The process of developing self esteem begins with developing a love for yourself. Many women don't know how to care for their deep inner needs as they have dismissed them. Even as young girls, we are socialized to care for others. We lose track of our inner needs and desires and grow up to be the women we were told to become.
The path to intimacy involves developing a self that you love, accepting your own feelings and having the courage to ask for your needs to be met by your partner. Once you identify your needs, you'll learn to accept yourself and expect others to accept you as well. Only then will you be able to voice your needs to others with courage. As you become more accepting of yourself, you become more desirable and beautiful from the inside out.
Women who have high self esteem are able to negotiate relationships well and have the ability to see and be seen by others in a deep, mutually satisfying way. Their relationships are genuine and they can accommodate others' needs while also taking care of their own. They do not change themselves to meet a partner's expectations. If a woman's partner is used to a one way relationship, he may not be so excited to see "his woman" change. He may resist, as the relationship in the past benefited him, and he liked it that way. There will be conflict at this stage of the growth process. The new woman can take the risk of changing the relationship and allow her man to decide whether to change or leave. She is now only willing to maintain mutually satisfying relationships and willingly lets go of those people who are draining to her.
A woman's growth in self esteem can be a catalyst for the man in her life to grow in self esteem as well. She leads him in this process by not sacrificing herself to his demands for a one way relationship. Eventually he sees her as even more desirable and is willing to do anything, even his own counseling, in order to grow and be with her. As he becomes more self-accepting, he looks to himself to solve his inner dilemmas. In the past, he demanded she be a certain way to make him feel better. This type of intimacy takes great courage and is a pathway to a deep mutually satisfying relationship. If you open yourself to your partner, you can learn that he/she will be there in an emotionally, spiritually and physically supportive way — boosting your self-esteem.
I appreciate Dove for beautifully pointing to the truth of women's self-esteem and encouraging us to see ourselves as unique works of art. We can make a difference for ourselves and our relationships. By being gentler and kinder to ourselves, we can feel more deserving and ask for our relationships to be mutually satisfying.