Maggie and Jake met through friends and hit it off big-time. For the first few months, anyway. Then Maggie noticed something new creep into their interactions. If they had any confict at all, Jake went into critical overdrive. I can always find someone better to date, he would say, lashing out in anger. He criticized her, verbally putting her down. Later, he would feel remorseful, apologizing and promising never to do it again. But, of course, he did do it again. And again.
Maggie took a step back and asked herself, Why would I put up with this? She talked to friends and mentors and heard the same thing over and over: If this is how he treats you now, it will only get worse. She realized that she couldnt control his behavior toward her, but she could control her own behavior. Maggie ended the relationship with Jake, breathed a sigh of relief, moved on, and within six months met Joe, who treats her like gold.
Maggie has good interpersonal boundaries which are a result of good self-esteem. We hear the term self-esteem a lot, but what does it mean, and what does it have to do with dating? Maggies story shows us how self-esteem matters in dating.
Good self-esteem enables you to set boundaries. Good self-esteem acts like an early warning system, telling you that someone is treating you in a way that doesnt leave you feeling valued or respected by that person. Good self-esteem is like one half of a puzzle piece; the other half of the puzzle is how other people treat you. When someone else treats you well, that fits your puzzle piece, and it works. When they dont treat you well, it doesnt fit your view of yourself (your puzzle piece), and it feels wrong because it doesnt match.
Good self-esteem is also a magnet, attracting to you other people who feel good about themselves. It also attracts good behavior from others. Like attracts like. The chemistry you feel for another person in dating is positive and uplifting, additive to your life, never destructive. Good self-esteem is dating magic, drawing postive people, circumstances, and energy into your life without any real effort on your part.