Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
All humans naturally seek connections to other human beings. This is reflected in our needs to be liked, loved, desired, and valued. Ultimately, we at one time or another would expect to aspire to and, hopefully, achieve all four.
But is this realistic or possible in a world where we all are different people with different tastes, experiences, personalities, hang-ups, disorders, neuroses, levels of compassion, likes and dislikes, beliefs, opinions, goals, and changing needs?
How Self-Esteem Impacts Relational Health
While we are seeking and building relationships in our lives, we are also building self-esteem, our personal confidence and belief in our own personal worth and abilities to achieve joy and to keep ourselves safe. Our need for self-esteem drives our self-worth and self-respect and self-reliance and sets the stage for us to create and achieve goals that bring us love and joy, find meaning in our lives, and help us adapt to adversity and change.
Our self-esteem fuels everything we do and directs how we perceive events and people and how we respond to positive and negative emotions. If our self-esteem is healthy (which should be our goal), we are clear on our self-worth. This means we rely on ourselves and our emotions confidently for validation of our personal value because we know what we are capable of accomplishing, know we are worthy of joy, and set goals to bring us joy that we know we can achieve. We work hard to turn painful experiences into knowledge we know we can comfortably rely on in the future. We are also resilient and bounce back quickly from misfortunes we face and mistakes we make. When we do not achieve our goals or are unhappy or in pain, we do not hunker down in shame and rely on others to soothe our disappointments. Rather we take action and thought correct or course correct or get the advice or assistance to achieve our goals that, in short, make us feel good about ourselves, safer, wiser, stronger. We do not take no for an answer when it comes to achieving our goals which sustain our joy, success, and our emotional, physical, and relational health.
So the role of other people is not to merely validate us and soothe our pain we do not think we can reliably handle independently. Their role is to complement us and to mutually share our joy, vulnerabilities, and personal power with us. We are self-sufficient, however, we comfortably seek connection or help from others when we want or need to. It is the honest but vulnerable connection with others whose truth aligns with ours that attracts and ignites us! We choose to love or be with others because their self-esteem, their truths, align with ours, we are committed in trust, and we have each other’s best interests at heart.
Alignment of Our Truths Attracts Us
Alignment of truth including common values, goals, and levels of integrity is what makes a person desirable, likable, lovable and valued to a person with high self-esteem. And our self-esteem, reliant on our self-worth and personal integrity, is what makes us lovable to ourselves. Healthy self–esteem not only makes being liked, loved, valued and desired possible by ourselves and others, it also helps to sustain our emotional, physical, and relational health and resilience.
People with high self-esteem are clear on their lovability and the level of respect and honor they deserve and expect in any relationship, be it personal, family, or work. People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, cannot readily look internally for resilence and validation of their personal worth and typically are pain addicted due to abuse or trauma or possibly even suffering from something worse. They may believe human connectedness relates to pain and suffering including physical and emotional abuse and betrayal and go so far as to sabotage healthy relationships they they feel unworthy of and unloved it.
Interestingly enough, victims of abuse and the abusers themselves both use other people to soothe and ease their chronic pain. The main difference is that the narcissists and psychopaths do it offensively (knowingly with intent to harm and no remorse) and abuse victims do it innocently (unknowingly with no intent to harm). So being in a relationship with an abuser is not a relationship of alignment of truths, it is an alignment of short term alleviation of pains and gratification of needs. It is a relationship between a predator and its prey, a parasite and its host where one benefits at the other’s expense.
“Alignment of truth including common values, goals, and levels of integrity is what makes a person desirable, likable, lovable and valued to a person with high self-esteem. And our self-esteem, reliant on our self-worth and personal integrity, is what makes us lovable to ourselves. Healthy self–esteem not only makes being liked, loved, valued and desired possible, it also helps to sustain our emotional health.”
Relying on other people to define your self-worth or to soothe your internal pain is not self-esteem, is not mutually beneficial, and will lead to emotional fatigue, chronic pain, sadness, and depression. It also stunts your emotional growth and keeps you vulnerable to the narcissists and psychopaths, the emotional vampires who need your power and energy to survive.
The point here, folks, is that in terms of being liked, being loved, being desired, and being valued, IT IS NEVER ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON defining your acceptability and your worth. It is about you developing your own self-esteem, your own truth, gauging it’s worth accurately, upholding and honoring that truth and finding others whose truth aligns with yours and together, connected in trust, journey through life together fueled by the love and belonging that connects you.