By Tony Jackson
We have all heard how important it is to love ourselves. How can someone else love us if we can’t do it for ourselves? I have read numerous blogs, articles, and posts about how to love ourselves better, but I wondered what it looks like when we don’t have that self-love. If I asked the question, “Do you love yourself?” how many would actually know? So, this read is about recognizing when you lack self-love.
An individual who doesn’t love themselves like they should may make damaging decisions that are difficult to see until the consequences are too great. These decisions are sometimes related to personal and professional relationships, and can manifest as individuals who are dependent upon others for validation. When we rely on another person’s approval, we can lose focus on our own needs, which can lead us to sacrifice our beliefs to accommodate others. This can lead us to have little, if any, self-worth. What about your own basic needs? Your taste in music, food, politics, or where you go to relax are all examples of needs. If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel you never get to do what you want, you may have issues surrounding self-love.
Are you still hung up on the past? Have you healed from that relationship that ended two years ago? Those who do not love themselves first usually face these challenges since being unable to rebuild yourself can be an indicator of not loving yourself. Look at the relationships you’ve had. Did you come out of them thinking it was you that caused their demise, basically blaming yourself? Or do you see them as learning experiences, and realize that even though you made mistakes, you wouldn’t completely change for any relationship? Did you stand your ground and demand that your needs be met, too? The need to repair ourselves also applies to other areas of life, like getting fired or getting an “F” on an assignment; these do not make us worthless and label us as failures for life. Having self-love is crucial when we need to pick ourselves up.
A lack of self-love can lead us to want people or things that are not good for us. You want to be with that person so you feel good about yourself or change how people see you. That person could be an ex-girlfriend you know is bad for you, but you do it anyway even though it may go against your beliefs and needs, because you’re missing something or need to be accepted. Some say any relationship is better than being alone, but the amount of work it takes to keep a relationship alive can take a toll on our psyche and have other negative consequences like co-dependency. Depending on others for approval is a learned behavior and people who are in unequal and emotionally (sometimes physically) abusive relationships are often co-dependent.
Someone who lacks self-love may look very similar to someone who has self-esteem issues. They look externally for people or things to make them feel better. It is hard to be ourselves, but especially difficult for people who lack self-love, which can lead us to withdraw socially and focus only on negative aspects of our lives. Recognizing these characteristics can be an essential first step in understanding that you lack self-love and can help you determine if you need to take steps to make the necessary changes in your life. If you find yourself wanting to love and accept yourself more, go for it! It is empowering to make changes in our lives and can open and improve other areas of our lives as well. Take that step and make the change because it is a life changer and possibly saver!