How to Help Low Self Esteem in a Relationship: Tips to Improve Confidence

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Whether you are looking for a serious relationship or are already in one, having low self esteem might prove challenging for the relationship, and it can be important to cultivate your self esteem and confidence while in a relationship. Read on to learn how to help low self esteem in a relationship.

Low self esteem in a relationship: vector art of a woman improving her confidence as represented by watering a plant

How to know if you have low self esteem in a relationship

The first step to improving low self esteem in a relationship is recognizing that this is what you are experiencing. Here are some signs that can help you understand if you have low self esteem: 

Try to not lose hope, even if you recognise these signs in yourself. Attempt to not let your low self esteem define your identity, and keep in mind that it doesn’t make you less worthy of love. 

Causes for low self esteem in a relationship

Low self esteem in a relationship might have nothing to do with the relationship, and more to do with your experience outside of it. You might experience low self esteem in your relationship because you

  • have little direction and purpose: when someone feels lost or lacks purpose they might rely on their partner too much for direction and fulfilment, creating pressure and frustration in the relationship.
  • aren’t able to receive compliments: constantly criticising yourself and not knowing how to receive compliments can be frustrating for a partner as they may feel like they can’t make you happy.
  • aren’t able to set boundaries: this can lead to burnout and being taken advantage of. 
  • do not put effort into self-care: if you have low self esteem you might forget to take care of yourself physically and mentally. This may mean you look for approval from your partner, rather than finding it within yourself.
  • avoid conflict: if you lack confidence, you might avoid certain conflicts or responsibilities which can make you passive in a relationship. This can disrupt communication.

Body positive image of a woman getting compliments, vector art

How low self esteem can affect your relationship

Having low self esteem in a relationship can affect yourself, your partner, and of course—your relationship.

Low self esteem in a relationship can cause you to sabotage your own relationship, as questioning your own worthiness of love might make you blame your partner for not loving enough. You might end up pushing your partner away. 

It might also leave you vulnerable and taken advantage of since you may attract partners who can be abusive or controlling and find yourself in a toxic relationship

While everyone has challenges in their relationships, it can be healthier and more fulfilling for both partners if the relationship relies on confidence and has more positive than negative moments. 

Being very sensitive can affect your self-esteem in dating too. Here’s how sensitive people can handle all hurdles and difficulties in their love life!

Vector art of a man improving confidence as represented by watering a plant in a person's head

How to help low self esteem in a relationship

You can try the following suggestions to try and turn your low self esteem around and feel more confident in the relationship. 

Focus on your strengths

Try writing a list of everything that you are good at (or have been told you are!). Place your list where you can see it daily to remind your subconscious of your value.

Reassess your environment

Who and what you surround yourself with can directly affect your well-being and confidence. You can try reflecting on your work, home, and social environments to assess whether some of your relationships are affecting you negatively. Asking the following questions can help:

  • Do your friends encourage confidence within you and inspire you? 
  • Does your home reflect self-care and positivity? 
  • Does your workplace enhance your purpose and skills?

Start accepting praise

Even if you don’t believe someone’s positive remarks about you, thank them anyway and try to wear the compliment as a badge of honour. The key is to trick your brain into thinking positively about yourself.

Prepare, practice, praise, repeat

One of the simple formulas to build confidence can be to learn what you need, put it into practice, praise yourself for trying, and then repeat until you get better. This can be for anything from accepting compliments to approaching a date or setting boundaries.

Stay consistent (even on bad days)

Consistency helps build new habits. You might need to choose to do what brings you closer to feeling confident, regardless of circumstances, fears, or feelings.

See yourself through the eyes of grace, not perfection—you may not be where you want to be, but it can still be important to have compassion towards yourself. 

We are all on a journey and no one is perfect. However, we can learn to love who we are along the way.  

Vector art of man running up to achieve goals

How to help low self esteem in a relationship: FAQs

What to do if you’re dating someone with low self esteem in a relationship?

If you are dating someone with low self esteem, you might want to help them. You can try giving them positive reinforcement. You can also encourage them to seek professional help since their struggles are ultimately their own. Keep in mind that you may want to seek help as well since you might feel the effects of your partner’s challenges on the relationship.

What are the risks of low self esteem in a relationship?

Low self esteem in a relationship can lead to self-doubt, doubting your partner, and questioning the relationship. It may eventually lead to a breakup, as partners might not feel fulfilled.

How to talk to a partner about low self esteem?

Whether you are experiencing low self esteem or it is your partner who does, starting a conversation about the subject can be healthy and eventually improve the situation. Try to listen to each other, be compassionate and non-judgmental, and let each other have some space if you need to. It can be helpful to seek professional help from a person who is trained in mediating conversations like these. 

How to help low self esteem in a relationship: our final thoughts

While it may not be ideal, having low self esteem in a relationship—whether on your part or your partner’s—is more normal than you may think. Keep in mind that it is possible to improve your self esteem and gain confidence in the relationship, and that starts with working to cultivate confidence within yourself.

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