You could read a whole stack of self-help books to improve your relationship, but feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. Because if you don’t get to the root of your unhappiness, you may end up putting a bandaid over what really needs attention.
Often under the struggle or unhappiness is a lack of self-love or low self-worth. The good news is once you identify the root of your relationship unhappiness, you can begin tending to the root and uprooting patterns.
So how do you know if low self-worth is impacting your relationships?
6 Ways Low Self-Worth Shows Up in Relationships
Before I share what I’ve learned from working with individuals and couples, let’s first agree on a definition of self-worth. I define self-worth as knowing your value and worth are innate, and not based on anything outside of you.
But in our achievement-focused culture and in most families, worth is usually determined by what you show, do, or prove to others. So if you show up in your relationships either feeling like you aren’t good enough to receive love or feeling like you need to prove your worth, it can really interfere with your happiness and relationship satisfaction. So let’s get to the bottom of what needs more love and care from you.
I’ve identified at least 6 ways that low self-worth shows up in relationships. When it comes to relationships and doing your own inner work, some of the following signs may also indicate other kinds of self-love that need your attention, from trusting to respecting yourself.
Which of the following signs do you most relate to?
- Settling: You settle and give up what you really need in your relationships. For instance, you feel like you need to be in relationships with people who value growth as much as you do but you don’t seek out these relationships.
- Over-giving: You give more than you receive. And you may even give more in hope that you will receive, but the only thing you receive is more complaints and criticisms.
- Blocking Love: You aren’t dating or reaching out to others, because you feel like you are broken, flawed, or not attractive enough. Instead, you protect yourself from rejection, only to feel more lonely.
- Over-explaining: When making a request or asking for what you need, you find yourself explaining why you need what you are asking for. Or you waste your energy trying to explain again and again why you need something other than what you are receiving.
- Abandoning Yourself: You stay quiet, so you don’t upset others. You question whether or not what you need matters or you don’t consider what you need at all.
- Absorbing Others’ Expectations: You try meeting others’ expectations, but feel like you are striving for something you can never fully reach. But you don’t dare question the messages you’ve received from others on what they think it means to be worthy and enough in relationships.
We are each at a different spot in our enoughness journey. And the goal isn’t to rid ourselves of all patterns, so we never have to feel fear or unworthiness again. It’s about loving yourself enough to know when you are stuck in one of these patterns. And then loving yourself enough to go for what you desire, including what support you need along the way.
The Ultimate Truth about Self-Worth
When it comes to recognizing and standing in our own worthiness, the ultimate truth is we don’t need others to validate our worth to know it exists. Because our worth and value just are and always will be. We just need to look for it in a different way.
The path to strengthening your self-worth starts with connecting with yourself. Slowing down enough to know what patterns are emerging, what fear is at the root and opening up to what you need next. Stay tuned as I share how I can support you in this journey!
Which of these low self-worth signs do you most relate to? And which do you desire to shift?
Marci Payne, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri and Women’s Empowerment Coach. She loves helping men and women open their hearts to more love both for themselves and with others. If you are tired of feeling like you need to prove your worth, then consider individual counseling attending a self-love workshop, or joining my self-worth group. To get on the waitlist for “Embody Your Worth”, my women’s group coaching program, click here.