How To Increase Your Self-Esteem When Dating
It’s hard to feel confident when you’re a teenager. Your body is changing and awkward, your hormones are raging and even causing acne, you’re trying to figure out who you are, and you are extremely self-conscious. The good news is that you’re not alone. It is pretty normal to be self-conscious when you’re going through all of that. At some time or another, everyone doubts themselves. There is, however, a difference between feeling somewhat self-conscious and actually having low self-esteem.
Self-esteem is “a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). So, while typical teens might get down on themselves for having acne or being too short or having large breasts, they will maintain respect for themselves and know they are inherently good and lovable. But when someone has low or no self-esteem, it goes far beyond the normal self-doubts of adolescence. It is a deeper sense of feeling unworthy and unloveable. And this is set-up for disasters in the world of dating.
When it comes to dating, a teenager with a healthy self-esteem will seek out and be attracted to other healthy individuals. They will enjoy each other, but they will also know how to maintain their individuality, their friendships and their family relationships. They will be supportive of one another and set healthy boundaries. On the other hand, teens with low self-esteem do no respect themselves, and therefore do not demand respect from others. They seek out and are attracted to other unhealthy individuals. Once they find each other, they often fail to have healthy relationships, they lack boundaries, and allow themselves to be mistreated or even physically, verbally or sexually abused.
When you have low self-esteem, you often mistake obsession and possessiveness for love. It feels good when someone you like wants to talk all the time and see you all the time. The attention feels great. You finally feel loved, because someone on the outside is showing you something that feels like love. But, the truth is, until you love yourself, you will never find a healthy relationship. Love must first come from within. Then, and only then, will you be able to seek out something healthy.
Here are some ways you can increase your self-esteem:
- Focus on your strengths and accomplishments, whatever they might be. Find a few things that you actually like about yourself, and even write them down. Remind yourself of these things every single day.
- Celebrate the small things. Not everything good has to be something huge. You don’t have to be perfect in every way. But if you just got a compliment from a teacher or coach, or had your artwork selected for display, go ahead and feel some pride about that.
- Remember that everyone makes mistakes. You don’t need to criticize yourself all the time. It’s more important to learn and grow from your mistakes, than to perseverate about having made them in the first place.
- Stop putting yourself down. Every single person has both strengths and weaknesses. Literally nobody is perfect. You will never be perfect. Stop striving to be perfect. Just strive to continue being the good person that you already are, and to continue growing as an individual.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Perhaps you could try a new activity or club, or maybe even something adventurous. Take a class you might not typically take, like a new elective. Learn a new language.
- Nothing makes a person feel better than helping others.
- Take care of yourself with proper diet, exercise, and sleep.
- Accept yourself just as you are, rather than always seeking to change something about yourself to become more likable. You deserve to be loved just the way you are.
- Stop the negative self-talk. Replace it with a new and improved story about yourself and how amazingly awesome you are.
- If all else fails, seek outside help. A skilled therapist can help you regain your confidence and self-esteem.