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Be Transformed with The Catalyst: How Low Self-Esteem Affects Intimate Relationships

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About 18 months ago, I signed up to coach a very high-profile client who was a very successful, rich, and beautiful entrepreneur with flawless skin. This drop-dead gorgeous woman was having multiple relationship problems. 

In 3 years, before coming to see me, she had been in 8 different relationships, been heartbroken 4 times: 3 of the guys physically, emotionally and verbally abused her, 1 cheated on her with her friend, another with her cousin, and the last borrowed a huge amount of money from her and absconded with the money. Her relationship life was full of woes. Imagine what emotional state she was in during our first session, when she had to tell me about her experiences over the last 3 years. Though successful in most other areas of her life, her intimate relationships were her Achilles heel. 

When I delved into her matter, I started out by getting her to take my self-esteem quotient test, we found out that the root cause of her relationship problems was her lack of self-worth and esteem which was caused by 2 major experiences in her upbringing, one of which was that she was sexually abused and molested when she was 12, 15 and 18 years old. 

After 6 sessions with her, we were able to tackle and resolve her problems. In the last 1 year, Helen has been in a very solid, respectful, harmonious, positive and supportive intimate relationship, something that had never happened before in her life.

Research shows that lack of, or low self-esteem influences the kinds of people you attract, the quality of your relationships and your level of relationship satisfaction. When you feel bad and insecure about yourself, these negative energies will influence yours and your partner’s perception, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, decisions, behaviour, expectations, and so on. 

The results of a research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology about self-esteem and its effects in relationships were astounding. People with low self-esteem were threatened by their partner’s imperfections, they viewed their relationship in black and white, that is, all good or all bad terms. These highly polarised views created a lot of insecurities and unpredictability: factors that were found to be very critical indicators that affected the quality of intimacy shared by couples. Low self-esteem created fear, worry, anxiety, and so on, and some people were constantly afraid of their partner leaving them, which led to palpitations, panic attacks or extreme possessiveness and jealousy.


Self-esteem is your own personal view of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is an overall evaluation or appraisal of your own self-worth. It is, most importantly, the gift and permission you give yourself to succeed.

Everyone has a different view of themselves (positive or negative), but keeping a positive outlook will benefit you more than a negative one. 

Many individuals suffer from low self-esteem for a variety of reasons and need to build their self-esteem in order to succeed in their relationships and life.  

Interestingly, you’re the only one who can make you excel, no one else. The only person who can build up or consequentially tear down your self-esteem is you. Although other individuals may aid the process, the ultimate decision is yours.

Some individuals suffer from poor body image and focus on all the negative traits of their physical appearance. Some have emotional issues that make them feel unhappy and unworthy. Others were verbally and psychologically beaten down all through their early years and upbringing Whatever the reasons may be, the key to building it up again is to find your own root problems and the effects of low self-esteem in your life.  

Think of self-esteem like a house, if you build a stunning house on a poor foundation, the entire structure will crumble. However, if you take steps to ensure the foundation is strong and capable of holding anything, the process may be slow, but the house will be built soundly.  

There are many phenomenal self-help books, webinars, and seminars out there. For some people, you need to seek immediate professional help from life coaches and psychologists to help boost your self-esteem.

A main contributor to low self-esteem is negativity. Negative thoughts and beliefs can destroy your confidence and crumble your self-esteem. If you find yourself constantly surrounded by negative people or negative situations, you need to quickly change your environment. 

If you’re in an abusive relationship, a negative work environment, if you work for an abusive narcissistic boss, if you have friends that are consistently negative, it’s time to choose yourself, leave that environment and get help as quickly as you can. Whatever the source, distancing yourself from the negativity will help you begin the journey towards regaining your self-esteem.  

Also surround yourself with positive people. Join a WhatsApp group or any other platform, a support group of people with positive values, ethics, behaviours and vision. 

However you choose to start rebuilding your self-esteem, start today. Be thorough, consistent and patient with the process, give yourself the permission to feel worthwhile, choose yourself, understand how much you need your own help in this process as most of the work is on you. 

If you do not know the areas causing you lack of or low self-esteem, you will struggle to help yourself, and enjoy your intimate relationships, so I will share my self-esteem quotient test with you in my next article. 


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