How important is self esteem in the creation of healthy, loving relationships?
Very important - without healthy self esteem, I think healthy relationships are nearly impossible. In my experience, when one person has self esteem, or even self confidence, issues, then he or she can sometimes have the tendency to regard the other person in the relationship as the support structure - holding the first person (and by default, the relationship) together in happiness or in sadness. This is often times too much for a relationship to bear, even a healthy one. This is also somewhat co-dependent.
How is self esteem furthered where it is insufficient?
Sometimes, when self esteem is insufficient, it can be furthered by words of kindness from lovers or friends. It can also be furthered by simple actions of those around you. If I am having a bad day, sometimes the smallest comment by my BF of how good my hair looks (completely superficial) can boost my self esteem and get me thinking how things are really not that bad. Or I can just get a hug from a friend for no reason, and I feel like I can face the world more forcefully - I am not alone; my friends and lovers are around me and with me, even when they are not "with" me.
On a scale of 0 -10, with 0 being the least and 10 being the most of healthy self esteem, where is your average placement on the scale over the last year?
Has your placement on that scale changed in recent time?
If yes, why/how do you think it has changed?
I have been in therapy for the past several years - overcoming baggage from my divorce, dealing with my bipolar, and just discussing everyday issues with my family and relationship. Within the last year, I have begun to have "epiphanies" I guess you could call them - I am finally figuring out (at the age of 34) who I really am. No frills, no fancy party bows or decorations, just me. And I am finally beginning to see that it is just right, and just great, and it doesn't need to fit some mold or some preconceived notion of society or the "moral majority" or even people who I though were my friends. It fits me, it is me, and I like who I am and who I have become, and I am comfortable in my own skin. It is pretty awesome.