Do you lack self-love? If you do, it could be affecting more aspects of your life than you may be aware of.
Perhaps you struggle to find love, don’t feel like other people see your worth, or generally don’t perceive yourself as significant. A lack of self-love plays a huge role in all of these scenarios.
Know that you are significant and worthy of love, praise, and time. And remember, people can only love you as much as you love yourself.
Once you like and love yourself, these things will become clear to you and others.
In this article, you will learn:
- What self-love is and why you should practice it
- Possible reasons why you don’t love yourself
- Six steps to loving and accepting yourself unconditionally
Let’s get started by exploring what exactly self-love is.
What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is an unshakable belief in your worthiness. Without self-love, you may always feel that you are not good enough, no matter how much you accomplish or how others may value you.
By not providing yourself with self-love, you may be subconsciously sabotaging yourself. This can cause you to feel disconnected from the things that matter most in life.
When you allow yourself to have self-love, love will always be available to you and will never fade, tire, or disappoint you.
Many people mistake loving yourself as having a large ego or being narcissistic. However, this is only true with radical self-love.
The world needs you to love yourself.
When you have self-love, it doesn’t mean that you perceive yourself as superior to others. Rather, it gives you the ability to help change the world positively through love.
By learning to love yourself, you will discover the inherent value you have to offer others. You will give others your love and support to help build their confidence because you have already discovered how to give it to yourself first.
Now that we know what self-love looks like, we can explore the possible root causes of a lack of self-love.
Why Don’t You Love Yourself?
While you may understand self-love as a concept, this doesn’t mean you necessarily feel it. To turn this around, you must first understand what caused you to stop loving yourself in the first place.
While there are many possible causes of a lack of self-love, the following are the most common:
As you move through life, things happen that can alter your perception of yourself—many of which are positive and serve to give you confidence, compassion, and happiness.
However, many experiences harm how you see yourself. It’s safe to say that every person has fallen victim to negativity bias once or twice in their life. Unfortunately, this can make people focus more on the negative experiences than anything positive.
Some negative events can leave wounds that won’t heal for decades. Those are wounds that close up only to reopen time and time again, for example, a failed or toxic relationship.
What’s worse is that many experiences take away your self-love, such as deep-rooted pain from a traumatic childhood. If you cannot deal with these experiences effectively, you might find yourself in a resentful state. In that condition, developing self-love may seem like an impossible challenge.
Feeling guilt for past mistakes
Each of us will make a mistake at some point in our lives. It’s all part of being human. Unfortunately, however, many people can’t get over their past mistakes, whether it be wronging another person or not fulfilling an expectation you had of yourself.
These situations may be so hurtful that you start punishing yourself. In most cases, the punishment is the feeling that you don’t deserve any love.
You see, forgiveness is tricky, and most people forgive others more easily than they forgive themselves. This creates negative self-talk that makes people cling to every mistake they make. And since most of us inevitably make more and more mistakes as we go through life, it will only get worse.
Generally speaking, there’s no benefit to living in the past. And if there are past mistakes that you can’t let go of, the guilt will keep you from moving forward and awarding yourself the forgiveness and love that you deserve. If you need to develop the ability to forgive yourself and free yourself from the burden of guilt, visit our article on the five steps to forgiveness.
Constant anxiety about others’ opinions
There’s nothing wrong with trying to build an appealing image of yourself. After all, it’s easier to feel good about yourself when others see you in a positive light. But that doesn’t have to go to the extent of living your life on other people’s terms.
We have to deal with the expectations of our family, friends, co-workers, and other people that we encounter. All these outside influences and the pressure we feel can cause many people to go beyond what’s necessary to make their lives conform to people’s perceptions.
What do you think would happen if you tried to please everyone, hoping that they’ll have a positive opinion of you?
Firstly, you’d be living an inauthentic life. You’d spend most of your time doing things you don’t want to do just to get other people’s approval.
Over time, it would be easy to forget what you want, and you won’t be able to love yourself if you don’t know who you are. As you lose yourself while conforming to the expectations of others, you also lose love and respect for yourself.
To make matters worse, obsessing over the opinions of those around you is very addictive. After you get a feel for it, it can be very hard to make choices that serve you and to ignore external influences. This obsession invades your thoughts and feelings and can make you live your life according to other people’s wants. That’s going to make it very hard to find and develop self-love.
Comparing yourself to others
It’s never been easier to compare yourself to others. Nowadays, it’s as easy as opening up a social media app on your phone where you’re likely to see happy faces in what appear to be more interesting lives, filled with exotic travels and so forth that presumably define a perfect life.
This is a growing concern surrounding social media and can cause people to have a warped perception of other people’s lives and make unhealthy comparisons with their own.
Think about it…
When was the last time you paid attention to a post about someone’s emotional distress, job loss, or other negative experience?
Certainly nowhere near as frequently as those happy faces. That’s likely because these posts will not get as many likes, and some people ignore them for fear of getting depressed themselves.
When all you see is happiness and ideal lives, it’s easy to think that you’re missing something. Jealousy can kick in, consciously or otherwise.
Your self-esteem and overall happiness can go down over time. For example, you might become unable to love yourself because your life is not worth as many posts on social media as others. On top of a lack of self-love, it can also have a very negative effect on your mental health as a whole.
You’ve not yet found the support you need
You might have learned by now that self-love isn’t something that happens by default. Instead, it’s a skill that you must learn.
However, there’s no perfect method for doing this. There might be tools and methods that work for other people, but they might not work the same for you.
That’s what happened to Mariel Jones, who was battling fears, anxiety, and confidence issues for a very long time. She had tried books, blogs, meditation, and many other things, yet nothing seemed to be working.
It wasn’t until Mariel watched a webinar from globally acclaimed therapist Marisa Peer that she managed to turn her life around. Mariel has the following to say about it:
‘The way you have articulated the webinar made me feel a sense of who I used to be and who I want to be again …but better. I can’t wait to start your I am Enough program. Thank you, Marisa.’
Unfortunately, most people have yet to find the support they need on their self-love journey. This can result in frustration and hopelessness, strengthening the belief that loving oneself is impossible.
That cannot be further from the truth.
Not only is self-love possible, but it’s also easier than most people think. You don’t have to struggle to love yourself. All you need is a few mindset shifts to realize that you are enough.
How To Love Yourself in Six Simple Steps
Now that you’re aware of the most common reasons for not loving oneself, can you recognize your own?
Luckily, it’s possible to fall back in love with yourself. And you can start right now with the following steps:
1. Stop trying to make other people love you
We all need some sort of love. And if we can’t find that love within ourselves, we cling to other people and try to get them to love us.
However, other people can never fill the hole left behind by a lack of self-love.
That’s because people will only love you to the extent that you believe you’re worthy of love.
Making yourself easier to love in other people’s eyes isn’t about being nice, good-looking, or indispensable. Likewise, love isn’t something you should chase after, buy, or trade. Instead, it’s simply how much love you believe you deserve.
Therefore, the first step to self-love is to shift your attention inwards and stop seeking the love of others—at least not by doing things that they expect you to do.
As established above, constantly trying to reshape yourself to fit others’ standards isn’t going to take you places as everyone has their own standard of what’s desirable, attractive, and lovable.
Rather than a constant struggle, love should happen effortlessly. And it will do just that if you begin to see yourself as a lovable person that operates independently of what other people think.
2. Don’t let others control your love for yourself
There’s another thing that happens as a result of you desperately asking people to love you: you give up any control over your self-love.
If you depend on someone else to give you love, you give them all the power, so you’ll be dependent on them to love you and make you feel good about yourself.
Do you know what’s going to happen if that person steps out of your life?
They take all of that love away with them.
Rather than allowing someone to have such power over you, internalize your self-love and gain control of the way you see yourself. Everything in your life will change as a result.
This is the power of internalizing the control of your self-esteem and love. Remember that the longest relationship that you’re going to have in life is the one you have with yourself.
Children will grow up, your parents will likely depart before you, and friends and lovers often come and go.
You are the only person who will be around your whole life. Therefore, the sooner you learn to love that person, the better.
3. Imagine what someone who loves you would say about you (and use that to love yourself)
What do you want to hear about yourself?
Has anybody ever told you something that made you feel loved?
You already know the power of words, and hearing that you’re lovable and important to someone can put you on cloud nine.
But, instead of waiting for someone else to say it, why not say it to yourself?
Again, you are the one person who should find yourself lovable and indispensable. You can, and should, say these words to yourself rather than get them from other people.
Your mind will believe what you tell it. For example, if you say you’re not lovable due to reasons such as your weight or personality, your mind will believe it. It will look for proof, and this negative self-talk will grow stronger and destroy your confidence.
The good news is that your mind does the same when you say something nice to yourself. For instance, if you tell yourself that you’re beautiful, your mind will believe you. You will see that telling yourself that you’re lovable is like nourishing your mind with words.
So, here’s what you can do…
Commit to saying nice things to yourself regularly. It takes time for your mind to rewire and start to believe how lovable you truly are. After all, you didn’t lose your self-love overnight, so it can also take time to learn how to love yourself again.
Pay attention to your self-talk and the words you convey to your mind. Then replace all the negativity with love and you’ll start noticing the love you get in return.
4. Understand that “perfect” doesn’t exist
The world might convince you that only “perfect” people can find love. Furthermore, “perfection” often refers to someone’s physical appearance, as if beauty is more worthy of love.
Despite this, Marisa Peer has worked with many supermodels, Hollywood actors, and other highly desired people who suffered feelings of loneliness. Their lives appeared so perfect that they intimidated other people.
If they managed to find love, these “perfect” people only received distress and disparagement. Their partners, who couldn’t believe their luck with someone so perfect, may try to diminish them in every way.
You have to realize that beauty doesn’t have anything to do with love. Self-love is possible for everyone regardless of status or appearance.
Besides, who gets to decide what perfection is?
Everybody has their own beauty standards, idea of love, and everything else in life. Since there’s no such thing as an objectively perfect person, you must learn to love and accept yourself for who you are to be happy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to take pride in your appearance, but you have to do it from a position of love. Do it for yourself and not anybody else. When you learn to love yourself as you are, any improvement will only result in even more love.
5. Don’t allow damaged people to hurt you
Do you have an example of self-love in your surroundings? Or do you spend time with broken people who are looking for you to put them back together?
Unfortunately, the latter is a lot more common.
It can feel noble and rewarding in a sense to pick up somebody’s pieces and make them whole. But you wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors in doing this.
“Damaged people damage people.”
It’s very hard to love yourself when you have to devote all of your love to someone who doesn’t love themselves.
As mentioned, there is no point in making it somebody else’s job to love you. That means you wouldn’t want this job either. It puts a lot of pressure on you and makes you compromise your own needs in favor of what you can do for the other person.
Therefore, every person is responsible for loving themselves first before others.
6. Let go of what was said to you in the past
We’re all born with the conviction that we’re lovable. Babies wake up in the middle of the night because they need attention in some shape or form. They don’t think about whether they deserve that attention.
Growing up, however, our parents and other people around us can say things that make us feel less lovable. Yours might have compared you to your cousins or peers, for example. Whatever issues your parents possessed, you might have internalized and blamed yourself for them.
The point is, you must have learned not to love yourself for some reason. But this also means that you get to unlearn this and regain the lost self-love.
As you can see, self-love isn’t a state that you either have or don’t have. It’s something that anybody can learn and practice. When you realize this, you’ll see that you have the power to decide how you’re going to feel about yourself.
Remember that you are lovable—even if you don’t feel it at the moment. Moreover, you are worthy of all the love that you give to others. So it’s high time you nourish your mind and soul with unconditional love and acceptance to receive that love yourself.
Of course, it will take time and effort to start loving yourself again. But you’re not alone in this. Discover how you can help transform your life and break down the barriers between you and self-love through the use of Marisa Peer’s self-hypnosis audios, including the best-selling ‘Lovability’ audio course today.