136 - How to Keep Your Self Esteem Intact While Dating

Maintaining self-esteem while dating with a disability is both empowering and challenging. Affirming oneself is crucial in this journey of probably taking the biggest risk with your heart of putting yourself out there to be vulnerable, show up exactly as you are, disability and all, and face rejection. Last week I did an broad perspective episode on how dating can be a mental health issue as we kick off Mental Health Awareness Month in the States. 

I want to follow that episode with some tactical episodes of how to maintain mental health while you date. Remember, much of what I talk about stems from over 25 years of providing mental health counseling and working with many people with disabilities who wanted to date and share their life with someone. Over the next three weeks, we’re going to look at ways to maintain your self esteem, confidence, and belief system while dating.

I broke down how to keep your self esteem intact through four ways: through affirming self, having good boundaries by expecting others will treat you respectfully, seeing your disability as an asset, and being resilient in the face of rejection.

Affirming Yourself 

Recognizing your worth beyond your disability and focusing on your strengths bolsters self-esteem. Focus on your unique qualities, talents, and achievements. This doesn’t mean you only focus on your strengths and ignore the parts of yourself where you need to grow. It means you acknowledge their are beautiful, appealing qualities about you that you bring forth. This is what I call the Power to Attract. This can certainly include qualities of your disability that makes you unique.

Affirming yourself means you embrace self-love and acceptance, understanding that your disability doesn't define you entirely but adds depth to your character.

Focusing on personal growth and fulfillment outside of dating is essential. Pursue hobbies, interests, and goals that bring you joy and fulfillment. Cultivating a rich and fulfilling life independent of romantic relationships enhances your confidence and self-esteem. When dating, you'll approach relationships from a place of abundance rather than seeking validation or fulfillment from others.

Practicing self-care is vital for maintaining self-esteem. Prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in activities that nourish your soul, whether it's meditation, exercise, or spending time in nature. Nurturing yourself holistically reinforces your sense of worth and resilience, enabling you to approach dating with confidence and authenticity.

Healthy Boundaries 

Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries is essential. Spend time thinking about what boundaries you want for dating and relationships. Learn to communicate  your needs clearly and assertively. This may mean practice saying them out loud or writing them down. Setting boundaries reinforces your self-worth and ensures that you're treated with dignity and kindness. Remember that anyone who disregards your boundaries isn't worthy of your time and affection.

Disability/Difference as an Asset

Viewing your disability as an asset rather than a barrier can significantly impact your self-esteem. Understand that it shapes your experiences and perspectives uniquely, offering insights and strengths that others may not possess. Embrace your disability as a part of your identity. This shows yourself and others how resilient and adaptable you are. Highlighting how it enriches your life can attract partners who appreciate and admire your perspective.

Embrace vulnerability in dating, recognizing it as a strength rather than a weakness. Opening yourself up to potential partners requires courage and authenticity. Vulnerability fosters genuine connections and intimacy, deepening your relationships. Embracing vulnerability allows you to express your true self authentically, fostering meaningful connections built on trust and mutual respect.

Handling Rejection 

Resilience is key when navigating the dating world with a disability. Rejection will most likely occur at some point, but don’t make it about you and let it diminish your worth. Expecting rejection as a possibility can lessen its impact and empower you to persevere. Each rejection is an opportunity for growth and learning, not a reflection of your value as a person. Channeling resilience allows you to bounce back stronger, remaining open to new connections and experiences.

Surrounding yourself with a supportive community can bolster your self-esteem. Seek out friends, family, or support groups who uplift and encourage you. Sharing experiences and advice with others who understand your journey can provide invaluable support and validation. A strong support network reinforces your worth and reminds you that you're not alone in your dating endeavors.

Lastly, celebrate your successes and milestones along the way. Acknowledge your courage and resilience in navigating the complexities of dating with a disability. Celebrate moments of connection, growth, and self-discovery. By affirming your worth, setting boundaries, viewing your disability as an asset, and embracing resilience, you'll navigate the dating world with confidence and self-assurance.


Affirmations for Dating Confidently

Podcast on Cultivating the Power to Attract

Check out our Dating Memberships:

Dating Made Easier (for all people wanting to date) - is a monthly membership for anyone (with or without disabilities) who wants support and guidance in dating skills and getting the RESULTS you want in dating and relationships. Click here to learn more.

Supporting Dating and Relationships membership (for special educators and professionals in disability services) - is for professionals in the disability field who are looking for training and resources to effectively help students/people with disabilities in developing dating and relationship skills. Click here to learn more.

Music by Successful Motivation

Artwork photo by Elevate