The top and bottom of it is, if YOU cannot recognise your self-worth then you will NEVER believe your partner can. How can they see something that to you, just does not exist?
Our self-worth and the way we behave in our relationships is governed by many different factors
Here are just a few examples of where your lack of self-worth and ability to enjoy and appreciate your relationship might come from and how it might show up…
Past relationships that were negative or that ended badly can be one of our strongest reference points and the main reason for putting up barriers so high, it is impossible for ANYONE to get past them. We come away from these relationships with all sorts of learnt ideas on how we should be treated and beliefs on how a relationship is, and what we deserve
For example, we cannot understand how someone cannot cheat and lie because that is what always happens
We create a ‘schema’ in our mind, a list of rules about past relationships and our brain takes all the information we gathered and dumps it into our present relationship
Your current partner might be doing everything right. However, it does not fit with the list of rules you have, it does not look right, and it does not feel right. It does not match your belief or experience of what a relationship is
So, what do we do? We sabotage it!
The ‘Knight in Shining Armour’ fantasy
Whether it be a relationship from childhood, such as maybe the one with your father, or a romantic relationship from adulthood, we often come up with this fantasy of who will come along to ‘save us’ from all our previous hurt
The problem with this is, because it is a fantasy, we set the bar way to high – and NO MAN can ever reach it, because they are not ‘perfect’ like our fantasy told us they would be (no body is)
Even when they show us all the signs of loving and caring for us, are attentive and reliable, we WILL find a way to completely ignore all this and sabotage it all
Testing to the limit
“How can he really love me?”, “He says he does, but he can’t possibly mean it”
WHY?… Because you do not see yourself as someone valuable of such love and respect
You cannot accept love from another until you love yourself
These thoughts and emotions dictate how we behave in our relationship and this ends up with us testing our partners love every chance we get
Yes… you sabotage it and drive him away because he can’t do wrong for doing right
Now you can say “I told you he didn’t love me, I knew he would leave” which you then turn into the evidence you were looking for of “I am not worthy or love-able”
Using other peoples failed relationships as our reference point
The likelihood is that many of you reading this will come from divorced parents. This can possibly affect you in a few ways when it come to your own relationships
A significant relationship like the one between your parents is likely to be one of your refence points as to how relationships work, and how they end
Whether it ended bitterly or amicably, you will still focus in on all the negatives you witnessed or heard about
There is then a chance that you will resist allowing yourself to be in a loving relationship for fear that history repeats itself and you end up hurt and broken just as your parents did
It is common for us to abandon our partners before they can abandon us as, a way of protecting ourselves from the hurt and rejection
We are terrified of feeling joy in case it all blows up in our face
This can go a little deeper…
The age that you are when your parents split can influence on if and how you view your role in the breakdown of that relationship
So, say you are 4 years old and your parents’ divorce, your dad leaves the family home. At 4 years old you are what is called “egocentric” – you can only see the world from your point of view. You do not have the ability to see the bigger picture
Therefore, you will only see yourself as the one to blame for the breakdown of the relationship, as at 4 years old you are the only relevant person in your mind. There is no one else to blame. This thought then becomes locked in your subconscious mind as a core belief that, for example, “your dad left the family because he didn’t love you and it was you that did something wrong”
This is likely to subconsciously manifest as the thought that you are unlovable and that because of this, your partner will always end up leaving you in the end
Seeking out insecurity
When we have been in relationships that damage our self esteem because we were left, lied to cheated on or whatever it was, we go searching for someone that is not going to do that, right?
We naturally gravitate towards those that will treat us the same way. It is what is familiar to us and this makes us feel somewhat secure. It is what we are accustomed to and if we know what to expect we cannot be blindsided
We always seek out what we know no matter how disruptive, damaging, and unhealthy it might be
You may not have experienced any of these things I have just spoken about, but still be having trouble in your relationship because of your low self-esteem and lack of self-worth
What is important here is that you evaluate WHY you do what you do and feel how you feel within your relationship
What are your past experiences?
What are your thoughts and beliefs about yourself?
Do you feel that for one reason or another you are un-derserving of being in a loving relationship?
Has a past relationship (yours or someone else’s) affected your self-worth and trust?
Having a knowledge and an awareness around all of this can help you to change your negative self-talk, negative patterns of thinking and your negative behaviour within the relationship
Recognising that it is not all your fault can allow you to be more compassionate towards yourself
Working on these issues can allow you to lower your barriers, trust that you are worthy of being loved and the most important point of all, assist you in building your self-worth and discovering how to love yourself