How you feel about yourself is a major factor in the quality of your intimate relationships. Trouble in a relationship almost always involves a problem with self-esteem.
Self-worth is a natural product of receiving appropriate validation, attention and approval as we are growing up. You need to be confident about your competence, your mastery of the world. Beyond that, you need to feel that you are loveable, someone that others would want to be close to – competent or not – just by virtue of existing.
When you don’t have a lot of self-confidence you tend to be so preoccupied with questions of self-worth that when you interact with someone else, especially someone who is important to you, you may not perceive what is going on very accurately. Questions like:
Am I good enough?
Will he like me?
Will she want me?
Do my feelings matter?
Am I safe?
Will I be attacked?
Will I be hurt?
Will I be laughed at or humiliated?
Is it safe to ask?
One of the things we have to do to develop our sense of self and greater self-esteem is to accept who we actually are, as opposed to who we are trying to fool ourselves or other people into thinking we are. This means experimenting, trying on different hats and finding out which one feels comfortable, exploring new activities to see which we enjoy and are suited to, taking chances, opening ourselves up a step at a time, allowing ourselves successes as well as failures, seeing mistakes and crises as opportunities to learn and grow. For many of us it means abandoning the belief that the alternative to being perfect is being awful.