Help me improve my self-esteem without a divorce

Dear Laurie,

My husband picks on me a lot and my self-esteem is draining. How can I get it back without getting a divorce?

Thank you!


Dear Barbara,

Thank you for writing in. Asking for help is a positive action step of self-love. To begin, I suggest taking some time to discern your feelings and desires: How does it make you feel when he is picking on you? What would make you feel better? What type of relationship do you want?

Tell your husband you would like to have a heart to heart conversation and would like both of you to really listen and share from the heart to improve upon your relationship. Allow each of you time to speak while the other person listens.

Express your feelings, by saying “I feel (insert your feelings here, such as hurt, sad, angry, tired, defeated) when you say to me (insert the exact words he used.). I feel tired and my self-esteem is draining.”

Ask your husband to repeat back what you said to ensure he hears you correctly. Ask him, “What was your intention behind those words?” Listen to what he has to say. Tell him, “It would be helpful for me if (insert your request).”

State the type of relationship you are interested in such as, “I’m interested in a close nurturing, loving and supportive relationship. I would like a relationship that is productive and respectful not destructive.”

Inform your husband that the negative comments are not healthy. Tell him, “I need your help.” And ask, “Are you willing to commit to a close loving relationship?”

In order for this to occur, you both need to commit to several things: a commitment to empowering, encouraging and uplifting each other with positive language, intentions and words, a commitment to supporting each other, a commitment to being 100 percent responsible for your communication, a commitment to your own personal growth, and staying true to your commitments and being honest and transparent to each other.

Barbara, continue to observe your own self-talk and inner dialogue. Make a commitment to a close loving relationship with yourself. Process your feelings on a daily basis, read personal empowerment books and do things that show support and love to yourself. Practice unconditional love and acceptance daily.

If your husband continues to bring you down, you have options. The first step is to stop immediately when he says things that do not resonate with you. Breathe. Calmly, repeat back to him the exact words you heard and the tone he used. It may be helpful for him to “hear” his own words. Ask him what his intention was behind these words.

The next step is for you to say to yourself, “Even though my husband said (insert words), I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though I feel (insert your feelings), I am grounded in my own light and love. I connect with my beautiful essence and with my power. I embrace and love all parts of myself.” Catch yourself if you begin to judge or blame yourself or make yourself bad and wrong.

There are many therapists, life coaches, counselors and relationship books available. If you desire, create healthy boundaries such as sleeping in your own bedroom.

Your spirit and heart deserves to be honored and that begins with you. You are a beautiful, fully empowered radiant being. Do you agree?

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Laurie Martin is a certified life coach, speaker, yoga teacher and advice columnist. Laurie is the author of three books: “Language of the Heart: Unconditional Love, Living Fully Empowered,” “Smile Across Your Heart: The Process of Building Self-Love,” and an e-book, “The Conscious Breakup Guide, Navigating Yourself Through the End of Your Relationship.” Laurie offers her Smile Across Your Heart Course online and in person. Her website is