As I began writing this blog, I started to venture down a rabbit hole, eventually leading into an in-depth look at toxic relationships. There is a very strong connection between low self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem and addiction to toxic relationships. With that being said, stay tuned for a follow-up blog next week about The Toxic Relationship.
I’m Not Worthy
Why am I always seeking other’s opinions to validate my self-worth? Why do I allow break-ups to damage my self-confidence? Why do I always assume there is something wrong with me that the other person doesn’t want to be with? These are questions that I have asked myself time and time again, and have now learned to ignore and put to the back of my mind. When you get the “it’s not you, it’s me” talk, it can send you down a dangerous path of self-deprecation. Learning to have self-confidence is one of the biggest game-changers in relationships, and an important characteristic of confident people is that they don’t wonder if someone likes them, they know who they are, what they are worth, and they assume that they are liked until it is proven otherwise.
Have you ever been with someone who made you feel like you weren’t good enough for them and that they were “doing you a favor” being with you? It’s an awful feeling, and no one should ever make you feel that way about yourself. But why do we torture ourselves and let ourselves think this way? When you stop and think about where these feelings are coming from, you may be surprised by what you find. Most of our feelings of lack of self-worth in relationships stem from our own insecurities and doubts about ourselves. Does that person really think you’re not good enough, or are you just seeing a reflection of how you view yourself in them?
The way we react to different comments and criticism also stems from our insecurities. When someone says something simple like “you look tired today”, “that dress is a little tight on you”, or “oh, you’re wearing your hair like that now?” it can cause a knee-jerk reaction of anger, making you feel like they’re being cruel or picking on you. But have you ever paused and wondered why those comments bother you so much? It’s your own insecurities coming out in the form of an emotional reaction. Sometimes people use these insecurities to pick at you and put you down, but other times it can just be a simple comment by which they didn’t mean any harm. The way you choose to react to these comments is completely up to you. One thing I do when I’m having an emotional reaction to something is I take a deep breath, step back from the situation, and rationalize my thoughts before forming a reaction. This takes patience and practice, but it has helped me significantly in my personal relationships and at work.
The Relationship Killer
Low self-confidence is one of the top relationship killers. It can make you feel unattractive and kill your sex drive, make you begin to think that your significant other is cheating on you or thinking of leaving you, and it can even cause you to get angry and fly off the handle at the smallest things.
When you think about your spouse, or potential spouse, do you see that person as a confident person or an insecure person? Which of the two choices is more attractive to you? It’s a known fact that people are attracted to confidence. Based on this fact, when you become insecure in a relationship, the tendency for you to become less attractive to your mate is definitely a reality. No one wants to be with a needy, clingy, jealous person (well, hopefully). The healthiest relationships are built on trust and confidence in each other. How can you truly love someone and be a good mate if you can’t even love your whole self?
Even worse, insecure people will not trust you and even cause you to lose touch with your friends, wanting you all to themselves and not wanting you doing anything without them. All of these are stop signs that you all should be aware of and, if you can, nip these behaviors in the bud before they get out of hand. Believe me, if you don’t have a solid foundation of trust and confidence in your relationship, the relationship is doomed from the start whether it takes a year or even five years to figure it out, and the sooner you realize this, the better.
Dating Apps and Self-Confidence
So where do the new dating apps come in to play in this confidence factor? When you initially join a dating website there are many emotions and thoughts running through your mind. You’re excited, scared, nervous, anxious, and skeptical. You create your profile, pick out what you believe to be the most attractive photos of yourself, and hit submit. Now you’re live. Men start to view your profile and judge you on looks and what little information you have provided about yourself.
As you start clicking or swiping through profiles your hopes are high and as you “like” people, you get excited for them to like you back and match with you. Finally, you make your first match. Nerves kick in and expectations are high. Then it happens… either you reach out to them and hear nothing in return, or they reach out to you, you have a two-sentence conversation, and then you never hear from them again. Any normal human being who is not used to this new-age dating scene would feel a little hit to their confidence. Then the questions begin… Did I say something wrong? Did he not like my photos? Was I not attractive enough for him? Was I not interesting enough? These are all toxic questions that are extremely unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs.
If this has happened to you, hopefully you were able to brush it off and continue on your search. The best thing you can do when you’re dating online is be comfortable with the fact that not everyone that you find attractive will find you attractive in return, and that’s OK! If it’s not meant to be, let it go and don’t beat yourself up about it; you don’t even know the person and they’ll never get the pleasure of getting to know you. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you or that you need to change anything, but just that they weren’t the right person for you, and who wants to be with someone that’s not right for them anyway?
Maybe you matched with someone, talked for a bit, and set up a date. The date went well, but then you never hear from them again. It’s easy to revert to those same questions, tearing yourself apart wondering “what’s wrong with me?” Don’t do it. The right person is out there for you, and when you meet them they will be equally interested in you, treat you with the respect that you deserve (and should demand), and they will be attentive and kind. Be picky and be comfortable holding yourself to the dating standards you’ve set for yourself.
When things don’t go as you had hoped, it is easy to get into “defense-mode” and immediately want to text or message the other person asking what happened, why they haven’t contacted you again, or even get angry and say cruel things to the other person. This lack of self-confidence will drive you crazy and, in return, send the other person running as fast as they can from you. Fight that initial hot-tempered reaction and remember that you are going to be perfect for someone and that person just wasn’t right for you.
How Do You Find Confidence?
I have come to learn that confidence, for most of us, is like a seesaw. Sometimes you’re the most confident person in the world, and then other times you find yourself feeling insecure and your confidence drops. We are all works in progress, always changing, growing, and learning new things about ourselves as we journey through life. If you find that you are lacking self-confidence, there are some practices and routines you can try to boost your confidence (and I have tried all these things).
First, I have found that sleep hypnosis recordings provide you with the best results and noticeable changes in your confidence factor. You can find a ton of free videos on YouTube (Jody Whiteley and Thomas Hall are two of my favorites) and there are also apps you can download. These recordings repeat affirmations over and over again, and your subconscious-self absorbs these statements and resets your brain while you sleep. When I listen to these I wake up feeling refreshed and confident. They take a little getting used to at first. For me it was not only learning to follow the relaxation exercise at the beginning, but also getting over feeling ridiculous listening to it.
Second, work out. Get into a routine and get your butt to the gym! Working out helps you relieve stress, and when you begin to get stronger and lose weight it’s inevitable that your confidence will rise. Set a goal for yourself and stick to it. Just like I said in my “Goodbye 2016!” blog, you can also find an accountability partner to work out with, or maybe you find a workout group or class that you like. Whatever you choose to do, find a routine that you can commit to and that will fit nicely into your schedule.
The last choice is writing things down. One option is to start a journal about your feelings. When you write things down they become real; you can reflect on them and really ask yourself if these were true emotions that you were feeling at the time. It’s human nature to have an initial emotional reaction to things, but are you overreacting? Will you wake up in the morning or reflect in a couple hours and realize that you should have reacted differently and that you were just letting your insecurities get the better of you? Another writing option is to write confidence-boosting statements to yourself on your mirror and read them out loud every day. These affirmations don’t work for everyone, but research has proven this practice to be very effective. These can be simple statements like “you are beautiful”, “you are confident”, or can be more specific like “you will nail this interview today” or “you deserve someone wonderful”.
Whatever confidence state you are currently in, know this: You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone ever tell you any different. You are worthy of someone who will treat you with love and respect, and never settle for less.
“Self-confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. How can anyone see how great you are if you can’t see it yourself?”