Several of my Houston marriage counselor clients commented about my recent blog on the importance of self-esteem in a relationship, referring to the age-old advice that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first. For many seeking relationship help, this is at the root of the issue. They struggle with their own issues, so it becomes even more difficult for them to work out problems with their spouse.

Houston Marriage Counselor Shares an Easy Way to Understand Self-Esteem

As the Houston marriage counselor, I teach that evaluating self-esteem can be simple. To the extent that your behaviors are congruent with your core values, you’ll feel the best about yourself, and thus have high self-esteem. And when your behaviors are not congruent with your core values, you will feel badly about yourself, and thus suffer from low self-esteem.

So what are core values? A few examples are integrity, compassion, responsibility, commitment, and honor. Everyone has different core values that they hold dear to their heart and that drive their life, but probably the strongest of all core values for most people is compassion – truly caring about reducing, if not eliminating, the suffering of a fellow human being.

Yet many of us are in desperate need of self-compassion. The next time you make a mistake or find yourself struggling, remember to treat yourself as you would treat a best friend. You’re not responsible for the first thoughts that pop into your head – only what you do with them. Do you allow them to continue, or do you put a stop to them?

It’s not immoral or “bad” to simply think about homicide – otherwise most of us would be guilty! But what you do after you have a negative thought – whether it’s as bad as homicide or as simple as putting off a task that needs to be done – this is what matters.

If you recognize that you are struggling with low self-esteem, don’t beat yourself up about it – take action to make a change. If you are to become a great spouse, lover, parent, friend, or anything else, your success rests largely on how well you can love yourself. Get relationship help! Try the self-esteem exercise I shared in my past blog, or come talk to the Houston marriage counselor.