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How to Support a Partner with Low Self-Esteem

It is not uncommon to get to know someone, fall in love with them, and after some time together, begin noticing qualities indicative of low self-esteem. When you bring up these observations, your partner may become defensive or dismissive, claiming they are out of context or not related to the situation at hand. However, the longer you're together, the more apparent it becomes that your partner's issues are rooted in their own struggle to love themselves. Neglecting their own needs or self-care may make them appear humble or less egocentric than others you've known, but resisting activities like shopping for new clothes or making excuses for avoiding the gym may stem from a feeling of unworthiness. Low self-esteem can lead individuals to believe they don't deserve love or care, prompting behaviors that push their partner away. People with low self-esteem tend to be passive about their personal needs, prioritizing the needs of others. This makes it challenging to express love and can erode emotional intimacy as you may feel uncertain about how to please or make them feel loved.


If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, it is possible that your partner is struggling with low self-esteem. While you cannot fix it for them, you can provide support and opportunities for them to rebuild the confidence needed to achieve their personal and relationship goals.


1.      Acknowledge it's their problem, not yours to fix: To build self-esteem, your partner must confront and change the things that scare them. While it's tough to see a loved one struggle, stepping back and not taking over their challenges is crucial. Express faith in their abilities and belief in their capacity to handle situations. Self-esteem grows through taking risks and learning from failures, so resist the urge to constantly rescue them.

2.      Avoid fake compliments: When your partner is feeling down and addressing a flaw or area they want to improve, refrain from offering fake reassurance or compliments. Instead of dismissing their concerns, let them know you're listening and validate their feelings.

3.      Encourage accountability for self-love: Remind your partner that part of self-love involves holding themselves accountable for their goals. Encourage them to take the necessary risks instead of letting fear dictate old, unproductive behavior patterns.

4.      Don't pity or walk on eggshells: Resist the temptation to pity your partner or tread lightly around them when they seem upset. Allowing them the space to feel negative emotions shows trust in their ability to work through issues, supporting their personal growth and confidence.

5.      Reframe their self-talk: Individuals with low self-esteem often engage in negative self-talk and excessive social media comparison. Challenge their negative self-talk by questioning their comparisons to others and reminding them of your perspective. Limiting time on social media can also break the cycle of negative comparisons.


Ultimately, raising self-esteem is your partner's responsibility, but your belief in them and recognition of their potential can motivate them to take necessary steps. Building confidence is a practice, and regardless of the starting point, individuals can climb higher and become the partners they aspire to be.



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