How Low Self-Esteem Affects Your Relationships

 
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"Whether you’re dealing with a bad breakup or the loss of a job, everyone struggles with low self-esteem from time to time. When something bad happens, it's common for your inner critic to pipe up and say things like, “You’re not good enough,” or “You’ll never be happy.”

How Low Self-Esteem Affects Your Relationships

And while it’s natural to have fluctuations in confidence — especially when life throws you a curveball — if your self-esteem is consistently lacking, it can have a negative impact not only on you, but on your romantic relationships as well. Read on to learn how your self-esteem influences your love life and what you can do to boost your confidence.

The Science of How Low Self-Esteem Impacts Relationships

Research shows that self-esteem can influence your relationship satisfaction just as much as it affects your partner’s. When you feel bad about yourself, your insecurities can start to creep in to the way you act with your significant other — and that can have a negative impact on both of you.

Plus, low self-esteem can distort your perception of your partner, according to research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In the study, researchers asked more than 500 men and women to complete questionnaires about their self-esteem and then asked them how threatened they felt by their partner's flaws. Those with low self-esteem were not only more threatened by their partner’s imperfections, but they were also more likely to view their relationship in black-and-white terms: as all good or all bad.

Having that kind of polarized view of your partner can be tough on your relationship, says Steven Graham, PhD, lead author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. "If my views of you are changing very quickly, thinking very positively about you one minute and negatively the next, that could make the other person feel insecure,” he explains.

Predictability in a relationship is crucial, he adds. It's been found to be a key indicator of the quality of intimacy shared by a couple.

In addition to impacting your perception of your partner, having low self-esteem can also make you more anxious about your relationship in general. “You may be afraid that your partner will leave you, or you panic over other things that others wouldn't think twice about,” says Heidi Riggio, PhD, a social psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at California State University in Los Angeles. “This can lead to panic attacks or extreme jealousy.”

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Whether your self-esteem is momentarily lagging or you’ve been feeling bad about yourself for a long time, the key to rebuilding your confidence is changing your negative thoughts, says Dr. Riggio. A good place to start is by noticing your negative self-talk and reversing it. Self-talk is that inner script that plays in an endless loop in your brain, she explains. If everything you’re saying to yourself is negative, that’s going to impact how you feel about yourself.

“When you notice yourself thinking you're not lovable, or that no one will ever find you attractive, you need to stop and talk back to yourself in a positive way," says Riggio. “Tell yourself that the negative talk is not realistic, but just a distortion.” Then flip the script and say something positive about yourself.

You can train yourself to have conscious, positive thoughts that will help you fight back against those negative thoughts, notes Riggio. The more you practice, the more you’ll cultivate your confidence".

Fuente: www.everydayhealth.com
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