self confidence in relationships

Self Confidence in Relationships: How to Consciously Build It

Having self confidence in relationships – romantic and platonic – calls on us to know our worth and feel comfortable setting and honoring boundaries. Self confidence, and its close companion self trust, play important roles in how we interact with the world around us, with our partners and loved ones, and especially with ourselves. 

When we have a clear understanding of our own level of self confidence – a conscious awareness of our strengths, areas of improvement, and overall self-assuredness – we can accurately assess our capacity to believe in ourselves and our abilities. But, oftentimes, we aren’t fully aware of our own self confidence in relationships, or lack thereof.

Stong self confidence in relationships is crucial to maintaining healthy and fulfilling connections. Particularly when it comes to intimate relationships, self confidence influences how we perceive ourselves, how we interact with our partner, and the overall satisfaction we derive from the relationship. 

Through self-awareness, we can overcome deeply ingrained beliefs or self-perceptions that impact our confidence levels. 

When we experience patterns of neediness, jealousy, and other emotional frustrations in dating and relationships, it may be time for self-reflection on how your level of self confidence is showing up (and possibly causing some hurt).

How low self confidence shows up in relationships

Low self confidence in relationships manifests in various ways, affecting both individuals themselves and the dynamics between the partners. A partner with self confidence issues feels internally insecure. That often shows up with being critical of themselves (and verbalizing it often). They may also, in contrast, appear clingy, distrustful, and exhibit fearful behaviors. Even more problematic is when both partners have low self confidence in a relationship. 

If you want to see how low self confidence shows up in relationships, take a few minutes to reflect on your and your partner’s (or past partner’s) self confidence in relationships by asking yourself questions. Here are some to consider.

Ask yourself, “Do I have the courage to be my authentic self?” Does / did my partner? Do either or both of you look for evidence to prove you’re not good, worthy, enough or the like? If either of us looks for the negative, we will of course find it. But do you look for the good too?

Then ask, “Do I or my partner seek excessive reassurance and validation from one another?” Are there behaviors in the relationship that exhibit jealousy, possessiveness, clinginess, or fear of being abandoned or rejected? 

Low self confidence in relationships may show up as us overly relying on our partner for our sense of self-worth and happiness. We may feel incomplete or inadequate without constant connection, validation and attention. When in a relationship, we may not be comfortable or happy doing things on our own. This dependency can create an unhealthy dynamic, where the individual’s well-being hinges on the presence and approval of their partner.

“Do I find myself or my partner constantly perceiving mistakes or short-comings in the relationship and then blaming myself for them, even when it seems unfounded?” This self-deprecating behavior, reflective of low self confidence in relationships, can strain the partnership and create a negative atmosphere.

“Do either of us overly seek approval from our partner when needing to make a decision?”

“Do I or my partner go to great lengths to please one another, compromising our own needs and boundaries?” This significant sign of low self confidence in relationships results in unhealthy power dynamics and a lack of assertiveness in the relationship.

Low self confidence can lead to an intense fear of rejection or abandonment. Another question we can ask ourselves is, “Am I overly cautious and hesitant to express my opinions, needs, or desires, fearing that doing so will result in the loss of the relationship?” This fear can inhibit open and honest communication, leading to misunderstandings and unmet needs. We can then ask, “Does my partner seem to equally share their opinions, needs, and desires?” If not, they may be fearful of rejection and abandonment.

“Am I or my partner uncomfortable with being vulnerable?” Trust and vulnerability go hand-in-hand. While with low self confidence in relationships, jealousy and insecurity go hand in hand. It can make it challenging to trust others, including our partner. We may doubt our partner’s fidelity, sincerity, or intentions, even without concrete evidence. Again, you can ask yourself, “Do either of us avoid being vulnerable and open in our relationship?” This lack of trust – in self or your partner – offers another significant sign of compromised self confidence in relationships that hinders growth and intimacy.

How to build self confidence in relationships

Building self confidence in relationships happens in a gradual process that requires self-reflection, intentional effort, and a supportive partner. At the core of low self confidence is a void where self love and self trust need to be. That void often stems from not knowing how to love ourselves and not believing we can trust ourselves. 

Loving yourself not only paves the way for authentic love but also fosters happiness, inner peace, fulfillment, and ultimately, good health—a foundation that enriches all relationships and life experiences.

Understanding how to love yourself offers you a fundamental and multifaceted basis for genuine love. It holds equal importance, if not more, than knowing how to love someone else. Although the idea of self-love may seem complex, the act of loving yourself requires minimal effort. Our misconceptions about love, combined with a societal conditioning that prioritizes others over ourselves, can make self-love intricate and challenging. While true love motivates us to care for others, neglecting our own needs in the process can harm the very relationships we seek to establish and maintain.

Similarly, when we lack the 5 essential elements of self trust, we will again struggle to maintain a strong sense of self confidence. Trust of self sets the foundation for everything that happens in life and in relationships. Without it we will never be able to rest in the security most people seek in intimate connections. 

Loving yourself and trusting yourself innately breed, grow, and sustain self confidence, and that leads to improved relationship dynamics. It’s a process that takes time and effort. 

Here are some strategies we can take to build your self confidence in relationships:

1. Nix the negative self-talk: What we say to ourselves and about ourselves matters. Become aware of negative self-talk and challenge it with more positive and realistic thoughts. We can practice self-compassion, remembering our worth and positive qualities. Positive visualizations can be especially helpful.

2. Remember self-care: By prioritizing self-care activities that promote our well-being, including physical exercise, healthy eating, getting enough rest, and engaging in activities we enjoy, it will be easier to resist losing yourself in your partner’s identity. When we have low self confidence in relationships, it’s too easy to put the needs of our partner above our own – at our own expense.

3. Set and maintain boundaries: Low self confidence in relationships can make personal boundary setting challenging because we aim to please. Yet it’s crucial to establish and communicate our personal boundaries in relationships by being clear about our needs, values, and limits – and expressing them. This involves reciprocation; when our partner expresses their needs, values, and limits, it’s important to respect their boundaries without taking it personally.

4. Celebrate our personal accomplishments: Bringing good energy into our relationships can be a moment by moment thing. Practice acknowledging and celebrating your achievements, both big and small. Reflecting on your strengths and successes and giving yourself credit for your efforts.

5. Practice self-reflection: To improve self confidence in relationships, engaging in self-reflection can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and identify areas for personal growth. Reflect on the specific situations, triggers, or thoughts that contribute to your insecurities within the relationship. Take time to reflect on your feelings and behaviors as well. Consider any patterns or beliefs that contribute to low self confidence. 

6. Seek support: Feelings of low self confidence in relationships can lead to emotional burnout and sabotage. Before we reach that stage, we should reach out to supportive friends and family who can offer encouragement and a listening ear. We may also want to seek programs, therapy, or coaching to help us permanently release unsupportive thoughts and feelings such that we can sustain a much higher level of self confidence in relationships. We can also practice supportive communication and behavior with our partner through active listening, expressing our thoughts and feelings assertively, and seeking to understand each other’s perspective. Effective communication can help build trust and strengthen your confidence in expressing yourself.

How to support your partner in this process

At the core of our desires, we all share a common longing: the need for connection. Connection serves as one of the key purposes of relationships, driving us to seek bonds with family, friends, romantic partners, and to align with our core values. It compels us to embrace shared moments of joy and vulnerability, to provide support, and to trust our loved ones to meet our needs as they do their own. And that’s where so many relationships begin to struggle. 

We often find ourselves looking to another, our partner in particular, to “complete” us, to be our everything. And, it’s important to recognize that for what it really is – an impossible expectation for anyone, especially when we aren’t connecting with and fulfilling our own self. When that connection feels broken or unreciprocated, it hurts. Issues with self confidence in relationships can magnify this pain.

If our partner is experiencing low self confidence, we know the ways it impacts us, them, and the relationship. Yet, while we can’t “fix” the issue for them, we can play a role in their journey to self love. Supporting a partner with low self confidence requires patience, empathy, and understanding. In other words, it requires conscious loving…

Some of the ways we can support our partner and the relationship include active listening, using encouraging words and behaviors, creating a safe and supportive environment, and being present. We must actively listen to our partner and not just wait our turn to talk. We want to allow and encourage them to express their feelings or concerns while we listen attentively without judgment or interruption. This allows them to feel heard and understood. Our undivided attention and presence says to them, “You matter.” 

You can show empathy by acknowledging their emotions and validating their experiences. Your acceptance of them, can say, “You’re ok as you are.” 

Offer genuine and specific compliments to your partner to highlight and celebrate their strengths, achievements, and positive qualities. Be open and approachable, and encourage open communication. Cultivate a relationship built on trust, respect, and acceptance.

Recognize that building self confidence in a relationship takes time and progress may come gradually. We mustn’t pressure our partners to change. Patience and understanding are essential as they work through their insecurities. During moments of self-doubt or insecurity, we can be a stable presence for our partner by offering reassurance and reminding them of their worth and the positive qualities they possess.

Ultimately, low self confidence in relationships undermines the overall satisfaction and fulfillment of both individuals involved. Without genuine consistent (but not constant) self confidence, in both partners, the foundation of the relationship will continue to be rattled. Eventually it may fail and the relationship will end. 

Addressing the issues that affect our self esteem and learning to build self confidence in relationships requires self-reflection, self-care, conscious communication, and the development of self-compassion. Building a positive self-image and seeking support from loved ones or professionals can contribute to developing healthier and more confident relationships. 

Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all. 

You too, are invited…

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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