amy@amymadson.org

Helping your Loved One with Self-Esteem

“How can I make my child or significant other believe he or she is beautiful, wonderful, and talented?” Ask many parents and spouses with whom I work. It can be frustrating, sad, and discouraging when someone you love can’t see his or her own value. No matter how many times you tell them, they can’t take it in or believe it for more than a moment or even at all. You’re committed to being there for your loved one, but you are feeling depleted.

I urge you to stay in the game of helping your loved one if you have the energy to do so and keep yourself healthy. However, I do recommend you assess the ways you are supporting your love one. Here are 5 ideas to help you provide good support:

1.Expand the types of affirmations you give your loved one.

Notice what types of affirmations you give your loved one. For example, if they struggle with accepting their looks, affirm more than their looks. Help them see the whole beautiful and valuable person they are by pointing out what you enjoy about them, having fun with them, and appreciating humor, beauty, and other wonderful aspects of the world we live in.

2. Don’t attach yourself to the outcome.

Don’t provide affirmations of your loved one’s beauty, capability, etc. with the intention of changing their self-perception. Instead, affirm them because it is meaningful to you to tell them how wonderful they are. Again, it is important that these affirmations are sincere and oriented toward the whole person.

3. Practice self-acceptance to the best of your ability.

It is unfair to ask a loved one to increase self-acceptance or self-acceptance if you are also self-critical. Demonstrating self-acceptance is inspiring, facilitates authenticity, and fosters healthy relationships.

4. Help your loved one to connect with the world.

Appreciate beauty together, find things to laugh about, go to concerts, museums, or anywhere you can enjoy time with your loved one where your attention is focused on enjoyment and appreciation of the world.

5. Practice good self-care.

Being in a relationship with a loved one who struggles with self-acceptance can be difficult emotionally. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself by engaging in activities that are revitalizing and by recognizing your own limitations. This will help you continue to be able to be there for your loved one over the long haul.