My BF Isn’t Confident – How Do I Help Him?

Hi Heather,

Okay, so my boyfriend of nine months has terrible self-esteem. He always disses on himself and never believes me when I tell him how amazing he really is. It’s gotten to the point where he’s constantly talking about how much he doesn’t like himself and I’m getting so frustrated. I want to help him and help make him confident but I don’t know what to do. Whenever I tell him how great he is he tells me I’m wrong! Please help.

I know you’re concerned about your boyfriend and I can completely understand that you feel like you need to help make him confident, but here’s the thing, girl: lifting your BF’s self-esteem is not your job or responsibility. It’s actually most likely not even possible – this is something your BF has to figure out on his own. No one can get him to be confident and love himself except for, well, himself.

Showering your boyfriend with compliments and always telling him he’s wrong when he complains about himself isn’t really going to help the situation. In fact, it could only be making it worse. I’m not saying your BF is doing this stuff intentionally (I’m sure he doesn’t want to feel this badly about himself all the time), but in a way he could be ragging on himself for attention. It probably feels good to hear you talk about wonderful he is – and he knows that you’re going to do that when he says certain things.

After a while, this will be your reaction | Source: ShutterStock

It’s also really unfair for you to have this burden on your shoulders of trying to make him more confident. Again, I’m not saying your boyfriend is doing this stuff on purpose. But he has unintentionally made you feel like you’re responsible for his self-esteem, and you’re not. You can’t spend your life trying to convince him he’s great, because all that’s going to do is make you focus more on him than yourself, and that’s never healthy.

Also, this is probably going to start majorly affecting your relationship, if it hasn’t already. When you constantly hear about how you’re too good for him, and about how much he sucks, a little voice in your head is probably going to start believing it. You’re probably going to start wondering, “what the heck am I doing with this guy?” I’m not saying you don’t love him, but hearing the same thing over and over will get to you after a while.

So what are you supposed to do? The next time your BF disses himself, don’t start complimenting him – tell him you’re sick of these negative words. Remind him that you love him for who he is and you don’t think there’s anything wrong with him, but he needs to start gaining more confidence. Let him know that you don’t like hearing him say this stuff and it may hurt your relationship. Be there for him, but don’t feel like you have to change him. Maybe suggest that he should go to a therapist or talk to a professional for more help. If he doesn’t start trying to be more confident, then give him an ultimatum: either he starts working on himself, or you’re outta there.

I know everything I’m saying may sound harsh, but being with a guy who hates himself can be really hard. The sooner you realize this isn’t your responsibility, the better.

take care,

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Posted in: Help Me Heather, Love Advice
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  • Navi

    So my tip is not to focus on the problems he’s addressing. Here’s some great things to think about.
    Ask him: “Why are you telling me this?” -this helps to find the problem. He might admit that someone hurt his feelings, or that you said something. Then, if you’re the cause, work it out. If this doesn’t work, try the next question
    “What makes you happy? What will make you happy?” This helps him brainstorm some answers, even if he says he doesn’t know at the time, his brain will think of SOMETHING he just doesn’t want to admit.
    If that doesn’t work, your best options are- try cheering him up and being positive and make him happy. (Go on a date, have a nice dinner or day together, go on a walk. If you’re long distance, video chat and make stupid faces, send baby pictures (ALWAYS worked for me) do some online gaming together, roleplay, etc)
    …Or be honest and tell him it’s in his best interest for him work this out himself. Tell him he needs to be confident and then say you’re there for him but that he needs to work through them.
    If all else fails, pray for him. That always makes me feel better. Hope this helped!

  • Helena

    If I say that I’m tired of him acting like that. He just tells me to go find someone better. What do I do?

  • Corinne

    Thank you so much for this article!!, I will take your advice and see how it goes.

  • Gabbie

    This is really great advice! Thank you so much!

  • kirsten

    Thank you for this article
    Reading this helped me out a lot

  • Sofie

    What I used to say to my bf when he would go on tangents like that is “Hey, that’s my boyfriend you’re talking about! Nobody disses my boyfriend!”

  • Cassidy

    “You have to love yourself before you love another!”