What is self-esteem? Your self-esteem reflects the core beliefs you have about yourself. In dating, the smartest thing you can do is to find a partner who has good self-esteem. That individual likes himself; she isn’t too critical of herself; and he accepts himself as-is and works on the parts of his personality or his behaviors that cause problems for himself or others. Most of all, the reason why you should date and partner up with someone who has good self-esteem is that people with self love will treat you better than people with poorer self-esteem.
What are the signs of good self-esteem? Some of these you probably already know because they are obvious, but some may be surprising.
1. People with good self-esteem are happier and more hopeful.
There’s no doubt about it: You meet someone who sounds negative and bitter, and you can safely assume that this person is an unhappy individual. People who are happy don’t worry about bad things happening, and they work hard to see the positive side of situations instead of focusing on what’s negative.
2. People with good self-esteem treat the people around them better.
Caveat: People who treat others poorly aren’t necessarily bad, but they do have emotional issues they need to deal with. People with good self-esteem like themselves overall, so they don’t feel competitive or feel the need to put others down to make themselves feel better. Why? They already like themselves, so they don’t need to do anything negative to others in order to feel better.
3. People with good self-esteem don’t get jealous of others, especially those who are important to them.
People with good self-esteem like themselves overall. People who get jealous are the way they are because, at root, they feel like they are lacking in some way, and they get jealous of those who seem to have what they want. How does this apply on a date? If you tell your date that you just got an amazing promotion or that you had something great happen to you, the date with good self-esteem will feel nothing but happiness for you. If you tell your date the same thing but your date has low self-esteem, your date will have any of the following reactions: feel sad or depressed because the same thing didn’t happen to them; feel angry or bitter that good things never happen to them; or feel threatened or afraid that you may believe that you’re better than them. One of the most important things you can do when looking for a partner is to find someone who celebrates – and doesn’t put down or feel competitive with – all the good things that happen to you.
4. People with good self-esteem are viewed as more attractive by others.
When I work with clients on their relationship problems, I always tell them the same thing: Focus on getting yourself mentally to a place where you feel happy and relaxed, and a good date will materialize from that. So many young men and women believe that that they will find a partner when they look most attractive, but the truth is that what people are really turned on by is someone who seems at peace and who can carry on a down-to-earth conversation. The mistake so many people make is to try too hard, or to tell themselves that what others want is someone “hot” or “sexy.” Actually, what people really want is to go on a first date and feel like the conversation flows naturally, as if the two of you have known each other for years.
5. People with good self-esteem rarely talk about people critically, and they try to see the good in others.
Most people with good self-esteem don’t focus much on other people. They don’t like to put people down or be critical. The surest way to know that someone doesn’t like himself or herself is to see that person talk critically about other people. If you are on a date and he or she is critical of the waiter at the restaurant, and then later is critical about a good friend or someone else, make a point to watch their behavior from that point forward to see if this is an ongoing personality trait. The short version: If you want to be with a happy person and have that relationship last for a long time, that person is probably going to be pretty happy overall and is going to say positive things about other people. The simplest rule to remember: People who like themselves are nice when talking about others; people who don’t like themselves are critical or even cruel when talking about others.
The final message
If you have one goal when looking for a life partner, make it finding someone who has good self-esteem. Of course, we all have our own emotional issues or shortcomings we have to deal with it, but some people have better self-esteem than others. The smartest, savviest thing you can do in dating is to invest in someone who already seems to like himself or herself as-is. Trying to make a relationship work with someone who has low self-esteem is going to add many more layers of complexity than you probably want to deal with years down the road.
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.