Love Should Strengthen Self-Esteem, Not Destroy It
The art of loving someone properly does not involve pleasing the ego. It’s a psychic connection that provides encouragement, support, and respect. Wise love is not blind, because both people look at each other maturely and consciously, wanting the other to fly high, not tearing off their wings or reducing their self-esteem.
They say that love is an art that conceals mysteries where the gracious, the erotic, the divine, and the secular are all woven together. You can certainly get carried away by the whole cultural legacy that surrounds the subject and gives you an unrealistic image of love. Because it is not an art based on contemplation, but rather creation, effort, and brave commitment.
“Loving ourselves is necessary to be able to love others.”
We let poetry, film, and literature construct their own image of love for us. Because in this vast ocean, nobody is the captain, and on this inhospitable emotional continent we’re all mere explorers. For example, we know that love sometimes hurts, and even though pain should be a banned from this territory, we experience it over and over again.
Instead of being happy in love, we often let the leaves of dignity fall off one by one. We even allow our self-esteem to fall apart like an old cloak, dull and dingy after so much use. Or rather, abuse. It’s necessary to look at this topic from a wiser, more complete perspective.
Insatiable seekers, hungry for love
Some people want and need to eat apples. They plant a tree and soon, it offers its fruit. The pleasure has no end, and for a few weeks they enjoy the taste of this fruit. For a while, they’re even pleased to be eating without having to work. However, when the next season comes, the beautiful apple tree stops providing them with fruit. It has started to wither away.
The same thing happens with emotional relationships. Some people are insatiable seekers of love, always needing to discover and enjoy it. However, they forget to nourish the roots of this incredible yet delicate bond. They’re destroyers of self-esteem, outlaws of loyalty and brave commitment. They’re emotional wanderers in search of relationships with expiration dates.
They are hungry people who only seek sustenance to fill the void of loneliness. They think love is synonymous with comfort. Above all, they seek tailors who can patch the broken seams of their hearts together with the thread of love. But this isn’t right. Because in the art of love, you don’t take joy in ruthlessly destroying your partner’s self-esteem.
Like Erich Fromm once said, if love were just a feeling or emotion, the promise of everlasting love wouldn’t make any sense, because feelings come and go. Love is first and foremost an act of dignity towards ourselves and our partners.
Instead of seeing it as a way to satisfy your needs, fears, and loneliness, you should see it as a beautiful encounter. And after that unplanned encounter comes commitment, bravery, and genuine promise.
Love nourishes self-esteem
We’ve often been told that happy, mature, conscious couples are able to achieve being two and one at the same time. This is, without a doubt, an ideal that we should all strive to achieve, but how? There’s no magical formula, but there is some wise advice that can serve everybody equally: before being two people united in one bond, you have to be able to be yourself.
You should love yourself without fear or concessions. You should enjoy your own individuality, but without ever falling into the abyss of selfishness. Only then will you be able to protect your self-esteem, and in turn, enhance that of your partner.
Below, we invite you to reflect on some basic strategies that might help you to achieve this.
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
Tips to develop and respect self-esteem in a relationship
Healthy love always begins at with oneself. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be with someone who hated themselves. Imagine what it would be like to be with someone whose only goal is to please you 24 hours a day. Someone who gives you air when you need to breathe. Who wants to bleed for you when you’re hurting.
The delicate layers of a relationship hide the roots of your true self. All of your flaws, emptiness, and insecurities are filtered into this entity, to the point where they can get even bigger.
You have to be able to combine self-love with reciprocal love. One does not go without the other, because being in a relationship means having a heart and being able to breathe. When one side of the heart runs out of strength, the breath of the other half fills it back up. It inflates it with energy, courage, and more love. In turn, that half feels worthy to receive it because it loves itself.
When love is born and created every day in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you have to lose your individuality, nor does it mean you have to renounce yourself in order to honor the other. It means reaffirming each other and allowing each other to be different, while also being one and the same.