Self Esteem and relationships
Self-esteem can be described in terms of how we relate to ourselves: are we critical of ourselves? Have we given up on ourselves and are now prioritising everyone and everything else? Do we treat others as harshly and unkindly as we treat ourselves? Do we look to others to save us, rescue us, compensate for us? Do we hide, fight, surrender? Do we take things personally?
Taking care of the self and prioritising the self above anything and anyone is not a selfish act: the ways in which we relate to ourselves has a great impact on how we feel, think, be and do. The healthier the relationship with self, the happier we are and the healthier is our relationship with others.
We all have insecurities, fears and aspects of ourselves that we do not feel confident about and we have all kinds of different ways in which we try to protect ourselves from feeling hurt. Often, this manifests itself in passive or aggressive behaviours towards the self and others, which only results in more conflict, separation and disconnection, hence more hurt, more fears, more insecurities.
Learning to relate to the self in a healthy way means learning to respect ourselves, accept our limitations and thrive to overcome them. It requires practice, effort and a desire for peace, contentment and happiness. Cognitive and Behavioural therapy and Mindfulness can help us throughout this process by learning new ways of relating to our experience, our life, our relationships.
There is so much information available out there as to how we can improve our well-being ranging from physical, emotional to spiritual pursuits. If you are like me, you will have tried and tested many different approaches with the view to feel better, be happier, achieve more, be more content, accepting and on goes the list. So, really, we should feel great, at all time, right?
No is the short answer!
Our feelings and emotions operate on a continuum that ranges from positive to negative. When we experience positive emotions, we tend to associate them to well-being and when we experience negative emotions we tend to look for the reason why that might be the case, because if we can identify the cause, we can remove it, right?
The thing is, as a human being we are capable of experiencing a range of emotions and we are also capable of rationalising and justifying our own experiences, to fit our erroneous beliefs about pretty much anything, often not based on any solid knowledge or facts.
Our feelings and emotions are only a guide to how we perceive our experiences, not necessarily a reflection of whether the experience is positive or negative, or right or wrong, or good or bad. Often, we can't change our experiences, they are already happening when we judge them to be positive or negative. What we can change, however, is the way we perceive our experiences, so that, they no longer have a hold on us and lead us into well-worn path of more negative thoughts, emotions, and unhelpful behaviours.
Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness can teach us simple skills and exercises for well-being. If you are not sure whether these approaches can help you, get in touch and we can discuss your particular situation and I can explain t you how I work.