By Marcus Osborne
If there’s one thing that I’m constantly reminding people of when they tap me on the shoulder seeking advice about their either their particular situation or some general question, it’s this: people asking for advice have usually already made up their minds about their issue.
So why are they asking for advice? Because they want someone to either validate what they’ve already decided or they want to be talked out of what they’ve already decided.
I most often try to approach these situations from the position of being “the reminder.” So as I begin this column, I do so with the knowledge that most people reading it will slap their palms against their heads and go, “Duh! I knew that!”
Sometimes a reminder is needed. You need this reminder: If you don’t admire yourself, you can’t expect your partner to do it for you.
Your guy can’t be held accountable for your self-esteem. It’s just not fair to him. And he certainly isn’t equipped to be your therapist. Which isn’t to say that he can’t or shouldn’t be there for you when you’re feeling a little insecure or having the random dark day. He absolutely should be there. You want your partner to periodically be your rock and vice versa.
But if you’re a person who’s self-esteem and/or self-confidence is inextricably tied to things like the way you look or what other people think of you (including your partner) there are issues that need to be dealt with by a professional. In a perfect world, we’d all feel great about who we are and how we look before we get involved in a relationship. And we all have our insecurities, but if the person who is always down on themselves, always picking yourself apart, always telling your guy --- the guy who has decided to commit himself to a serious relationship with you—how ugly you are, how fat you are, how awful everything is going to be, how unbelievable it is that he would want you, you don’t have to worry about him being turned off by you because you’re doing all the heavy lifting for him. And he’s not going to want to have to argue about how attractive you are to him.
YOU: “I look so disgusting!”
HIM: “I think you look amazing.”
YOU: “That’s so untrue. I know you’re just saying that.”
HIM: “No, I’m not. That’s the way I feel.”
YOU: “You don’t have to lie to me. I can look in the mirror and see what I look like.”
It’s a well-worn cliché that men and women alike find a lack of self-confidence one of their top turn-offs. Guys tend to mask those insecurities by over compensating with false bravado and arrogance. Women on the other hand, are far more overt and demonstrative. I’d submit that as annoying as that arrogant guy can be to most people, that person who sleeps under their very own dark cloud is a walking, talking cold shower for everyone.
If you’re that person (and you all know who you are) here’s a reminder. Find a way to love yourself. Easier said than done I know, but it can be done. If you’ve had any serious conversations that sound remotely like the one above, it’s likely time to contact a professional to help you (and maybe your partner) work through this because there’s a high probability that your relationship can’t withstand that strain of one of you battling chronically low self-esteem.
Find a mirror, look at the reflection and learn to love who and what you see….and watch how many people flock to you once you do.