How to improve your confidence and self-esteem while dating

Being able to date and feeling ready or worthy to date are two totally different things.

If you are wanting a serious healthy relationship that is fulfilling then you need to be aware of the impact of mental and emotional states.

Whilst the dating scene may give you options to meet people , it doesn’t automatically mean you will have the dating confidence you need to build a new relationship.

Dating someone with low self-esteem or lacking confidence yourself will directly affect the quality and experience of romantic relationships.

Vector art of a woman improving her confidence as represented by watering a plant

Dating someone with low self-esteem

We often assume that you have to reach a certain level of confidence before we can feel ready to date.

And if you are someone who struggles with comparison because of social media or the dating app culture, then chances are you are already building negative convictions about your true worth.

With mental health affecting 1 in 4 Americans and 85% of people admitting to suffering self-esteem issues, it’s no wonder that dating someone with low-self value. is a common occurrence.

If you are dating someone with low-self-esteem or you yourself lack the confidence and self-worth you desire, then there are several things you need to remember:

Building confidence is not an overnight fix

Whilst positive words and praise can go a long way, it won’t magically make someone feel permanently better.

Building self- esteem is a daily practice that takes time and healing.  It is a process of rewiring the brain with new convictions and neurological pathways that eventually produce new habits and feelings.

Positive reinforcement goes a long way 

It has been scientifically proven that the brain lights up when responding to positive reinforcement.  Constant verbal praise and encouragement really can lift someone’s mood and boost their confidence.

Simple phrases like “I’m proud of you.” Or “You look beautiful right now.” Are easy ways to affirm that person’s appearance, skills or character. Helping ease their fears through verbal affirmation is a great way to show support whilst also helping to rewire their thinking.

It also gives the other person permission to self-talk themselves into a positive state that encourages self-love .

Keep boundaries in place 

One of the things that tends to go out the window is low self-esteem in the picture.

If you are in a relationship with someone who lacks self- value then don’t over accommodate all their issues.

It is ultimately up to them to do the work to change and trying to do the work for them just enables them to stay victims to their issues.

Body positive image of a woman getting compliments, vector art

Am I worth dating?

One of the questions we can find ourselves asking is “am I worth dating?” Or “should I even be dating when I don’t feel confident?”

If you are someone with anxious attachment or low self-esteem, then you often feel pressure to be in a certain place of status or emotional state before you think you are ready for love.

Our negative thoughts can keep us convinced that a great relationship is out of our reach in the world of dating.

The key here is to remember that how you feel doesn’t have to define your identity. Whilst we may feel anxious we are not anxious. And just because you lack self-esteem, does not make you any less loveable or worthy.

When your mind becomes fixated on a negative feeling, it’s easy to then justify why no one would want to date you. The brain is wired after all to take a negative path more so than a positive as it requires less energy.

Being very sensitive can affect your self-esteem in dating too. Here’s how sensitive people can handle all hurdles and difficulties in their love life!

A great way to switch this thought around and take your power back so you can feel more confident is to do the following:

Reverse the questions 

Having to face rejection or disappointment in dating can meddle with your self-doubts. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself thinking about whether you are the problem. Instead of asking “Am I worth dating”, ask “Why wouldn’t someone want to date me “or “who do I want to date?”  

This takes you out of victim mode and instead gives you a sense of control and value as you are the one who is making the choices. You want to start giving yourself the validation you need instead of seeking it from someone else. 

Make a list of your qualities

If you keep focusing on the negative then you will never feel like you are ready or worthy enough.

Take a piece of paper and write down all the positive things you DO have to offer and keep it as confirmation that you bring something to the table.

Be proactive in growing where you need to 

If you want to improve your confidence in dating and feel ready and worthy to date, then it’s time to tackle the areas that need growth.

No one likes to admit that they aren’t perfect, however staying in denial keeps us victims of stagnation.

Make a list of areas you would like to improve within yourself and your life and then create a plan on how you can start making progress in these parts.

Vector art of a man improving confidence as represented by watering a plant in a person's head

How does low self-esteem affect your relationship?

Truth is low self-esteem can have devastating effects on relationships. Not only does it encourage self-sabotaging and leave you vulnerable to being taken advantage of, but it can also push away the people you love most.

Whilst no person will ever feel 100% happy all the time, your personal emotional state and relationship should have more joy and confidence than fear and depression.

Because self- esteem begins with self, it ultimately means that what you choose to do and feel will start the ripple effect of the type of relationship you want to build.

Having an encouraging partner who supports you and tries to build you up is a great help. However, it doesn’t remove the responsibility of you choosing to build your own self esteem inwardly and personally.

People who suffer from anxious attachments, low self-value and fear are people who have a lower quality of relationship fulfilment.

They either attract partners who take advantage of them such as narcissists, abusers and controllers.

Or they push away partners who love them due to staying in victim mode and not being able to create a two way street of loving supportive energy . 

We have to remember that having low self-confidence or self-esteem isn’t just about having days when you don’t feel good about yourself. It also includes the following:

  • Having little or no direction and purpose – When someone feels lost within themselves or lacks purpose they can tend to rely on their partner too much for direction and fulfilment, creating pressure and frustration in a relationship.
  • Not being able to receive compliments – Constantly self- criticising yourself and not receiving praise can be frustrating for a partner as they may feel they can never make you happy.
  • Lack of boundaries – This can lead to burnout and being taken advantage of. Your partner then may not feel like a priority that you are staying accountable to what is a healthy balance in a relationship.
  • Lack of self-care or self-respect – When someone has low self-esteem they can be partial to not taking care of themselves physically. Or they may even engage in behaviour and habits that are disrespectful to themselves and their partner. They might also be looking for constant approval from their partner, instead of taking care of their own wishes and needs.
  • Passive behaviour and avoidance – If you lack confidence then chances are you will want to avoid certain conflicts or responsibilities which can make you passive in a relationship. This breaks down communication and doesn’t encourage growth.
Vector art of man running up to achieve goals

How to increase self-esteem in a relationship

Increasing your self-esteem so that you can have a fulfilling relationship and feel confident when dating is a process.

Don’t wait until you magically feel better, instead focus on small habits daily to be able to conquer this area.

Here are several practical ways you can start building your self-worth and confidence:

  • Focus on your strengths – Make a list about everything that you are good at (or have been told you are!) Put that list somewhere where you can see it daily to remind your subconscious that you bring value.
  • Highlight your best feature – Whilst you may not be the size, height or physical type you always want to be, it’s not to say that you don’t have beauty to show. If you have one particular physical attribute that always gets you noticed then it’s time to highlight it.
  • Start accepting praise – Even if you don’t believe someone’s positive remarks about yourself, say “Thank you!” anyway and start accepting praise and wear it as a badge of honour. The key here is to trick your brain into believing new positive things about yourself.
  • Reassess your environment – We are directly affected by who and what we surround ourselves with. Do an audit of your working, home and social environment. Are your friends people who encourage confidence within you and inspire you? Is your home something that reflects self-care and positivity? Is your workplace something that enhances your purpose and skills?
  • Prepare, practice, praise, repeat – One of the simple formulas to build confidence is to prepare yourself with the knowledge you need, put it into practice (even if you are bad at it) , give yourself some praise for trying and then repeat until you get better. This can be for anything whether it is accepting compliments, approaching a date or setting boundaries.
  • Stay consistent even on bad days – Consistency is the ultimate key to building new habits. This means choosing to do what you know brings you closer to feeling confident regardless of circumstances, fears or feelings.
  • See yourself through eyes of grace not perfection – Whilst you may not be where you want to be, try having self-compassion and grace towards yourself.

We are all on a journey and no one is ever going to be perfect, however it doesn’t mean we can’t learn to love who we are along the way.