How can you help partner get their needs met and still take care of yourself? With Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com and Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com.
Cathy: We love your comments and questions. Thank you so much. Here’s one from one of our viewers. Question; if my partner often gets low self-esteem, how can I support them in identifying what they need if they don’t know. Sometimes neither of us know what they need and we feel stuck.
Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from http://ReidAboutSex.com.
Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://TheIntimacyDojo.com.
Reid: What’s your advice?
Cathy: Part of this is an experiment. Being in a relationship is a learning process so we often don’t know. We can read books and go online and find different tips and think, that sounds good but it really comes down to trying different things. You might go to your partner and say, “I have an idea. When I get low self-esteem sometimes I’m really tired. Could you remind me that I need to take a nap? Maybe we could take a nap together.”
Different things can trigger low self-esteem and different things will bolster that. Figuring out some things that might work and trying them and saying, well that’s better than that but it didn’t work great, let’s try some other things. It can actually be a fun way to work together in your relationship. You don’t even just have to do it with your partner. You can ask your friends to participate too.
Reid: Yeah. The first thing I’m going to say is, if you’re the only person who’s trying to help your partner through their self-esteem issues that’s not healthy. This can be difficult but they need to have more resources at their disposal so that you’re not the only one helping them. You can definitely be the one cheering them on with their self-esteem and giving them words of affirmation and bolstering whatever their love languages are so that they feel cared for. Then have them teach their friends and their community members what their love languages are and ask for help.
It’s when we silence ourselves and try to not show what we’re embarrassed about especially around things like low self-esteem and depression and shyness. There is all these things that we’re ashamed of. When you start sharing what’s going for you, you’ll be amazed at how much your true friends want to help because they want you to win. In you sharing those things with them they’ll usually share with you what’s going on for them which means you’re all more vulnerable, you’re more connected and when you feel less alone that way and you’re all cheering each other on, that can actually boost self-esteem. Now you’re a part of a collective that’s helping each other.
Cathy: One other thing. I’ve suffered from low esteem a lot especially in the past. It’s really easy when you are in that space to look for someone else to fix things. It can be really empowering and it can actually raise your self-esteem to realize there are specific things you can do and try and test out. It’s important if you’re in a relationship not to put it all on your partner. Our conventional wisdom is a lot of times, if you love me you’d fix it. It’s not really their job to fix low esteem.
It also really helpful to remember that different times and different situations different things are going to work to help you feel soothed. There is times I need a nap by myself and there is times I need someone to give me a big hug and remind me of a couple of things I did well.
Reid: You also if you have a nerdy or a geeky streak you may want to do some research on the distinctions between low esteem, insecurity, things around depression and what not so that you can start to map out what is going on for you. Some of us we think one thing is happening when in reality it may be something else and we just mislabel things. Sometimes when you start to play detective with yourself you can start to have aha moments and a little bit more self-knowledge about actually what’s going on for you and there may already be resources out there.
Cathy: Yeah. Your.. Reid’s in http://ReidAboutSex.com/store the jealousy program; Eight-Armed Octopus of Jealousy talks a lot about insecurities and that’s a really good program to look deeper into what emotions are [Inaudible 00:04:13].
Reid: There is a difference between jealousy and envy and if you don’t know that and you collapse the two you’re like, once you start untangling things and seeing what they are for what’s actually happening, you have more choice and can pick better resources for yourself.
It’s a lot about self-knowledge and if you can get excited about learning, if you can stop beating yourself up because of course you don’t know how to handle your self-esteem. You didn’t learn how to handle your self-esteem from your parents most of us. Forgiving yourself and then getting excited that there are changes and growth that you can make and enrolling your community and your friends and your loved ones can help a lot.
Cathy: Yeah. Great question. Thanks so much for asking. We hope this helps.
Reid: You’re amazing for asking that question. You should consider your self-esteem raised and feel good about yourself and your partners. Bye.
More articles on improving your communication and relationship skills: