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Low self-confidence in a relationship

I’ve got a great girlfriend, but I don’t have much confidence in myself and don’t dare to go any further in the relationship. What can I do?


I’m glad you’ve got a girlfriend, and especially glad that she’s so good! Having low self-esteem can be painful and difficult, we really understand that. The foundation for good self-esteem is laid in childhood, and after that it is built upon experiences we have throughout life. In addition to our inborn vulnerability, we may experience some of the following: being overlooked; lack of affirmation that you are good enough as you are; being bullied; not being heard by parents or adults; being ditched by friends, and so on. Experiences like these affect our confidence and self-esteem. First of all, we recommend that you talk to a community nurse, a Christian leader or another adult you trust. Talking to an older person about how you see yourself can really help. Many people believe lies about themselves, leading to low self-confidence, poor self-image and poor self-esteem. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to talk with someone and uncover these lies. It might also be a good idea to talk to your girlfriend about your self-image.

Low self-confidence is about not having confidence in what you can do or who you are. It is connected to self-image and self-esteem. Self-image relates to how you see yourself, or in other words, what kind of a picture you have of yourself. For example, you might have an idea that superheroes are strong and always win. When it comes to the image we have of ourselves, we may see lots of bad things. Self-esteem is the sum of the feelings we have about ourselves.

When you think about who you are, or about your personality, what kind of feelings come up? Are they painful or uncomfortable feelings? Do you feel insecure when you meet others?

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You write that you have low self-confidence and that you don’t want to go further in the relationship. You can talk about this uncertainty, it won’t harm to do this and will most likely help you. It may be difficult and uncomfortable to bring it up, but we encourage you to talk about it with a person you trust. This might help you to have more self-confidence in the long run. Although the foundation for self-image is laid when you are young, you can still change it now.

We all need to take responsibility for our own self-image. A relationship should be between two people who are secure in themselves, so that they don’t lean too heavily on each other. If you have a poor self-image, you will continually need encouragement and morale-boosting in order to feel good enough, and you will feel very vulnerable if you don’t get it. Your self-image will not get any better simply by your girlfriend giving you lots of compliments, and it would be very tiring for her to have to keep trying to improve your self-image. you yourself have to work on your self-image, and to do this you have to start on the inside.

Start by:

1. being conscious of your own good qualities, resources and skills.

2. speak to yourself positively, recognise your positive attributes and motivate yourself.

You need to change the dialogue you carry on inside yourself: change from being your own most severe critic to encouraging and accepting yourself. In this way you can build up your sense of inner security and become more comfortable with others. You need to take responsibility for building up your own self-image, and it takes practice. However, it will be easier if you get help by talking about it with an adult who is secure in themselves.


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Best wishes

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