change yourself through self-talk
It's hard to think positively about yourself if you're constantly criticizing yourself and knocking yourself down. Love is an important part of this process. You have to decide to think about and talk about yourself like you would to someone that you love. You wouldn't constantly knock that person down, shame them, or criticize them in front of others. Instead, you would look for ways to build them up and encourage them.
Try making a list of positive things about yourself. Anytime you have a negative thought about yourself enter your mind, choose to think about that list of positive things instead.
Learn to see mistakes and failures for what they are
Making a mistake or failing at something does not mean that you are a failure. It's important to learn that failures are simply something that you can learn from. Don't let them hold you back from making progress in your life. If there's something that you've done wrong, look to see if there's something you can do to correct it and if not forgive yourself and move on. Failing in one part of life does not make you a failure, and neither does making mistakes. Everyone is human and everyone is going to do this. So don't let it hold you back.
Accept your imperfections
There's not one single person on this planet that is perfect. You may think that other people look like they have perfect lives, perfect bodies, and perfect relationships. But it's just not true.
You are constantly going to be disappointed in yourself and your situation if you are expecting it to be perfect. Instead, choose to focus on the good things and choose to accept the things that you wish could be different.
Until you learn how to accept yourself as you are, you are never going to truly learn how to love yourself or have a healthy self-esteem. This is what love is all about.
Surround yourself with supportive people
It's important to have people in your life that you can be completely honest with. It's also important that those people can be honest with you. This is what a healthy friendship looks like.
When you have these people in your life, they will be able to let you know when you're doing something that could be hurting your self-esteem. They can help you recognize when you're falling into people pleasing behaviors or when you're getting too caught up into comparing yourself to others.
These will need to be people that you can be completely yourself with and will not try to encourage you to be just like them.
Step out of your comfort zone
We like to stay in our comfort zone because it feels safe there. However, growth cannot happen when you are staying in your comfort zone. If you want to really grow as a person and build healthy self-esteem, you're going to need to do things that challenge you and things that you might not be comfortable doing. But as you try new things and see that you can have success in them, it's going to start to build your confidence and your self-esteem.
Go to counseling
Therapy is a great way to start improving your self-esteem and self-love. The therapist is going to be able to help you recognize where your low self-esteem is stemming from and then learn strategies to help you overcome it.
Sometimes we know where our struggles are coming from and other times, they've been there so long that we have no idea what it is. Many times, low self-esteem comes from problems within your family when you are young, but that's not always the case.
Using online counseling can be a great option because it gives you access whenever you need it to your therapist. That means you don't have to wait for a once a month or once a week appointment to be able to address the struggles that you're facing. You can get results at the moment when you need that word of encouragement or advice.
However, if you really want to see changes in your self-esteem, it's going to involve work. Simply talking with the therapist isn't going to make it happen unless you are doing the work that they assign you and taking the steps that they're encouraging you to take. If you do that, you can overcome self-esteem and build self-confidence and healthy relationships.
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