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3 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


1 Thomas, J.J. & Daubman, K.A. Sex Roles (2001) 45: 53.

3 months ago · · 0 comments

How Mothers Can Deal With Stress and Learn How To Be Confident

Motherhood is a prime source of anxiety and stress

Before becoming a new mum, you would never have believed the amount of stress that could come from expecting yourself to be perfect. Not only do mothers expect themselves to be the perfect parent, but there is added internal and external pressure to be the perfect partner, friend, employee, family member and so on… So it’s no wonder so many mothers report feeling stressed about not being able to get enough done in their day, or feel anxious about regularly falling behind. These feelings often lead to further stress and a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

The best cure of stress is to take control

When you are feeling anxious or stressed, it can be very debilitating and can lead to procrastination or inefficiency as your mind is not is an efficient state to cope with all the demands on your plate.

However, one of the keys to feeling calmer and more composed is to take stock of what you can and can’t control. For instance, as a busy mother, you may have a huge list of tasks to get through in your day. You have made the assumption that you can achieve this ‘monster’ list because you expect that when you place your child down for a nap today you will have 2 hours of ‘free-time’ to get everything done. Unfortunately, something has upset your child today and she has taken much longer to settle and only sleeps for 30 minutes. You normal reaction might be to feel like a failure, to get angry or upset and to even criticise yourself for not being able to control this situation and have your child in a regular sleep routine. But what if you decided to rethink about what you can and can’t control. This scenario is a very common one for mothers with young children. There is an expectation that babies SHOULD just follow and routine. What mothers are often not considering is, like adults, children are not always predictable. How many times have you struggled to get to sleep or to sleep well because you were feeling sick; it was too hot; you were uncomfortable; you were upset; you were too cold and so on? A young child or toddler is unable to explain why he/she is having difficulty sleeping, yet parenting experts claim children just need to be placed in a routine to sleep and everything will work out fine. So it’s no wonder that mothers blame themselves or their child when things don’t go according to the experts’ plans.

If on the contrary, in situations like these, you stopped yourself from feeling upset about the ‘uncontrollable’ situation and you re-evaluated your list of tasks, you would begin to take control of your emotions and amend your routine throughout the day accordingly. For instance, you may decide to play with your child for a while and then engage in the activities you had planned together. Even if you were planning on getting some chores done, you could let your child play next to you whilst your cleaned. You could also make the safe assumption that your child will most likely be extra tired that evening, so you could get those chores completed then. Either way, YOU have taken control and adapted to the ‘uncontrollable’ in a way that has reduced your stress levels and still enables you to complete the things on your list – with much less stress.

Gaining control reduces depression

Depression comes from a feeling of being helpless and hopeless, so it makes sense that when you regain a sense of control, you begin to feel happier and more hopeful about the future.

how to be confident, how to deal with stress

When you take control of your own health and wellbeing, you also reduce stress and boost self confidence

Some good examples of this are taking control of your:

  •  Wellbeing: Committing to reducing salt and sugar intake
  • Self esteem: Being mindful of negative self-talk
  • Relationships: Taking a breathe to think before speaking in a ‘snapping’ tone to your partner or kids
  • Finances: Making an appointment to see a financial planner
  • Career, Taking stock of what will truly make you feel happy and balanced now that you have a family
  • Personal life: Feeling comfortable with your parenting decisions and your personal beliefs and values

All these examples above are ways that you can regain control of your life. It is through this behaviour that you can boost your self confidence in times of stress and provide guidance and support for those you love most.

 Take a few minutes now to think about what you would like to regain control of this week and commit to doing this as soon as possible.
 If you need any additional tips on self esteem, jump on to our Wellness Support Page for great free tips, articles and videos on how to feel confident, healthy and happy in motherhood.



12 months ago · · 31 comments

Why We All Need Parental Love – Regardless of Our Age

parental loveRegardless of how old you are, every individual desires (and benefits immensely from) having consistent support and unconditional love from parents. Whilst the role of a good parent is to guide, support and nurture each child into being a confident, strong, independent and motivated adult, one never loses the desire to be nurtured and to feel as though there is a bond and guide there when needed.

Over the years I have heard parents say they believe their children are too old for hugs, or that once a child reaches a certain age they no longer need parental support. However, this could not be further from the truth. Affection is a basic human and animal need. This need was shown experimentally in the 1960s via the Harlow psychological studies into the effects of love and deprivation on development. In these (often cruel) experiments, Harlow found that when young rhesus monkeys were provided with a choice of a ‘dummy’ mother made of wire (who provided food) and a ‘dummy’ warm/cuddly mother who provided warmth (& thus emulated the feelings of being with their real mother), they chose the warm mother more often. Hence these studies showed the monkeys would choose feelings of love and affection over the basic need – to eat.

Studies like these altered the way many babies were treated in hospitals. They also helped to shape new adoption policies (e.g. trying to pair parents with babies as young as possible to enhance this bond) and the deinstitutionalisation of orphans and the mentally impaired. Nowadays babies are held by mothers immediately after birth and rarely taken into the nursery, unless necessary. Thus, these basic human needs are well recognised (but sometimes forgotten) today.

As a parent of a child, or an animal, you can see the influence affection and consistent love has on those you care for. If you neglect an animal, for instance, it will most likely cause emotional harm to the animal. I can remember in high school a friend’s brother kept his dog in a large cage at the back of their house, while he trained it to become a ferocious guard dog. Apparently, the dog was nice to the brother. However, strangers were never allowed near the dog, for fear it would attack. Thus, keeping this animal caged significantly impaired the dogs natural instincts; to be loving, affectionate, playful and in particular to feel safe in the presence of strangers.

Whilst as an adult it is important to be your own person and live an independent life, it is always nice to know there are others you can rely on when you need it most. These people do not have to be your parents. They can be close friends, a partner, a mentor, or other family members. The key to this special relationship is feeling secure. A close friend that thinks of your needs, is supportive, loving and affectionate, can provide the same needs of the supportive, loving and affectionate parent. These relationships are very important and deserve your time and dedication to ensure they remain healthy and ongoing throughout your lifetime.

The message here is that if you are a parent, don’t assume your role is no longer as important once your children ‘grow up’. It is just as important, only different. The desire for unconditional and consistent love, support and affection is innate and should not be provided based on age. If you are a carer of an animal, make sure you take time to treat it with regular, unconditional love and affection – not just when you’re in the mood. Animals are sensitive and intelligent creatures and will also give you the same love and affection in return. Regardless of whether, or not you have children or animals in your life, take the time to be affectionate, loving and supporting to those you care about most and ask for this in return when you feel it is lacking.

Finally, think about who you are asking this of and assess whether or not they are capable of providing you with your basic needs. If not, you may need to re-think where you are placing your energy and desires. If a parent, friend or partner is unable to provide you with these basic needs, it doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them, but rather that you need to put your energy into seeking it from those most willing and capable to provide it to you consistently.

Never forget that everyone needs and deserves affection, love and support – especially YOU!

Positive Parenting Blog

Positive Parenting Blog