Love Letters to Humans (no. 14) – on Self-Esteem as a Relational Skill

We are relational beings. We are designed to interact with one another, not just react to one another.

If we were not taught the skills required to interact in ways that allow us to create mutually supportive and satisfying relationships, it is never too late to learn them and begin to practice. This is good work.


A critical relational skill is recognizing when someone cannot or does not want to do the work of creating a mutually supportive and satisfying relationship with us, and still choosing to hold ourselves in warm regard. Like all skills, this can be learned and practiced.

This is the skill of acknowledging and honoring our own desire for love and belonging, and simultaneously acknowledging and honoring when the person or group from whom we desired love and belonging does not share the capacity or desire to be in healthy relationship with us. This is the skill of not chasing, of moving along peacefully and without resentment or manipulation so that we can arrive to our other relationships fully present and free of agenda, available to give and receive joyfully and be in healthy community with those who celebrate us.

No one’s preferences or capacity—not even yours—are a measure of your innate worthiness of love.