Do you struggle with confidence in your relationship? Is it hard to accept compliments from a loved one? If you’re sitting there, shaking your head yes, then know you’re not alone.
Struggles with confidence in relationships aren’t uncommon. In fact, it’s one of the main things I work on with clients; however, you can overcome these struggles.
In this post, I will help you to do just that. Below you’ll find out how self-confidence and success in relationships go hand-in-hand, how to overcome negative self-talk, and my 5 must-know tips to boost your self-esteem.
Why is confidence important in relationships?
Many of us associate the word confidence with how we see ourselves. We tie it to our physical body and how we feel when we look in the mirror.
While this is a part of confidence, yes, it’s not the end-all-be-all of it.
Confidence relates to every other part of ourselves, which includes:
- Emotional self
- Relational self
- Physical self
- Sexual self
- Recreational self
- Career self
As you can see, confidence affects nearly every area in your life, so it’s super important to look at what you’re going to do about it and then hone in on the areas that it impacts the most.
Two Key Areas That Impact Confidence and Relationships
Two main areas that are most impacted by low confidence are:
- How you see yourself and your self-image
- How your partner sees you and how that affects your relationship
Let’s go over that first are–How you see yourself and how this affects you.
I want you to ask yourself: “Am I confident?”
Go ahead, right now, at this moment, and ask yourself this question.
You may automatically think, “I’m not confident at all,” or “Eh, in some areas of my life, I have confidence.”
But you’re looking at the confidence in yourself as it relates to how other people see you. You need to look at how confident you are when you look at yourself on a normal day.
Our confidence fluctuates throughout the day. It goes up and down, depending on what’s happening in our lives. It’s normal to feel confident one time of the day and then feel less so at another time.
Give yourself permission to be real and know these fluctuations are okay. If you don’t, you’re going to keep beating yourself up about not feeling confident enough or not being worthy enough, which leads to a spiral of negative self-talk.
Now that you know it’s completely okay for your confidence to go up and down, let’s take a look at your self-talk.
Self-talk is the chatter in your head that no one else can hear.
Here are some examples:
- Why would they want to be with me?
- I’m broken.
- I always screw things up.
- I hurt everyone around me.
These are just a few that I hear from clients every day, and the only truth they carry is they will deflate your confidence, guaranteed. The more you engage with this talk, the bigger your belief gets, until you feel more depressed, stuck, and anxious.
It would take less time to stop, reframe the talk, and change it to be positive than to pretend to ignore it.
Since it’s this act of stuffing and stacking the thoughts that equate to how we see ourselves and this image bleeds over to negatively affect our relationships.
We are responsible for bringing our 50% to the relationship. So, if you’re not dealing with this stuff, you’re not bringing that to your relationship.
If you don’t deal with it, your partner is in a place where they constantly have to validate you and reassure you that they aren’t going anywhere.
The second area to review is how your partner sees you.
This absolutely affects your confidence.
I want you to think for a minute on this question:
- Have past partners told you how amazing you are?
- What was your gut reaction?
If you quickly dismissed it because you felt embarrassed, you struggled to accept the compliment, or minimized it, then you’ve got some work to do.
The next time this happens, I want you to say “Thank you” and leave it at that.
It won’t make those around you feel uncomfortable. They’re telling you how wonderful you are, and it’s your responsibility to accept it.
This confidence in your relationship is crucial to its success.
When one partner is less confident than the other, the other partner is trying to lift the other up constantly.
It becomes unhealthy when one partner feels it’s their steady job to support and validate the other person, especially since they need the same support but aren’t getting it back.
This can become a codependent relationship where one partner relies on the other partner to validate them, yet that partner still isn’t realizing it. In time, it affects your emotional and physical intimacy with your partner.
You can’t change your partner, but you can change you. When you make these changes, you can see changes in your relationship.
How To Gain Self-Confidence In Relationships?
Now that we know the two key areas that impact confidence and their importance, let’s go over three questions that can boost your confidence.
- What are the barriers getting in the way of me feeling confident? Everyone’s barriers look different, but here are a few examples:
- Your mindset is keeping you stuck.
- You’re struggling with comparison.
- You’re struggling with imposter syndrome. This is the idea that you’re not as good as you are, and people will find you out.
- You’re comparing other relationships to yours. Identify your barriers so you can figure out what’s getting in the way before you can fix it.
- What am I telling myself about myself? Some examples I often hear:
- Why would they love me?
- I’m not good enough, so why are they with me?
- I don’t look different than when we first met, so why would they stay with me. Identify and write out the narrative you’re telling yourself. Writing these out forces you to connect with them on another level. It’s the best chance to work through them.
- Am I willing to work on my confidence? You might be thinking, “Of course I am. Why would I be here if I wasn’t?” Just because you’re reading this doesn’t mean you’ll apply it. In this moment, if you don’t take action, you won’t apply what you’re learning.
How To Build Confidence In Relationships – My 5 Favorite Tips
Now that you answered the hard questions, I want to give you my favorite 5 tips to improve your confidence. They are proven, and they work, so go out and take action.
- Be Accountable for Yourself Tell your friends and family you need their help. Give them permission to call you out on your negative behavior. To change a behavior, we have to be aware of it first.
- Make a list of 50 positive things about you This is an assignment I love. I know you’re probably thinking, “Whoa, there’s no way I can think up 50 positive things about myself.” I want to tell you right now, you’re wrong! I know you can find at least 50 positive things about yourself. If you’re struggling, you can break it up. You come up with 25 and have people you love come up with the other 25. Ask a bunch of people, don’t just rely on one person for those other 25. This forces you to speak up and ask for positives. You may worry they’ll think you’re egotistical, but they won’t, I promise you. They know you and want to help.
- Hold Your Head Up High This may not be as simple as it sounds, so hold your head up high and carry yourself with confidence. This includes wearing clothes that make you feel good, that fit you right, and are comfortable. If you don’t wear clothes that make you feel good, this will hamper your confidence.
- When Someone Complements You, Say Thank You The next time someone compliments you, I want you to accept it with a “Thank you.” That’s it! Don’t feel you need to dismiss it with a nervous laugh or instantly compliment them back. Just fully accept it and let it be. For those of you that need an extra push, think of a compliment as a gift. When you don’t accept the compliment, you’re rejecting a gift. This is rude to do, so accept their compliment.
- Work on your awareness Be aware of how confidence shows up in all of these areas. Notice how it shows up in your emotional self, relational self, physical self, sexual self, recreational self, and career self. This tip has to be the one you’re intentional about and give yourself flexibility so that confidence can come out in all these different areas. Now that you know how confidence affects you and how your partner sees you, right down to the 3 key questions to ask yourself to improve your confidence, and 5 tips to kick-start change, you’re ready to go out and put these into action.
A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.