Has your marriage destroyed your self-confidence and self-image? Here are a few tips on rebuilding your confidence while keeping your relationship or marriage intact.
Here’s what one reader – a doctor – says about her marriage, on How to Gain Confidence and Create Healthy Relationships:
“I don’t feel he respects what I do and I have lost my confidence and sense of self. I had always wanted a family, but I no longer want one. We live in a beautiful home in a beautiful place but I resent having to work in a job I don’t like in order to basically support his dream, because I would have never chosen such an expensive place to live I would have never placed myself in this indentured servitude financial state. I am the type of person who would rather work 3/4 time and enjoy my free time, and he thinks I am lazy for it. He works all the time and often comes home late. We have tried counseling, but it is so expensive, and we felt like we were getting nowhere, and quit. He keeps saying things like “well, we tried our best” but I feel I have done 95% of the trying and he has done 5% – I don’t want a divorce but I also don’t want to be the only one trying anymore and don’t want to continue feeling like this. Any advice would be helpful.”
Is it possible to rebuild your self-confidence and self-image, and stay married to a man who isn’t prioritizing you or his relationship with you? Maybe.
How to Regain Your Self-Confidence
These tips won’t resonate with all women in all situations, but I think they’re what the reader above needs to hear. This is what I need to tell her, anyway!
Prioritize like a man
Many women naturally gravitate towards creating and nurturing relationships; men don’t prioritize their relationships the same way. I think women need to take a page from the men’s books, and put their relationships second or even third on their list of life goals and achievements.
This is an effective way to find yourself after getting lost in love.
If your marriage is your number one priority, then go for it! Do everything you can to build a happy, healthy relationship. But if your marriage is your first priority, then you can’t complain about how much work and sacrifice goes into it. No matter what your priorities are in life, they take time, energy, and sacrifice.
What should your number one priority be?
Despite the ads I have to put on my blog so I can earn money money so I can respond to readers’ questions, I do not believe your number one priority should be to captivate a man! Unless, of course, you want your whole life to revolve around being married.
Your number one priority is something only you can decide. I believe our first priority should be taking care of ourselves (self-care). If we aren’t happy and healthy, then we will never be able to build healthy, happy relationships and lives.
If your number one priority is, for example, living a full life and working ¾ of the time, then DO IT. Your husband has his priorities; you have yours. You do not need to have matching priorities – you need to learn how to set your own priorities. His opinion matters, but it should not affect your self-confidence or self-image. I know this is easier said than done, especially if you feel insecure in your relationship.
We all need to build our self-confidence and self-image on things that are internal, that are ours, and that can’t be changed by the comments or behaviours of the men in our lives. Christians believe the source of all confidence and esteem is God, because He is unshakeable and constant in His love for us.
What are you prioritizing in your life, and is it building your self-confidence and self-esteem? If you want to stay married, you need to learn how to balance your relationship with your independence.
Figure out what you want out of your life
Where do you want to be in a year, five years, 10 years?
In a year I want to be graduating with my MSW and starting a practicum placement overseas somewhere. I want to still be married, and I want my husband to support my decision to leave for three or four months. And I want our dog to be taken care of while I’m gone! That’s a tall order for my husband, which is why I’m starting to talk about it, visualize what it might look like, and plan now. It takes time to create the life you want.
What do you want out of your life? Start thinking about ways to rebuild your self-confidence and self-image.
Stop relying on your partner to increase your self-confidence
I love when my husband tells me I’m smart, beautiful, organized, or amazing. It makes me feel SO good! But I can’t let my self-confidence and self-image come from him. I have to do things that make me feel good about myself – strong, courageous, smart, healthy, happy.
When was the last time you felt GREAT about yourself, outside of your relationship or marriage? Do that thing again, and again, and again.
What do you think – can you regain your confidence and esteem and stay in your current relationship? I welcome your thoughts below, but I can’t offer advice. You may find it helpful to share your experience, though. Writing often brings clarity and insight!
For more tips on rebuilding your self-confidence, read How to Be Happy Even in an Unhealthy Relationship.