I’ve noticed that we women often find ourselves dating (or even married) by default.
What is "dating by default" you ask? You’ll hear that a lot here.
Dating by default goes like this: we find a man, decide that he is the best we can do, and hold on hard, never to question the relationship's fit in our lives.
That’s not the best strategy.
I understand why we act out of haste. Women worry that if we are too picky, we might end up alone. So we just throw caution to the wind and then end up with the wrong person.
We feel we should take what comes along, because a lot of men are either “taken”, in prison, not interested in the opposite gender, or have baggage that we don’t want to deal with. Get in where you fit in, right?
But you can’t afford to move too fast either.
I knew a young woman named Heather who was consistently letting her fiance Rick talk down to her in public. And I imagine worse was probably going on in private.
She stayed engaged to him for a couple of years while this abuse continued. At some point, something did click, and she cut the relationship off, but she endured the abuse much longer than she should have in my opinion.
You know what Heather's biggest issue was? She let her lack of confidence dictate this relationship. And it did her in. Big time.
Her first mistake is that she didn't stand up for herself and what she wanted.
Not what others wanted but what she wanted. For her own life.
That's low self-esteem. Part of it is the belief that others know what's best for you than you yourself do.
That your own brain can't be trusted to make it's own decisions.
One of the largest causes of poor relationships I've seen is low self-esteem. This has got to be fixed if women want to have a chance at having healthy, respectful, abuse-less relationships with anyone---but especially men.
Where does it come from? Well, low self-esteem can come from many places, including:
Poor parenting. Sometimes parents were unwilling or unable to give the attention, nurturing, and lessons that are necessary to teach high self esteem and confidence. It may not have been on purpose, necessarily, but just out of inability, lack of knowledge on what to do, or not enough time or energy.
Childhood abuse. Physical, sexual, and emotional are all types of abuse. If a girl is repeatedly told she is worthless, stupid, or not going to "amount to anything", that can definitely cause low confidence. Sexual abuse removes a child's sense of control and trust in the world and causes low self-esteem.
Trauma as an adult. Even as adults, we can lose control of situations and start feeling like our confidence is shattered. Depending on the amount of the trauma, it can go past self-esteem loss and develop into stress disorders and other issues, but low self-esteem is the beginning.
Clinical depression. Clinical depression is a disease of the chemical balance of the brain. All of our thoughts and feelings get out of whack, so a loss of confidence happens along with feelings of sadness.
And many more. It's not just a one-size-fits all issue. It just depends. Whatever the cause, it can usually be corrected.
So how do you start turning around a life driven by low self-esteem?
Start by making a commitment
This problem took a while to develop, so it's going to take a while to fix. Make a promise to yourself that you'll stick with it, even if it takes you time to heal.. Commit to doing whatever it takes, including getting some professional help.
Make baby steps.
Everything starts with small steps. Do small things every day to build yourself up. When you look in the mirror, instead of jumping to criticize everything you think is wrong, force yourself to praise the things about yourself that you like.
And even if there are things you don't like, turn those into a positive by allowing yourself some slack to work on them later.
Another baby step I recommend is to watch how you accept compliments. If someone stops you and tells you they like your shirt, don't jump to disparage their praise by saying stuff like "this old thing?" or "it's not a big deal."
Acknowledge their compliment with two simple words: "thank you"...and realize how good it feels to have someone say something nice about you. Allow those moments to happen. You're worthy of them.
Get professional help if necessary.
You can start with the baby steps outlined here. If baby steps aren't accumulating for you, and you're not feeling more confident, please do not hesitate to seek the assistance of a qualified professional (therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, pastor, etc.). They can tailor a plan for you that can help you move on, especially if there is any form of abuse or neglect in your background that contributed to the problem.
Eventually, you will build up enough confidence that you will realize your worth and be able to say no to relationship opportunities that you know won't serve you instead of meekly accepting a man you know means you no good.
You and your mate should be a great fit for each other. Take your time so you can get it right! You're in it to win it ...you're looking for the "best man for you", not just ok, not just acceptable. The best.
Next time we'll talk about factor number two that can cause women to trip up and get involved in a relationship that means her harm. Avoiding this mistake is as simple as a few minutes, a piece of paper and a pen.