They say we accept the love we think we deserve, but we also accept the partners we think deserve us.
The truth is that you’re far more likely to fall in love with someone whose self-esteem matches yours — for better or for worst.
At the onset, this might not always be completely obvious.
One person may project a sense of intense confidence and self-assuredness. The other may be more forthcoming about their own insecurities. In other cases, they both meet somewhere in the middle.
However, there is an inexplicable draw to someone whose self-esteem is either as high, or low, as yours is. It’s part of the magic “click” that makes you feel so understood, so seen, and so comfortable.
The honest truth is that when we’re feeling down on ourselves, we are far more likely to be attracted to someone who exhibits the same behaviors.
When we’re really finding our confidence, we start to lose interest in people who aren’t likewise searching for theirs.
Self-esteem isn’t just the way we see ourselves, it’s the way we interact with the world.
It’s also the bedrock of our closest relationships.
You might find that your most intense passions, and most heavy conflicts, all stem from this exact issue.
When you’re experiencing low self-esteem, a person who is likewise feeling the same way knows how to trigger you, even when they don’t mean to. Simply witnessing their own self-destructive patterns is challenging enough — then add on a layer of guilting and shaming masked as “encouragement,” and it can become toxic pretty quickly.
When you’re experiencing higher self-esteem, a person who is likewise feeling the same way seems initially like your soulmate of all soulmates — a person who is interested in the same things you are, who wants the same things you do, who refuses to accept less than what they desire. However, this starts to go south when egos collide.
In a sense, a person with your same degree of self-esteem is both magnetizing, but also a minefield of your deepest triggers.
Love is a complex map of expectations, conditioning, hormones and physical appeal.
Compatibility is the way in which two people can or cannot make their lives coexist as one.
But attraction is more basic than both of those things — it’s the blunt appeal of someone, the totality of their appearance and how they speak and who they are.
This is where self-esteem starts to really become important.
Confidence is always cited as one of the most attractive things about a person, but we often fail to recognize that for people who don’t have much of it, they likewise appeal to those who are at a similar place in life.
Whether that esteem is warranted or not, it’s far more likely for people who are mirroring insecurities to one another to find themselves intensely drawn to one another.
Usually, people who both feel somewhat like outcasts are attracted to one another.
Or people who feel like loners.
Or people who lack direction.
Or people who are ambitious.
Or people who are unsure.
Or people who desire acceptance.
When this leans in a positive direction, it’s great — but when two people who both are in need of affirmation, reinforcement, direction and guidance come together, it becomes a battle that neither can really win.
This is because each person is seeking their own confidence within the other person — and that’s something they’ll never find.
The point is that you always have to do your own inner work first.
Perhaps you can begin by reflecting on who you were most attracted to at different points in your life, and what wounds within them may have been unconsciously mirroring your own.