The relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for future relationships with others. It is advisable to surround yourself with people who have vision, purpose and ideas.
During teenage years, there are so many different emotions racing through the body. These could be from peer pressure, self-worth, self-esteem, self development, to the feeling of loneliness and wanting to be loved, feeling inadequate to achieving the goals you have set yourself, not feeling understood by parents, teachers or peer groups. As adults, parents, teachers or friends we should aim to be good listeners; be quick to listen and slow to speak!
In this blog, I will be focusing on self-esteem and how it links to a healthy relationship.
When I speak to the youth around me, either my friend's children, mine or their friends (when they visit), I notice the common theme of self-esteem. Some have a lot of it (great!) while others, are lacking in that area. This is all about how people value themselves which shows how they would allow others to treat them. It gauges how much bad behaviour they are willing to receive from others.
During the ages of 16 years old, up until the first year at university or college, the youth are "finding" themselves (and their self worth). They may start embarking on new relationships with the opposite gender, new course friends or exploring their faith (or disengaging with it). During freshers week, they may have the desire to experience new (youth) culture of drinking, smoking drugs, alcohol or sex. This is a transitional period in their lives and having a healthy close relationship with their family or loved ones, will be beneficial to them during this time.
The reason for starting a relationship should not be due to lack of self worth or looking for someone to affirm you - (I am referring to the young ladies here!) Do not seek value in other people, school / university friends, material things or places they could take you to. Instead, go with someone who would compliment you. When I was younger, I was shy and would aim to please others - even at the expense of my convenience. When my friends would ask for a favour, I was quick to say yes! I later realised it was my aim to make others happy, even when it was not suitable for me at the time. Needless to mention, my friends took advantage of my generosity. I later learnt that people would use you if you allow them. Over the years, growing up, I worked on my self-esteem and I am not afraid to say "no, it is not convenient for me right now". It did not stop me from showing kindness or friendliness but I learnt to avoid putting others before myself and to value myself more. I too, I am important!
This is also my message to the young ladies when we have our chat. I have come to realise that lack of affirmation results in lack of identity. The youth should be reminded that they are fearfully and wonderfully made - Psalms 139:14 They need to remember that they would attract what they view as worthwhile. My advise is to know your worth, do not settle for less, let go of what is not building you up but move towards people that would share your values, dreams and aspirations.
When you are in a toxic relationship and you see the red flags so visibly, please have the courage to get out immediately! I tell my children and their friends that, it is better to have a few weeks of heartache than a life time of misery! When you are in a relationship, do you feel safe with the person? If you are very much into your social media posting and you have posted about your "new" relationship but have not received the same level of response, or have noticed some secrecy about your relationship, ask yourself why? After a few months of starting a relationship and the conversation is not going towards your plans for the future i.e. employment prospects, next steps, dreams, goals, then ask yourself if there is any future with the relationship.
Young people, do not date just for the sake of dating but date with a purpose; someone who you see a future with. We all know that nobody is perfect but at least the person you date should share your values, desires and future plans - otherwise you are already starting on the wrong path which often leads to disaster. I have noticed the simplicity of men, they are like hunters, they chase for what they want. If you are in a relationship where the boy / girl is playing games or you cannot trust his / her going out or coming in, please leave when you can! why waste your time? There is a proverb that says "time waits for no one" The signs will always be there, they are known as the"red flags" please do not ignore them! To reassure yourself that this person wants a genuine relationship with you, watch his / her actions, his / her thoughts towards you, the conversations, are they "seasoned with salt" or are they empty promises? In my younger years, as a youth myself (not so long ago I hasten to add :), I always enjoyed the "getting to know you stage" and took things slowly. I am a great believer in becoming friends before lovers as it gave me the opportunity to know him better (and sometimes give him some tests of which he gladly passed). I would highly recommend courtship as I remember enjoying the process while I stayed on my guard until I was certain he was the one. We have been married for twenty one years - Thank God!
He still tells me to this day that I gave him a hard time, my reply would be "I am a very cautious person".
Photos were taken on the actual day of our 21st Wedding Anniversary
If you are in a relationship with someone who just wants to "mould" you, please kindly inform him / her that your parents did a good job at that already! As humans, we should aim to improve ourselves as there is always room for improvement but that should not be the focus of your partnership, especially at the beginning of the relationship when all looks rosy. He /she should like you for who you are. Enter a relationship with someone who have similar values as you, some one who would love and cherish you in the way you deserve to be treated. Someone who is consistent and intentional about his/ her feelings towards you right from the get go. Not someone who would rush you into a relationship that will not be healthy for you in the future. Do not allow any one push your boundaries (all in the name of love) in order to undermine your values - that is not cool, know your worth!
This is one reason why I believe in words of affirmation towards children at a young age. I purposely avoided using negative words when I was not pleased with my children's behaviour instead, I focused my disappointment on the "act" that was committed. I learnt to speak life into the lives of my children and I can now see the results in terms of their self confidence. I believe there is power in the tongue so I chose to speak positive words that would inspire them rather than condemn. I call them out whenever I hear them say unpleasant words to their siblings, even as a joke!
Have you considered the type of relationship you would like?
What qualities are you looking for in your future partner and what steps are you taking towards improving yourself? share your thoughts