Dr. Nicola McCaffrey

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Our Struggle with Believing that we are Enough

“If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.” ~Unknown

When we do not value ourselves and have a poor sense of self-worth the effects on our relationships can be devastating. A lack of self-worth can trap us in bad relationships, sabotage new relationships, and can cause us to feel completely broken when an important relationship come to an end. When we struggle to see our own value and routinely question our self-worth, insecurities can creep in to the ways in which we interact with our partner. Thus the battle against negative self-esteem doesn’t only affect yourself, but it also significantly impacts your romantic relationships.

Don't misunderstand me here it is incredibly common to seek validation from external sources such as our relationships and there is certainly noting wrong with this, we are all human at the end of the day (myself very much included!) But if you are wrapping your entire sense of worth and wellbeing up in the number of Facebook likes or Instagram followers you have then at the very least you are likely to experience some disappointment and at worst you are setting yourself up for failure.

Valuing yourself highly doesn’t guarantee a happy relationship on the other hand, but it does equip you with better skills to identify what you want, what you deserve to have, and the strength to walk away from a relationship if you recognise that it is falling short. People with a high sense of self worth tend to hold the belief that they are worthy of love and belonging, and are less likely to question how someone feels about them. They believe that they are lovable and trust that the right partner will see this. Moreover, healthy personal boundaries and valuing yourself often go hand in hand. Your ability to prioritise your own needs and emotions and not assume responsibility for someone else’s needs and emotions are a struggle if you have a poor sense of self-worth. Partners who are confident in their own innate worthiness act in accordance with their values and are and are much less likely to hold onto a relationship that is no longer working or give up meaningful and important parts of themselves to please their partner.

As Valentines Day approaches and we find ourselves surrounded by messages of self-worth being tied to your relationship status, try to remember that worthiness is in fact an entirely separate entity from your partnership status. Remind yourself that there are no conditions on worthiness. We are not only worthy if we lose weight, get promoted, or wear a certain brand of clothing. We are worthy of love, belonging and happiness, now…as we are.