How important is self esteem in the creation of healthy, loving relationships?
It's vital. Without it, a relationship becomes an exercise in insecurity and neediness.
How is self esteem furthered where it is insufficient?
I think you hit it squarely when you wrote of breaking bad mental habits. My own habits tend not only toward self-deprecation, but actually toward self-vilification. I call myself names and castigate myself for making poor decisions, or even for simple mistakes.
I am trying to make a habit out of catching myself when I start to do that, and correcting myself. Better to say to myself that I made a bad decision, than to call myself a stupid asshole.
On a scale of 0 -10, with 0 being the least and 10 being the most of healty self esteem, where is your average placement on the scale over the last year?
6 or 7, I would say.
Has your placement on that scale changed in recent time?
If yes, why/how do you think it has changed?
Since figuring out that I'm poly, rather than a near-sleaze who's been suppressing a desire to cheat, I've been able to ditch much of the guilt over how I feel about other women. Feeling is not doing, after all.