What Is Self Esteem?

What is self esteem? Relationship Counselling Sydney and Central Coast

Self esteem is that sense of being valued just because you exist. It develops from healthy attachment during infancy and an ongoing reflection of love without it being conditional on certain behaviours taking place.

Some children are raised with the expectation that they perform well at school. The idea of "perform well" may differ amongst families.

Some children are raised with the "be seen and not heard" motto in the family.

There are many family mottoes that shape a child's self esteem or self worth and some are just plain unhealthy.

To the extent that a child suffers from low self esteem is usually the extent they as an adult they will experience challenging relationships.

We tend to attract partners who have the tendency to wound us in a similar way to our childhood experience. This usually becomes apparent after the honeymoon phase of a relationship which may be anywhere from 3 months to 2 years.

When this happens a power struggle usually starts and this is when many couples start counselling.

Family of origin issues and self-defeating patterns of behaviour have a negative impact on relationships.

According to Dr. John Van Epp, in his book titled How to Avoid Falling In Love With a Jerk, "Unhealthy emotional needs lead people to develop one of three relationship patterns that attempt to interpersonally resolve what can only be fixed intrapersonally. In other words, when you do not deal directly with your issues, they often become embedded in your relationships."

This idea stresses the importance of healing past emotional wounds on a personal level before becoming entangled in a relationship and projecting blame on a partner.

Dr. Van Epp proposes that it can take up to three months into a relationship before any of these patterns become evident. He stresses the importance of taking the time to get to know someone really well before making any long term plans together.

THE THREE PATTERNS that Dr. John Van Epp has identified are summarized as:

Van Epp has some interesting ideas and there are so many books on relationships that it would take a lifetime to read them all.

The Imago philosophy behind relationship counselling is that healing actually takes place within the couple relationship. Realistically, most of us meet the "answer to our prayers", fall in love and either live together or get married before we know what has happened.

During Imago Relationship Therapy, the counsellor facilitates a specific dialogue technique between the couple with the intention of reaching understanding by each partner of the other's perspective. The outcome is an experience of greater empathy and validation. This is a simplistic account of the process that often leads to deep healing and long lasting change.

It is a journey of becoming more conscious and growing in deeper intimacy and trust to eventually reach that euphoric "just falling in love" feeling again. The difference is - that the love is genuine and real, rather than a projection of each other's unmet childhood needs onto a partner.