Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?

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Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?

Self Esteem is a tricky beast. There are very few of us who have not suffered from low self-esteem at some point in our life. For the most part, we can combat that pesky voice in our mind that tells us that we are not worthy of love, but at times, it can get the better of us. Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?

A poor self-image can manifest in many ways in your dating and love life, you might;

  • Have trouble expressing yourself with honest communication and be unable to ask for what you want
  • Have trust and jealousy issues
  • Be overly pessimistic
  • Have unhealthy or unrealistic expectations
  • Be a people pleaser at your own detriment
  • Settle for unhealthy and unhappy relationships

If any of these ring true for you, read on for ways to think critically and make moves to stop your self-esteem from sabotaging your love life.

Fall in love with yourself

Is your self-image sabotaging your love life? -Two girls making a heart shape with their bodies

Wave your own damn flag. Be kind to yourself. Learn to say no. Set strong boundaries. Practice self-care. Don’t place your self-worth in someone else’s hands.

Being comfortable in your own skin is the first step to loving, and allowing yourself to be loved and desired. Put yourself first. Remember that, regardless of how much you may love someone, you are the only person who has to live your life, and if you are living for your partner and not yourself, it may be time to re-evaluate.

Even if being single is not necessarily your preference, you should still at least feel happy and comfortable when you’re not attached. If you place your self-worth in the hands of someone else, you place a huge amount of pressure on that person, and also detriment yourself if ever you separate. A lot of people view romantic relationships as an avenue through which they can fulfil and ‘incompleteness’ they feel within themselves. Healthy people acknowledge and recognise that they are a full and complete person with or without a romantic partner.

Stop Comparing

Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?- Girl looking onto a river

This is a very typical human trait. We compare ourselves to each other constantly. We compare yourself to our friends, our families, to films and media.

Remember what you see of other people’s relationships (ESPECIALLY on social media) is never a true representation of reality. Remember that for the most part, the social feed version of a person’s life is the idealised, beautified version of their life.

Your relationship is unique and will not look like anybody else’s relationship. Release yourself of the pressure to make your relationship ‘on par’ or move at the same pace as anyone else’s. It’s not a race or a competition. 

Perfection is a myth

Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?- Woman in bed with legs up the wall

Striving for perfection is an unattainable goal, particularly in relationships. Romantic relationships are subjective and personal to every individual couple (or more, if you practice polyamory). There is no one universals fits-all recipe for the ‘perfect’ relationship.

Every human is intricate and complex, it is unreasonable to expect that every view, idea and thought you have is going to be aligned with your partners. Sometimes you will disagree, sometimes you will irritate each other. The important thing is to not see these as failures, but as opportunities for understanding, growth and learning.

Don’t let your ideas become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?- girl looking onto horizon

Preconceived conceptions about yourself might be affecting the way you date. If you hold a broad ideal such as ‘women don’t date nerds’ or ‘men don’t want women who are overweight’, or that you are ugly or unlovable, you can make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can rule yourself out of the game by believing you will fail, without ever attempting to play.

Put yourself out there, and if you fail, it can only be a learning experience.

Stop letting fear rule you and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Is your self-image sabotaging your love life?- close up of woman's lower face in worrying stance

There is a vulnerability in asking for what we need. The fear of being rejected or judged for expressing our needs can be paralysing, often leading to underlying resentment or discontent that you feed inside your own mind, oblivious to your partner.

Remember firstly; nobody is a mind reader. No person other than yourself can truly understand your needs and desires, without you expressly telling them.

Humans are attracted to confidence, a person who is confident in themselves tends to radiate that confidence, and be less likely to allow small relationship issues snowball into bigger issues. People who are very insecure in themselves have more of a tendency to become defensive and make mountains out of molehills.

Fear can escalate into mistrust and jealousy, very unwanted and unhealthy traits in relationships. Low self-esteem can make you test or sabotage what could be healthy, loving relationships. Or settle for relationships in which you are treated in a way that matches what you believe about yourself.

Believing yourself to be ‘unworthy’ or ‘lesser’ means you may sell yourself out in a relationship and put up with treatment that you know is objectively unacceptable. People who know their own worth don’t abandon parts of themselves in order to have a relationship.

When people are insecure, they need validation and become resentful if their partner doesn’t give it. You might blame others for ‘making you’ feel insecure. Insecurity manifests as ‘neediness’, which is one of the biggest relationship killers. It can drive people away.

‘Neediness’ arises from a self-critical mindset. It is important to be self-critical for growth but not self-sabotaging. People who are overly self-critical tend to seek approval and affection outside of themselves, and hence become ‘needy’ in their behaviour.

Get naked!

Low self-esteem can often drive us to feel very insecure and self-conscious about our naked self. It can take some of the magic out of the bedroom when you are trying to hide yourself the whole time, or feel uncomfortable.

Remember: if you are naked with someone, they WANT to see you naked. If they have gone so far as to romance you into to taking your clothes off together, let them revel in your naked glory.

Take some nude selfies, spend some time appreciating your body for what it is, instead of criticising it for what it isn’t!

Cassie Skinner

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