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10 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Build Self Esteem Through Your Relationships

How To Build Self Esteem Through Your Relationships

There is a lot written about how low self-esteem can impact on your relationships (e.g. through insecurity, jealousy and mistrust). However, what is often forgotten is the impact that having poor or high quality friends can have on your level of self-esteem.

Studies looking at adolescence (a very important time for friendship development and subsequent identity development) show clear impacts of the quality of friends on girl’s self-esteem (particularly the friendships they have with boys). A study looking at the relationship between friendship quality and self-esteem in adolescent boys and girls found:

“… that girls’ self-esteem was significantly lower than boys’ self-esteem and that girls rated their relationships as stronger, more interpersonally rewarding, and more stressful than boys did….As expected, girls’ self-esteem was positively correlated with the friendship quality of their cross-gender best friend.”1

mums making friendsResearch shows us that when we are happy within our friendships, the way we feel about ourselves (our self worth) is much higher and we are much less likely to suffer from low self-esteem

But why does having good relationships impact on our self worth so significantly?

Our self-esteem and self-worth are a combination of our internal messages (what we say to ourselves) and our internal beliefs, as well as the messages we absorb about ourselves from the outside world. The messages we tend to take on board and believe the most, often come from those we love, admire and respect the most.

Our relationships with friends, family members and partners have the greatest impact on us and can be our greatest asset, or our greatest enemy to  self-esteem.  In intimate relationships, it’s also very easy to take each other for granted, particularly if you have been together for a long time. If your relationship is not regularly tended to, complacency can quickly set in, leading to regularly snapping at each other and talking in a negative manner towards the person who arguably should be treated like a true best friend.

People often assume others should just know how they feel about them and so don’t take the time to tell others how they feel, or what they mean to them. In addition, tiredness, irritability and exhaustion, which we all experience from time to time, can lead to a less than kind communication style within partnerships and families and things can then be taken the wrong way (e.g. a partner’s snappiness, or tiredness could be misconstrued as not caring, simply due to lack of clear, calm and respectful communication). Further, during arguments people often say things they don’t really mean, but these negative comments stay with those receiving them. Last, but not least, in friendships, those that are not assertive can be taken advantage of and neglected, simply because they will be the least likely to complain later on.

As a parent it is important to be aware of our child’s self esteem and the impact that friends can have on a child’s self worth, particularly when they begin to become interested in dating. Throughout life, intimate partners play a significant role on our self esteem and self confidence. This is why, the best thing you can do in a relationship is to make sure you are close friends (best friends is preferable) and that you never compromise on trust and respect in the partnership. By following these 3 guidelines you will maintain a healthy relationship and both people in the relationship will also maintain a healthy self esteem too.

The take home message

  • Be mindful of your communication style with significant people in your life.
  • Don’t be afraid to be assertive and speak up when you feel you are not being treated kingly or with respect.
  • Look after your health because this plays a significant role in how you feel and then how you communicate as a result of your internal emotions.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Personal Development Coach & Author

Reference

1 Thomas, J.J. & Daubman, K.A. Sex Roles (2001) 45: 53. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013060317766