OPINION: Don’t rely on someone else for your self-esteem


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Relationships are magical, aren’t they?

You find someone you’re fond of who happens to have the same fondness for you. They tell you how amazing you are, give you gifts, send you cute text messages throughout the day, and just make you pretty darn happy in general. 

As someone who’s happily in a relationship, I highly recommend finding that human being who makes you smile. 

But there are caveats that come with a relationship. There’s a flaw in the system that everyone should be wary of; relationships can have major negative effects on your confidence and self-esteem. 

I know what you may be thinking — that doesn’t make sense. After all, finding someone who thinks you’re the most amazing person on the planet would surely fill anyone with confidence. 

That can definitely be true, but hear me out. 

As someone who’s struggled with self-confidence pretty much my entire life, I know that leaning on someone else for your confidence is a short-term solution. In the end, the only confidence that stays with you is the kind you find on your own. 

People come and go. It’s sad to think about, but it’s true. Sometimes, people don’t stay in your life forever. And when that source of affirmation leaves, more often than not, so does the confidence that person gave you. 

You can’t base your confidence solely on another person when relationships with people can be so unpredictable. 

With that being said, let’s go back to the relationship talk. Let’s put this scenario in terms of significant others. See, this is when it gets tricky.

On one hand, your significant other is supposed to make you feel loved and admired. They’re supposed to help boost your confidence whenever you’re beating yourself up. And it’s your obligation to do the same for them. That’s common knowledge.

But, it’s just as important to not completely rely on that. What happens when rejection is thrown into the mix?

A Stanford study that surveyed 891 participants split people into two groups: one group believed that their personality was set and unchangeable and another group believed in the ability to grow and develop. 

When faced with rejection, many of the people in the first group felt something was “wrong” with them and they could never change that flaw. Researchers said those people looked at relationships as “information about the self,” and when they lost that source of reassurance, they lost themselves along the way.

See, if you’re in the first group and use your relationship as a “source of information” about yourself, facing rejection from that person makes it easy to accept the idea that you’re not “good enough.” But if you’re in the second group and believe in the ability to develop and grow, it’s easy to restore your confidence. 

It’s important to take time to be single and work on yourself. Find hobbies that make you happy. Find activities that you’re confident doing. Slowly but surely, you’ll build your confidence up. If you find the confidence you need in yourself, no one can tear that down.

But, every now and then, the perfect relationship lasts. You find that person who you’ll spend the rest of your life with. Is it healthy to have that person be the source of your confidence?

Still, the answer is no. 

Even when a relationship lasts, it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows throughout your journey together. Invariably, there will be arguments and words thrown around that probably shouldn’t have been used. 

It’s important to remember that you are amazing, wonderful, and beautiful — even in those moments. No one should have the power to make you feel otherwise.

So, I challenge you all to examine yourself. Where do you find your confidence? If someone walked out of your life, would your confidence walk out too?

If your answer is “yes,” I recommend you take time for yourself. I recommend you find things you love about yourself. It may feel against your nature to do so, but trust me — in the end, it’ll be for the best.

Confidence you built on your own can never be taken away from you.