Are Your Relationships Building, Or Taking Your Self-Esteem?

February 27, 2023
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Categories: Self-Esteem
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0 min read
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What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-worth, or esteem, is what forms our opinion of ourselves, and how we value ourselves. It is incredibly important because it impacts how we relate to ourselves, others, and subsequently impacts how we operate in the world. When self-esteem is low, we suffer internally and externally, in very tangible ways. So healthy relationships are key.

Starting At The Beginning

Life events have a very real effect on self-esteem, from our earliest years. But any person we love or are close to can do harm by making us feel we are not good enough in all kinds of ways. This can be because we’re around those closest to us for extended periods and they can inadvertently, or negligently facilitate a kind of negative self talk through implicit (and sometimes explicit) messages that we receive from them. What may seem benign, becomes a subversive and persistent attack on our esteem, telling us subliminally that we are not good enough, we are not deserving, and we are not worthy.

Take Inventory Of Your Relationships

It’s not just parents that can do this to us. Your parents may have been wonderful, but this article may still resonate with you because you now find yourself being harmed by colleagues, friends, or partners. When we are around people who affect our self-esteem, whether they be parents, colleagues, friends, or romantic relationships, if they aren’t building our confidence and helping us to be our best, they could be causing us harm. When’s the last time you did a relationship inventory?

How Positive Relationships Build Our Esteem

Ask yourself: do the people around you make you feel motivated, valued, cared for, and loved? If yes, you are much more likely to experience the release of ‘feel good hormones’ like oxytocin (otherwise known as the ‘love’ or ‘cuddle’ hormone), and dopamine. This helps develop healthy self-esteem, happiness, and success. Indeed, when relationships make us feel good, we are accomplished in an extremely crucial aspect of life. One that feeds into others because we are less likely to accept poor treatment as we expect to be valued and respected in other areas of life.

How Negative Relationships Take Our Self-Esteem

Conversely, when we are made to feel devalued, and uncared for, we can understandably experience a loss of esteem and self-worth. This can predispose us to mental health problems like depression, social anxiety, disordered eating, and negative thoughts that sometimes relate to self-harm and suicidal ideation. So, I ask you again, are you around people who make you feel like the best version of yourself? If your answer to this incredibly important question is ‘no’ then you must start improving your self-esteem today.

The Impact

What happens next is the scary part – we begin to harm ourselves. We take on the critical voice(s) of others, and we short-change ourselves in all kinds of ways. In the day to day for example, we might miss out on opportunities because we don’t feel capable, we avoid things that could do us well, but feel too challenging (that is, fear of failure). Essentially, we can lose at life, because we have been (implicitly or explicitly) told we aren’t capable. When we start to believe this, and become it – we live a very sad self-fulfilling prophecy. Effectively, we become the torch bearers of our low self-esteem, and this makes sense when we’ve been habitually criticised by those we expected and trusted to support us.

Your Choice

But it did not start out that way, you weren’t born with low self-esteem, and you can start to build it by rejecting harmful beliefs, right now. It’s time to evaluate who is bolstering your self-esteem and thus facilitating you to be your best self and feel achieved in the world. Spend some time and ask yourself: If my self-esteem was my only bottle of water in the desert; would I let others deplete it, or protect each drop like my life depended on it?

 

Because It Does.

Table Of Contents
What Is Self-Esteem?
Starting At The Beginning
Take Inventory Of Your Relationships
How Positive Relationships Build Our Esteem
How Negative Relationships Take Our Self-Esteem
The Impact
Your Choice
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About The Author
Rehanna Kauser, Psychologist
Rehanna has studied Psychology and Counselling Psychology at four UK universities. She enjoys working with individuals, couples, and families, and also loves learning, and writing. Having always been fascinated with the human mind and behaviour, her interests marry well with her naturally caring disposition, and affinity toward helping people.
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