My Girlfriend Has Low Self Esteem
Dating someone with low self-esteem can be challenging, or even heartbreaking. Loving someone who appears not to love herself can be disheartening, and it can be almost impossible to break through the wall of self deprecation. How do you deal with a relationship with someone who has low self-esteem?
Samuel from Aliceville, AL writes:
“My girlfriend has really low self-esteem. She is constantly apologizing for things and going out of her way to try to impress me and other people. I feel like she really doesn’t respect herself, and she is totally under confident. It just kills me that I can’t do anything about it, and frankly I find it kind of annoying. I don’t mean to be inconsiderate about it either, but it’s like there’s nothing I can do about it, and I just don’t get why she doesn’t like herself. I love her, but it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t love herself. Why is she like this, and how do I deal with it?”
There are so many reasons someone can develop low self-esteem. She may have had an uncaring home environment (or have one currently), or she may not feel like she fits in with others. It’s also possible that it’s the result of a relationship which went badly in her past and left her scarred. Or perhaps she simply has overly high standards for herself and others and cannot meet her own demands. Oftentimes poor self-esteem is the result of taking good qualities (like high standards) to bad extremes. It typically represents an imbalance resulting from good traits which are no longer within healthy limits. Don’t forget that physiological factors can play into emotions as well—chemical imbalances which create depression may foster poor self-esteem.
I think it is an oversimplification for you to think that your girlfriend does not love herself or respect herself, simply because she has these challenges. Most of us are unhappy with some aspect of ourselves. Some people feel that unhappiness more acutely than others at some point of their lives for one reason or another. Low self-esteem and depression are complex issues.
Will she get better? Maybe or maybe not. You can do your part to try and help her by letting her know how you feel about the matter. Sometimes what people need most is to see themselves through someone else’s eyes. Your girlfriend is listening to the voice in her head which tells her she isn’t good enough—but if you tell her with conviction how you see her, and all the wonderful qualities you perceive in her, she may see that person for a moment, which may help her to break through that wall and stop listening to the self deprecating voice within.
It’s also important however that you recognize that ultimately you cannot save her—only she can save herself. You can certainly help, but you should not blame yourself either. And most of all, you must be patient and learn to respect not only your girlfriend but also the difficulties which she must endure. One day she may do the same for you!