Feeling unloved and worthless? Here I show how to love yourself by sharing my journey of how I learnt to love myself.
Learning To Love And Accept Ourselves
If you are feeling unloved by those you want to love you, you are not alone. Many of us have felt the painful emotion of feeling unloved. We feel cold, dark and empty inside and we can feel lonely, scared, sad, unworthy and unwanted.
I have come across many people, including myself, who are without self-love and are struggling with life because they do not know how to love themselves. I was one of those who struggled with a lack of self-love and I was full of self doubt and I had no understanding of how to begin to love myself and have self love.
As a child, I experienced abuse by those who were suppose to love and take care of me. Instead of love and care from my parents, I was abused and treated as if I were nothing but a nuisance to them and someone who was unlovable and unworthy of love. Like many struggling with self-love, I didn't develop an understanding of how love was suppose to feel so could not cultivate the feeling or understanding of self-love. It was painful and confusing to experience maltreatment from those who were meant to take care of me with love and as a result, I developed many difficulties later in life and I never felt that I was good enough to be loved.
Like many who feel unloved or unlovable, for whatever reason, I had no self respect and did not value myself. And like many who struggle with self love, I struggled to form loving, lasting relationships with others.
In this article I will show you how to love yourself by sharing my own personal experiences of learning to love myself. If you can follow some of the processes I have done to attain self love and understand my message of 'love yourself', you will learn to love yourself and your life will change for the better. I am talking from experience and my life has been transformed because I have learnt to love and accept myself.
I will talk about, why it is important to love yourself, the consequences of not loving myself, and how I started learning to love myself. I will also share my experience of how it feels to self love.
What Is Self Love?
When I first set out on this personal journey of learning to love myself, I had no idea of what was meant by self-love. Self-love felt like an alien concept for me to understand as I had never experienced self love and I had always been taught and believed that I was unlovable and unworthy of love.
What is self-love? Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself and having a high regard for our own well-being and happiness. Self-love is about accepting our-self as we are, with all our imperfections in this very moment for everything that we are.
Self-love is about caring for our-self and about taking actions that feel good and that support our physical, emotional and spiritual growth. Self-love means taking care of ourselves by identifying our needs, making sure our needs are met and not sacrificing our needs and well-being to try and please others by putting their needs first.
Self-love is about being kind to ourselves, talking to ourselves with respect and treating ourselves with love and compassion. It's about being true and honest to ourselves about how we feel and what we need and not being afraid to honour those needs.
Self-love is about connecting to our inner self, calibrating our inner and outer being so that our subconscious and conscious needs are in agreement and alignment, without self doubts disturbing the connection.
Self love is about doing what pleases us and what feels good to ourselves. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve and knowing that we all deserve to be loved and live a happy life. Self-love is a natural state and not as I was taught and believed, a selfish action.
Self-love is having the ability to forgive ourselves for wrongs we have done or think we have done and being able to forgive others that might have hurt us. It's about accepting ourselves just the way we are and having respect for ourselves by caring for our physical and mental health and setting healthy boundaries.
Self-love can mean different things for each person because we all have many different needs and ways to take care of ourselves. Figuring out what self-love looks like for you as an individual is an important part of your mental health.
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What does self-love mean to you?
When we believe and feel we are unloved by either our parents, family, partner, children or friends, we are without self love. Feeling unloved and worthless is a painful, scary and lonely place to be in. When we believe we are unloved and we feel unloved, the emotional feeling behind the negative belief, 'I am unlovable' is evident and can be a physical pain as well as an emotional pain. We feel the only way to feel loved is to get the love we need from another and we feel and believe that we have to earn that love by trying to please others.
I have felt unloved and have made myself physically sick out of neediness and desperation to please others so that they will reward me with love. I have felt depression and anxiety and I have felt emotionally drained through being so desperate to be loved and to feel loved.
We all have a need to feel loved whether we are conscious of that need or not. Our emotions, which are our inner guides, reveals to us whether our need to feel loved is being met or not. When our needs are not met we can feel anger, frustration, sadness and confusion and this drives us to be more needy and desperate.
When we have a need for love and attention we become needy and feel that the only way to get love and care is from someone outside ourselves. When we feel needy it means that we have disconnected from our innate ability to love ourselves.
Neediness in a romantic relationship is when a needy person cannot feel love within and expects another to make them happy by fulfilling demands being put on them.
When we are in a state of neediness we depend on others to save us. When we feel needy it is because we feel someone else can fill our needs and make us feel happy. Dependency on getting our needs met by another is felt because we have unresolved loss from the past we have not recovered from or we have a negative belief about our self.
The more dependent we are on receiving love from another, the more we are likely to use guilt trips, manipulation and emotional blackmail by being sad and unhappy in an effort to make the other love us more. When we are dependent on the love of another we will use our emotions as weapons. Using emotions as a weapon just makes us less attractive and feel like a burden to others.
Why We Need Self Love
We need self love because when we love ourselves we have genuine love to give to others and then we are able to give love from a loving place. Being loved, even by ourselves, gives us the reassurance that we will be cared for and helped in times of need. When we feel self love we can deal with adversity quicker and we reassure ourselves that everything will be okay.
When we love and appreciate ourselves we find others love and appreciate us. With self love, we have a greater life satisfaction as we acknowledge our needs and honour those needs which helps us to feel appreciation for ourselves which in turn helps us to appreciate life more.
Loving ourselves raises our self esteem so we can enjoy life and have a positive attitude about our future. Self love motivates us to live healthily, take care of our physical and mental health and adopt healthy habits.
We express self love by respecting and honouring our own needs and desires and by doing things that make us feel good and feel our best. The little voice inside our head is loving, kind and forgiving of our mistakes instead of being critical and hurtful.
When we are in mental pain it is our bodies way of letting us know that our basic emotional needs are not being met. We might have a need for acknowledgement, a need for recognition, for security, belonging, comfort or care. Waiting for something or someone from the outside to fulfil our needs and desires will never work because what we seek comes from within.
We need to learn to love ourselves because we can search and search for the person that we think will give us the love and security we need to feel safe and secure but the truth is, the love we need and look for can only come from within.
No matter how desperate for love we think we are, in reality we have all the love we need inside of us and we need to find a way to learn to identify and listen to the love within and learn to love ourselves or we could be seen as needy.
Consequence Of Not Loving Myself, My Experience
For a long time, I wanted and needed to feel acknowledged, loved and respected but never felt it because I had no love or respect for myself. My negative beliefs about myself that I was unworthy of love meant that I felt selfish for having the need to feel loved and cared for. I felt greedy for wanting to feel loved and for wanting my basic needs met. I wanted to be happy but put up with my unhappiness so that I did not feel guilty or selfish by wanting what I knew I needed to feel, which was to feel loved and happy. I had to learn that it is not wrong to want your needs met even if your needs are different from others around you.
I was consumed with guilt for not appreciating what I did have even though what I had brought no happiness. Guilt had a negative impact on my physical and mental health as I was made to feel guilty for having any needs of my own.
As a consequence of not loving myself, I put the needs of others before my own needs in an attempt to please and I became a hard core people pleaser. I adapted my behaviour to fit others expectations of me and never felt good about myself.
I was easily manipulated by others and disgusted with myself that I could never say no even when I wanted to say no. I allowed myself to be used by others and was self loathing.
I was a scapegoat for the problems of others and often took the blame for their wrong doing, taking the responsibility and the punishment because I felt that I could cope with punishment better than others.
I lived life like a puppet doing in life what I thought I should doing, or believed I should be doing including, getting married, being in abusive relationships, working jobs that did not make me feel good about myself until I got arthritis, cancer and other disabilities, and then I thought my role in this life was to just carry on in this way and wait for the end to come to put me out of my misery.
Happiness and joy was never a part of my life and I did not expect happiness. Until I learnt to love myself, I did not enjoy life.
Not loving myself meant that I was full of self doubt and self hatred for not being good enough, intelligent enough, good looking enough and many other negative beliefs about myself which held me back from reaching my full potential and true happiness.
It is not possible to be truly happy if you don’t love yourself because you feel unworthy and undeserving of happiness. To love yourself isn’t arrogant, selfish or unattractive like I was taught.
When we are not being loving towards ourselves, we feel unhappy when we are supposed to be enjoying life. We feel lonely, scared, depressed, anxious and all the negative emotions we can feel and we cannot see our value. We might be having not so nice thoughts about ourselves and might be silently berating ourselves or calling ourselves derogatory names like 'stupid'. That inner voice can be cruel when we believe we are unloved because we hear lots of statements and words coming from our own thoughts and negative beliefs about ourselves that seem to be the truth and evidence of our unworthiness.
All my relationships were abusive because I did not feel or believe myself worthy of anything better. I was accepting of the abuse in the hopes of snippets of love that I might receive. I was beaten by my partners for years because my self-esteem was so low and I did not believe someone like me deserved better.
Learning To Love Myself and Identifying my Needs
Learning to love myself did not come easy and it did not happen overnight. There were times along the journey of learning to love myself that I sabotaged the good that began happening in my life because I felt guilty for having good in my life. Whenever I messed up as I call it, I would be consumed with guilt, anger and disrespect for myself. I wanted to give up and accept that I was not worthy and that life was never meant to be good for me. During these times I found that it is important not to give in and give up on myself.
In the beginning, I did not know how to feel worthy of love and felt unlovable. I had to learn how to love and believe in myself, believe that I was worthy and believe in the power of self love. I developed self respect by cutting away from people who showed disrespect for me or themselves and situations that made me feel bad about myself. I refused to be manipulated by others who tried to make me feel guilty so that I would do what they wanted and I learnt to say no. I found that if you love yourself first, love and respect of others will follow.
I learnt to identify my negative beliefs about myself and there were many. I had to learn to identify the critical inner voice and stop calling myself names like, 'Stupid', Worthless', 'Ugly' and so on. No one was calling me these names but myself and I no longer accept that kind of internal talk. Loving myself meant that no more would I accept abuse from anyone, not even myself because I am worth more than that.
I learnt to identify my needs and make sure my needs were met without guilt. Some of my needs involved moving to a warmer climate to deal with the Raynauds Phenomenon that I was experiencing. This meant moving away from my family and grandchildren which was a very difficult decision to make. My body needed to feel warm and feel the sun and I lived in a cold part of England where I never felt warm and to be true to myself, I needed to honour my needs and be honest about what I needed.
Another need I had was not to have to celebrate the Christmas period that I dread. In the past and when my children were younger I admitted to a family member my fear and distress at the thought of having to deal with the Christmas period and all that it entailed. I was called selfish for not wanting to celebrate and I kept my fear to myself for the next forty years. Now I know that it is important for me to acknowledge my fear of Christmas and do what pleases me instead of living in fear and guilt.
What needs do you have that you are not honouring or respecting?
Emotional Guidance Compass
I became aware of my thoughts and feelings and developed my emotional guidance compass. I found that we all have an internal, emotional compass and if the compass is facing the wrong direction and away from goals and experiences that make us feel good, happy and positive the body and mind will let us know because we feel bad.
Our is emotional compass is our emotional guide and when we are facing our compass in the way we want to go in life, life becomes a life worth living. When we can use our emotions as guides, we can feel motivated, excited, exhilarated, worthy, grateful valued and loved if our compass is being acknowledged.
Although there are many emotions and feelings we can experience, I suggest that we can either feel good or we can feel bad. When we feel bad we know that we are not being loving towards ourselves and either we are having negative thoughts, believing our own negative beliefs, or, we are allowing ourselves to be in a situation that does not feel good and our emotional guidance system is letting us know we are off track, we are pointing in the wrong direction and our compass needs redirecting.
We recognise when we are not feeling so good or we are out of alignment by stopping and taking a few seconds to become aware of how we feel and asking, how do I feel right now? Good? Bad? Confused? Negative? If your feelings have changed, your compass has changed which means you are going in the wrong direction of what is going to make you feel good about life. When valued and used in the way they are meant to be, our emotions guide, energize, motivate, and connect us. They tell us what we want, what we need, and what we should avoid.
How Does It Feel To Self-Love?
It feels good to self-love and to care about how I feel. I understand that my needs or desires in life are just as important as the needs of others. I give myself love by giving myself what I want and need and feel good about giving to myself. It feels good to respect myself and to be honest about my needs and then respecting and honouring those needs. I feel worthy of receiving and I feel grateful.
I feel lifted in emotional wellness and free of the niggling feeling of anxiety in my stomach brought about by self doubt, guilt and my own negative beliefs about being unworthy.
I feel elated, excited and grateful for finding this emotional feeling of self love that I have found within myself. Finding love for myself means that I am not dependant on getting love back from others to feel happy and the more I love myself and life the more love comes back to me.
I have gratitude for life, for the ability to love myself and of self forgiveness and forgiveness for others. I feel wonderful because I tell myself every day that 'I am enough', 'I am worthy', 'I am loved' and it feels good to feel loved.
I allow myself to receive the good that come my way and I am grateful for all the blessings. I appreciate life and the abundance of love that surrounds me.
I understand that loving myself is not about adapting my needs and behaviours to fit others expectations of me. Its not about giving up my needs to fill the needs of others or to be more pleasing to others. Loving myself is about doing what I want to do in life because it feels good to me to do it.
I believe in myself and know that I am worthy of everything I need from life. I trust in myself and know that I am capable of doing whatever in life I intend on doing. I do not allow self doubt, guilt or unworthiness stop me from achieving anything I want to achieve. I am honest with myself about how I feel and I know that I am a truly loving person.
How To Love Yourself
We begin self-love with self-care and this means not taking the easy path to try and deal with the feelings of a lack of self-love with drugs, alcohol, stress, white lies, busyness, bad relationships, external validation, and pretend happiness.
Identify and be aware of your negative beliefs. When we have negative beliefs we can hear ourselves tell ourselves, we cannot have, do, or experience what we truly desire because we are not worthy. We need to stop with the self criticism and stop criticising others because what we sow we shall reap. Only put loving thoughts out there.
Loving yourself means to focus on yourself and your needs and to feel worthy enough to honour those needs.
Believe in yourself and do not listen to the negative opinions of others about yourself. If you were told, like I was, that you are worthless or unworthy in anyway, know that it is a lie because every single human being is worthy of love. Believe me when I say it was a lie.
If you are critical of yourself and tell yourself you're not worthy, you have a negative belief. Identify your negative beliefs. Listen to yourself whenever you are feeling bad and catch those negative beliefs that ruin your life. Write them down.
Identify Negative Beliefs
Replace every negative thought you identify with a positive affirmation. Everything you believe about yourself came about through repetition, through repeating a negative statement over and over until you believed it. The same can happen with the use of a positive affirmation and by constantly repeating a positive affirmations to yourself you can change your own beliefs. Whenever you here your inner talk not being very nice to you, change what is being thought to a positive affirmation and repeat the affirmation as often as you can. With repetition of the positive affirmation you will eventually believe it to be true.
You are worthy and you are worthy of love and respect so do not let anyone, including yourself disrespect you. Have the courage to refuse to be disrespected because you are worth so much more. Don't allow your own thoughts and beliefs to disrespect you and make you feel anything less than feeling loved.
Learn to treat yourself like someone worthy of love, respect, and compassion and your life will flow more effortlessly, abundantly, and joyfully than you can imagine. Be true to yourself and be honest with how you truly feel.
Keep a Journal
When you feel less than loving towards yourself, write down your negative thoughts and feelings you are experiencing on one sheet in a journal or on a piece of paper and keep writing about the bad emotions until all your bad feelings have gone.
Turn the sheet and ask yourself how you would like to feel. Next, close your eyes and imagine what it would feel like to have what you want, to feel love and to feel accepted and to have everything you needed. Ask yourself the following questions;
What do I need?
What would make me feel good right now?
What would feeling good look like?
What would it look like, feel like, if I felt good?
Change the way you think and retrain your brain to think more positively because we create our own reality by the thoughts we think. We truly do become what we think about all day long so if you do not like who you are becoming, stop and love yourself and become the best version of yourself. Become who you are meant to be because there will never be another you.
Set Goals For Yourself
Write some goals for yourself and focus on them everyday.
What would you love to do if you had the opportunity?
What have you always wanted to do but never had the courage to do it?
Where would you live if you had the opportunity?
What would you be doing in your life if you truly loved yourself?
Unless we can love ourselves and know what we want from life we just follow the lead of others so take time to discover what you want and need from life in order to feel good. Find out what your needs are and honour those needs.
Write a gratitude diary for 30 days. Write down 5 things a day that you are grateful for. If like me you cannot think of one thing, let me give you some ideas;
I am grateful for life.
I am grateful for my health.
I am grateful for the sun.
I am grateful for ...........
Self Love Creates A Happier Life
When you have self love your life will change for the better. Love is about taking care of yourself with love. Its about not putting up with things and people in life who do not make you feel loved. It is getting real with yourself and knowing what you need from a place of love and not from a place of unworthiness.
You have a purpose in life, find your purpose and the world will be in a better place because you exist. There is no other person alive today is more important than you and you need to accept that. Life is too short for you not to feel the full joy of life. And you only have one chance of life so take it and make the best of it. Do not let fear hold you back from the life you deserve.
Do not let guilt or the fear of what someone else thinks about what you should be doing get in your way of enjoying life because there will be some people in your life who do not agree with your need to love yourself. I have come across those who want be to feel bad or they are jealous of the changes I am making in my life. Some people are not happy that you want to be happy and these are the ones to avoid.
I truly know the fear of feeling of being unloved and I thought I had nothing to offer the world. Now I have found my purpose in life and that was to learn to love myself and to reach out to those who feel unloved and send them love and to remind them they are loved and are worthy of love. We are all worthy of love no matter who has told us differently.
Louise Elcross (author) from Preston on October 23, 2021:
Thank you Bill and I am happy you arrived at the station. I feel that I have finally got there too. I really appreciate you reading.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2021:
This was a long journey for me, but I finally arrived at the station, and it made all the difference in my life. Wonderful message!