I don’t love myself or feel good about myself, just love my boyfriend. How do I feel better?

I've been struggling with relationship issues. I am driving my partner away with insecurities and am making myself sick with worry
Asked by A

Hi A,

Firstly, I think it's helpful to explore your past, specifically your family of origin relational patterns. Some clients seek a therapist to help them through issues of self-esteem and insecurities, but most clients end up realizing their family of origin work is a more central issue to their lives than they might have thought at the outset of their therapy journey.  There are very few things in our lives our families of origin don't impact, for the simple reason that they are our first relationships and first experiences of the world.  Our earliest experiences with our families of origin shape our biases, tendencies, and what we consider "normal," for example, our attachment styles, family roles, and how we engage in conflict and communicate with others.  As adults, through the therapy process, we learn what does or doesn't serve us anymore: what might need to be uprooted and unlearned or what needs to be planted and learned like how to communicate vulnerable emotions to a romantic partner.  Beginning therapy with a clinician trained in family systems could help support this process for you.

Once that work has been done and some understanding has been established, the present work can begin.  Feeling "good" about ourselves can be very tough, especially because we're always changing.  One of the first habits to establish is to stop comparing yourself to others.  Although natural, it can be dangerous because this causes you to not focus on your own journey and growth.  Along this same line, don't listen to other people's opinions.  As stated before, you are on your own journey, so listening to other people having something to say about it will only hinder your own perception of yourself.  Put yourself first and give yourself some grace because you're learning more about yourself and challenging yourself more than you likely have in the past. 

So, be sure to acknowledge some of the small growths (because small progress is still progress) and be kind to yourself!  It's helpful to be mindful of how you're speaking to yourself and consider if you would talk to your boyfriend or a friend the way you talk to yourself.  If the answer to that is no, start considering yourself your own friend and shift that negative self-talk to something kinder.  You deserve to have the life you want for yourself, so think about what can be done to better help you with establishing habits that will help you feel more connected to yourself, your values, and your interests.

And just remember, you already have the tools you need to help with these relationship issues.  You can do this for yourself, which will then help you do it for others.  I hope this helps!