Ours was an arranged marriage. From the beginning, Mr Husband was very confident of his decision of marrying me. On the other hand, I was sceptical and scared (as any girl would be). I had always been a very confident person but every one of us feels insecure from time to time, in a certain situation. I too had been through such phases of insecurity and self-consciousness, dealing with thoughts like “I am not as attractive, intelligent, or well earning in life in comparison to the people around”. Hence I was eager to know what was it in me that he was attracted to? To my surprise, his responded, “You are such a beautiful person inside-out, who wouldn’t have fallen for you”. All my doubts were cleared right there.
The pressure of perfection in today’s time is like never before, not just for women but for men too. All thanks to the picture-perfect celebrities, ideal physique, photoshopped magazine pictorial, etc. This desire to present yourself perfectly in front of the world totally set against the idea of self-confidence because your imperfections start making you feel uncomfortable and miserable. You start fearing judgements. This leads to discontent and one slips into the zone of self-consciousness.
For relationships, personal issues like struggling with self-consciousness or self-esteem issues can create stress. When those you care about are in pain, you get affected too. As a partner, your contribution and help become essential for your partner as well as for your bond. Good relationships require partners to work together as a strong unit. Avoid feeling stressed in the process. You can only try to boost the person’s confidence by being supportive but the person will also need to do some work to develop their own self-esteem. I have been there and I can tell you what worked for me.
There are plenty of ways by which you can support your partner on their journey of self-acceptance and confidence.
1) Be Attentive: Ask yourself, are you emotionally available to your partner? Give them your attention when they share their life experiences, insecurities or accomplishments. Ask them what’s bothering them. Try to understand if they need your advice or just want to vent out. It would be better if you notice these insecurities before they mention and you start complimenting them, this will increase your credibility in their mind. Don’t try to cheer them up forcefully, give them their time just be there with them. Be cautious you cannot lift someone up by tearing them down. Remember that people respond better to respect, not to constant criticism.
2) Actions Speak Louder than Words: Be a good example of what you believe in. It will make your partner value your words. Be polite and clear when you also need some space and time. Make them believe that you love them as they are. Show them you are proud of being with them. Show confidence in them in public and private. Big efforts or small gestures; just be genuine and consistent. Remember, it requires a lot of patience and constant reassurance from your side. What you feel about them should reflect on your behaviour and actions daily.
3) Admire your partner: Compliment them for who they truly are. Appreciate them for not just their physical appearance but for their strengths and qualities too. Make them believe in themselves. Help them in keeping their insecurities away by highlighting their strengths. Discourage them from people pleasing. Try redirecting their insecurities to something positive. Make them believe that Being Yourself is more important than being perfect. As NALO HOPKINSON said, “Beauty and Ingenuity beat perfection hands down, every time.”
4) Unconditional Acceptance: Your unconditional love and acceptance signify your trust and faith in the true self of your partner. It will give them assurance that they might not be perfect but are likeable anyway. Let your love and unconditional support be the assurance that they are surely no less than anyone. Avoid being judgemental. They might have had enough of that from the world. Understand their point of view toward things.
5) Involve in Common Activities: Do things together; Reading, Running, Gymming or anything you both may like. It will increase the scenarios of healthy dependency. It’s a nice way to spend quality time with each other too. Compliment your partner for their achievements and conduct during these activities. Admire their zeal and efforts in things they like. Show interest in their hobbies. Develop common interest. Motivate them to find and carry forward their unique interests, rather than just following others.
6) Build Each Other up: Your partner should be your teammate. Analyse each other’s strength and work on the weak points. Give your partner chances to lead. I believe psychological development as a couple should be the top priority. Cover each other’s back. Make your partner feel that they are very much needed. Inter-dependency is much more required for a good relationship than independence. Acknowledge their efforts in your success. There is one Irish proverb that says,“In our togetherness (as a team), castles are built.”
I agree you might not be able to solve all your partner’s insecurities. They should be willing and be supporting too, but the best you can do is to lift them up in their darkest phase. Be genuine, say what you mean & mean what you say. Hang in there and love them through these least loveable moments of their life. Maybe they don’t bother about the whole world and it’s all about how you feel about them.
“It was rather beautiful: the way he put her insecurities to sleep. The way he dove into her eyes and starved all the fears and tasted all the dreams she kept coiled beneath her bones.” –Christopher Poindexter