Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 26, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY

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Relationships & Self-Esteem

I think the theme of this week is going to be healthy relationships. Consider this post to be part II of my last one, which can be found here.

In my last post, I mentioned that I used to help facilitate programs for adults with disabilities. One of the main components of the program focused on the connection between dating and self-esteem. Feeling good about oneself and feeling like we deserve respect in a relationship is critical. One thing that I’ve learned is that before you can have a healthy relationship (with a family member, friend, partner, etc.) you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself and an understanding that you deserve to be in a relationship with someone who cares about you and respects you.

If you’re unsure of some of the things you deserve, once again you can check out my last post.

So, to address the second-half of this, let’s talk self-esteem.

As someone who has gone through periods of my life where I haven’t felt the best about my appearance, my body, my life, etc., I’ve got a lot to say on this topic and making myself feeling better. Especially if you’re a woman, people teach how to feel like shit and to be confident means to be cocky. Let’s unlearn those lessons.

Here are some tips for self-love and building self-esteem:

  • Focus on the positive characteristics about yourself that aren’t based on physical appearance

The majority of the time, women are taught that their value comes from how they look. It can be easy to get wrapped up in these social pressures. To combat this, try shifting your thoughts away from how you look and make a list of the non-physical characteristics that you like about yourself. Maybe you’re a really great friend, maybe you have a nice laugh, or maybe you’re good at playing an instrument. Focus on those aspects of yourself and you’ll feel a lot better.

  • Don’t base your self-esteem on how attractive you think others find you

This kind of connects to the previous tip, but you shouldn’t base your self-worth on whether or not you’re in a relationship or whether or not you feel like others are attracted to you. From my experience, it’s best to rely on yourself and remind yourself how great you are. Searching for validation through attention from others, will only leaving you disappointed and expecting too much from people.

  • Find and focus on things you’re good at

I’ve personally found that I’ve felt the best about myself when I’ve worked towards achieving personal goals. I wanted to start a blog, so I did. I wanted to get better at running so I’ve been working on it every day and I feel better about myself each time I complete a reach a new milestone. This also allows me to think about myself, what I want, and my accomplishments instead of the way I look or the things I don’t like about myself.

  • Let yourself take up space

Sometimes it’s easy to feel full of yourself or guilty for taking up space and making time to feel good about yourself. Don’t fall into that trap, devote time to focusing on yourself. If you’re not feeling good about yourself, let yourself take up space and talk to someone about how you feel.

  • Recognize that the media sets you up to feel like crap

I’ve hinted at this a little bit before, but recognizes that the media gives you impossible, unrealistic about your body looks and behaviors. The media also reinforces gender roles and behaviors that makes this even worse. Know that the media is no friend to your self-esteem with its edited images, thin models, and lack of representation of anyone who isn’t straight, white, or able-bodied. Be mindful of the media you consume and recognize how unrealistic it is.

Just some tips to build self-esteem,