Self-esteem is something we build within ourselves, much of our feelings of self-worth is determined by our significant personal relationships. Others cannot give you a feeling of adequacy and confidence, but their acceptance, respect, and validation of you can reaffirm and strengthen your own positive attitude and feelings about yourself. Self-love becomes narcissistic in isolation from others. Let’s consider four pathways to self-esteem that involve relationships with others.
Close friends and support
Close Friends and Support
Having close friends and support is very important when trying to improve your self-esteem. When surveys of human values have been done, many people rank close friends near the top, along with career, a happy family life, and health. Each of us needs a support system of at least two or three close friends in addition to our immediate family. A close friend is someone you can deeply trust and confide in. It is someone who comfortably accepts you as you are in all your moods, behaviors, and roles. And it is someone who will stand by you no matter what is happening in your life. A close friend allows you the opportunity to share your feelings and perceptions about your life outside your immediate family. Such a person can help bring out aspects of your personality that might not be expressed with your spouse, children, or parents. At least two or three close friends of this sort, whom you can confide in on a regular basis, are an essential part of an adequate support system. Such friends can help provide continuity in your life through times of great transition such as moving away from home, divorce, death of a family member, and so on.
Cultivating assertiveness is critical to self-esteem. If you’re unable to clearly get across to others what you want or do not want, you will end up feeling frustrated, helpless and powerless. If you do nothing else, the practice of assertive behavior in and of itself can increase your feeling of self-respect. Honoring your own needs with other people in an assertive manner also increases their respect for you, and quickly overcomes any tendency on their part to take advantage of you.