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Discussion Starter #1
My wife struggles with her self-esteem. Perhaps a little more than most, but I suspect not by much.
At present she is very much dependent on external sources for continual self-esteem and can become seriously unhappy simply by trying on a pair of jeans a size too small for her.

So I thought I'd ask the ladies of internet: What things make you feel good about yourselves?
Especially interested in long-term and resilient effects!
Thanks in advance
 

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Obviously I'm not a woman, but people in general pick up their self esteem by maintaining a good exercise and diet program. Once the results begin to show, you'll get nice looks from strangers and that is a head rush.
 

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My wife is 5'8 130 pounds. She has been asked if she models. She is beautiful inside and out. But she struggles wife self esteem issues as well. I always tell her I wish she could crawl in my head and see how hot and sexy I see her. I will be following this thread to hear some advice also.
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My self-esteem comes from within. I don't have those quirks about myself since fully accepting myself. That has taken some time.

In HS, I had a hard time gaining weight and was thin as a rail. No curves. I consider myself an ugly duckling matured into a beautiful swan. Into my 20s I was still thin and I felt I did not look like a "woman". I was very self-conscious, and had often been questioned if I was anorexic...........never was.....always ate what I wanted and never gained.

Just before turning 30, I had breast augmentation and it's really helped - I like what I look like in the mirror....with or without clothes. My body is more in balance now that I'm in my early 40s, only had one child, and eat healthy. If I could find the energy to exercise and lose my small "muffin top" I'd be very pleased with that. But I'm not overweight by an stretch of the imagination........5' 7", 136 #. Size 6

Once women accept that they are not perfect, none of us are, they will feel better about themselves. I hope this helps. :)
 

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For me it was as simple as putting down the fashion magazines,turning off the "women programs" on the tv and stop trying to look how the media says I should look.

I agree with SW. "Once women accept that they are not perfect,none of us are,they will feel better about themselves."

Such true words.

You might have a zit one day and focus on that and let it ruin your whole day OR you can focus on how pretty your eyes look with a certain color makeup on them or how great your hair looks that day.

FOCUS on your assets...and forget about the rest.
 

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That's pretty much it - when I was in high school I thought I was fat (but not really - 10 extra pounds maybe), had braces, small breasts and awful hair. I had seen those women in my Dad's Playboy and assumed I'd grow up to look like that. I did not! LOL

In my 20s I lost a little "baby" fat and felt svelt but was very jealous of other women's breasts and felt I could never be sexy. It did not help that I married and my ex was an oogler and a breast man. He STARED at other womens' boobs even when I told him it hurt and made me feel inadequate.

I put on weight, lost it, gained it, lost it - no exercise. Then got pregnant and my ex started weighing me and measuring me. I eventually left, still with esteem pretty low but this time it was both inside AND out as he did a number on what I thought about my intelligence as well.

Now after 40 I wear a size 16, am 5'7" and 200lbs. I work out 3x a week and I'm HEALTHLY but chunky (I gain all over evenly - not pear or apple and carry it pretty well). I don't like everything I see in the mirror (but I have boobs now! LOL) but oddly, even though physically I'm not as hot as I was when I was slim and young and insecure, I'm pretty happy with me. There is ALWAYS room for improvement and even the hottest women know that.

I choose to see my fabulous smile (thanks, braces!) and pretty face (no wrinkles yet!) and with a better stylist make the most of everything I have. I could focus on my belly (I don't like the saggy stretch-marked area) or my thighs but MOSTLY I'm comfortable in my skin.

I have a "fake it til you make it" attitude about a lot of stuff in life. I assume I can do most anything or at least fake it long enough until I figure it out for real! That includes esteem. I know confidence is sexy so if I feel insecure I fake confidence. :) Sometimes I feel it, sometimes I don't. But mostly I just forget to be insecure.

This was a long road - 30 years in the trip from 14 to 44.

Maybe if you find out what she DOES like about herself, you can continually focus and compliment that, since she'll believe you. Then add in other little things that she doesn't over time and maybe she'll start to believe that, too. I have heard men say (including my ex who dated a model before me - yeah that was hard to deal with LOL) that the most beautiful women are often the most insecure. Maybe that's because they perceive their personal value to all be tied to their looks? My personal value is tied to a LOT of things. So maybe cultivate and compliment her abilities, personality traits, etc. that are appealing to you as well.

Also I read in an advice column years ago, a girl wrote in that she had a hard time accepting compliments and would react dismissive of the compliment. The advice given was that compliments are usually given sincerely in most situations and are not patronizing. Regardless the appropriate response to ANY compliment is simply "Thank you". After reading that I stopped contradicting people who complimented me. "Love that sweater!" used to be replied to with "Really? I think it makes me look fat" is now answered with "Thank you". I think over time that helped me accept compliments as real, esteem boosting comments so be sure to tell her to just say "Thank you".
 

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Obviously I'm not a woman, but people in general pick up their self esteem by maintaining a good exercise and diet program. Once the results begin to show, you'll get nice looks from strangers and that is a head rush.
This....once I got in shape I started dressing better and actually getting looks again. ;)

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Has to come from within...for me I feel my best about myself when I am taking courses working towards finishing a degree and when I am having a great workout.

The thing is that they say that women who have nothing else going for them other than their looks tend to have the hardest time adjusting to aging because they did not concentrate on other things such as keeping fit/career/school, etc.
 

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This....once I got in shape I started dressing better and actually getting looks again. ;)

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I actually found for myself that when I am exercising and eating right it tends to carry forth in other areas..i.e. I feel like putting more effort into say putting more effort with makeup, clothes, etc.
 

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Setting goals and feeling that I'm growing and achieving things. This can be losing those extra pounds, having a zippy haircut, studying or doing voluntary work.

I don't believe it's ever a good idea to depend on another individual to bolster one's self-esteem.
 

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Setting goals and feeling that I'm growing and achieving things. This can be losing those extra pounds, having a zippy haircut, studying or doing voluntary work.

I don't believe it's ever a good idea to depend on another individual to bolster one's self-esteem.
I totally agree with this.

It has to come form yourself doing things that make you feel better about you. I also believe 100% that self esteem cannot just come from feeling good about yourself and how you look externally...you have to focus on internal attributes as well. That is even more important than the external crap.

Some of the most confident women I have met are women who would not be considered as "model types" however they are secure and happy with themselves...and to boot they are smart and can carry a conversation.
 

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She is beautiful inside and out. But she struggles wife self esteem issues as well.
Just going by my experience with gf's and family members, the more attractive a woman is, the lower her self esteem is. I dated a few women who were gorgeous, my wife is gorgeous, my sis, late 40's, still looks like she could model...all have/had self esteem issues...some pretty serious.
 

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This....once I got in shape I started dressing better and actually getting looks again. ;)

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Absolutely. And it's a wonderful feeling. I love it when I catch a woman looking at me, albeit in the gym, at the airport or grocery shopping. And I'm not looking to do anything about it, either. I'm happily married and wear my wedding ring 24/7.

But it's just a boost to your ego when this happens. A nice exchange of smiles can brighten up both participant's days.
 
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Anytime you accomplish something hard that takes lots of effort, you gain self confidence, and in turn, self esteem. This applies to all parts of our lives.
 
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My wife is 5'8 130 pounds. She has been asked if she models. She is beautiful inside and out. But she struggles wife self esteem issues as well. I always tell her I wish she could crawl in my head and see how hot and sexy I see her. I will be following this thread to hear some advice also.
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I feel better knowing other men look @ their wives in a similar manner. I told my wife that if she could see herself through my eyes for only one day only then she would understand why I find her so beautiful. Sadly, she thought I was using a cheesy line to 'get things going'. Funny how sometimes your damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.
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My wife struggles with her self-esteem. Perhaps a little more than most, but I suspect not by much.
At present she is very much dependent on external sources for continual self-esteem and can become seriously unhappy simply by trying on a pair of jeans a size too small for her.

So I thought I'd ask the ladies of internet: What things make you feel good about yourselves?
Especially interested in long-term and resilient effects!
Thanks in advance
My opinion:

Good self-esteem comes from accomplishments.

It does not come from how beautiful we are, how we look, how thin we are.......

An example: I have 2 gorgeous daughters. Everyone would tell them that from babies on.......but when they really lit up & felt good is when they won a swimming race, sank a 3-pointer, got an A in math or won the science fair.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Interesting responses. Starting to see two primary points:
1: self esteem that is entirely dependent on perception of physical attractiveness is insufficient. This almost seems to be a sub division, I.e feeling good about looks is a distinct form of self esteem, and both are required for optimal health.
2: self esteem can be influenced by others but only minimally, as one might anticipate it is perception of self through one's own eyes that matters. This is not to say that the perception of others is irrelevant, (though technically it would be the perception of other people's perception!) merely that it is insufficient on it's own.

Given that this is the case, my aim is now to alter the thought patterns underlying the negative feelings. This is a good time for some cognitive behavioural management. So I'll be attempting to introduce new thought patterns as well as interrupting unhelpful ones. Thanks for the answers!

Anything I missed in that analysis?
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Having goals that she can work toward that will give her a sense of pride and accomplishment will go a long way toward helping her self-esteem. Encourage her to have more friends, more hobbies, and at least one or two meaningful projects or long-term pursuits.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Another point that showed up a few times was achievement. I'm curious about this one.

My initial response was to put achievement in the category of 'external validation', my thinking being that it is essential to create positive internal states of esteem before looking outwards.

I can see a few ways for this to go badly, most specifically if the tendency towards being unsatisfied with anything but perfection in the self is externalized to one's achievements, then there would be a constant cycle of achievement seeking in the hopes of a 'perfect' source of validation.

Do people disagree with that idea?
 
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