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12 reasons why you don’t love yourself (and what to do about it)

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It’s hard to love yourself.

It’s frustrating, it’s exhausting, and it can feel downright hopeless.

But you need to realize one thing:

As a result of constantly putting others’ needs before your own, you’re not living your best life.

Self-love is a term that many people are unable to understand. It can be difficult to find the time and energy to love yourself when life seems so overwhelming.

These 12 reasons why you don’t love yourself will help you better understand self-love, along with some actionable steps on how to start loving yourself more.

12 reasons why you might not love yourself

1) You don’t know what self-love is

Let me ask you a question.

Do you truly understand what self-love is?

Yes, I get it. It sounds a bit trivial. But that’s the question you need to answer if you want to be able to love yourself.

So, what is self-love?

To me, self-love is the foundation of happiness. It is something that we all strive for, but it can be difficult to access.

And also, self-love is the ability to embrace yourself for everything that you are, and it’s your ability to accept your flaws.

It’s knowing that you’re not perfect and that it’s okay. It allows you to be vulnerable without feeling ashamed. It gives you the freedom to shine without feeling judged by others.

And, most importantly, self-love means being comfortable with yourself even if no one else loves you or accepts you as you are.

Now you may wonder why I’m explaining the meaning of self-love instead of saying why you don’t love yourself.

To be honest, this is the main reason. And this is why you should start loving yourself.

I’m not saying that self-love is easy to achieve, but it is achievable. If you’re struggling with loving yourself, there’s a good chance it comes from a lack of understanding of what self-love really means.

2) You care more about what other people think than what you think

How much do you care about what other people think?

I bet you care too much. And this is exactly why you can’t manage to love yourself.

You may be thinking, “What does it matter what other people think?” But that’s the problem. You care too much about what other people think.

You spend so much time worrying about whether or not you’re good enough, or whether or not your opinions are valid, and whether or not you’re doing the right thing. And the truth is that it doesn’t matter in the long run because no one can tell you how to live your life but yourself.

If that’s the case, I’ve got a news flash for you: nobody cares about your well-being except for you.

When you care more about what other people think than what you think, it’s easy to lose sight of your own needs and desires.

You have to start caring about yourself enough so that your well-being is just as important as the next person’s.

Why?

Because when you care too much about what other people think and when it comes to key decisions in your life (like choosing a job, a partner, or a school), you’ll be making the wrong decision.

When you care too much about what other people think, you’ll be following the crowd instead of following your own gut feeling.

If you love your life and want to live it to its fullest potential, then you need to start loving yourself so that you can stop living someone else’s dream and start living yours.

3) You’re afraid of loving yourself

Let me take a wild guess.

You’re afraid that if you love yourself, you’ll be selfish and lose relationships with other people.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

And this is why you don’t love yourself.

You’re afraid of being selfish and loving relationships with other people because you’ve been conditioned to think that loving yourself means that you won’t be able to care about other people anymore.

But let me tell you something: self-love doesn’t mean that you stop caring about other people.

It means that you start caring about yourself more than other people do. And guess what?

This is the right thing to do.

Just forget about the myths about self-love such as

  • It’s selfish
  • “It’s narcissistic”
  • “It means you don’t care about other people”

This is all nonsense.

You shouldn’t be afraid to love yourself. You should be afraid that you won’t love yourself if you don’t love yourself now.

4) You don’t want to hurt anyone else by loving yourself first

Let me ask you a question once again.

Why do you think that loving yourself will affect other people at all?

Believe it or not,

  • If you love yourself, then you’ll be more attractive to other people so they’ll want to be around you.
  • If you love yourself, then your friends and family will start loving you more and more.
  • If you love yourself, then your partner will start loving you more and more.

But if the only reason why your friends and family don’t like themselves is that they’re a bit insecure about their own appearance or they’re feeling inferior in some way, then that’s not a reason to stop loving them because it’s not their fault.

It’s just how they were born. And that doesn’t make them less worthy of being loved by others now.

When you love yourself, it means that you’ll go out of your way to do things for other people.

But this is not selfish. It’s selfless, and it’s actually the opposite of selfishness because when you love yourself, you’re doing things for other people without expecting anything in return.

All of a sudden, it feels like there are two sides to everything: the side that wants to be loved and the side that wants to be selfish.

And guess what? There’s no such thing as a selfish person because every person has a reason to be loved and every person has a reason to be selfish.

5) You think you’re not good enough to be loved

Do you feel like you aren’t good enough or that your life is a huge disappointment?

Don’t worry, it’s not just you.

Everyone has moments of doubt when they look in the mirror, or when they compare themselves to others and their accomplishments. And this is the fact.

I know you might think that you’re not good enough. You might think that you don’t deserve to be loved by other people because of your past mistakes or because of some weird reasons like “I’m too fat” or “I’m not pretty enough”.

But do you know what?

It’s okay. It’s okay for anyone if they can’t love themselves. But that doesn’t mean that they’re unlovable and it doesn’t mean that they can’t find someone who loves them unconditionally.

Everyone has their own story and everyone has their own reasons for being the way they are. And I’m not saying that your past mistakes are a reason to be unloved. In fact, I’m saying that it’s not.

I’m just saying that you have to understand yourself fully before you can learn to love yourself unconditionally.  You have to know your story and find the good in it yourself before you can start loving other people for who they are and what they’ve done for you.

And if you’re one of those people who feel like their life is a huge disappointment, then I think this is the best thing that could happen to you because it means that someone will love your flaws and imperfections more than they love your good qualities.

And this is what unconditional love is all about.

6) You don’t know how to love yourself

Do you have any idea what self-love even looks like in practice?

I doubt you do. And that’s why I’m going to tell you something.

Self-love is not about loving yourself for what you look like or for what you’ve done for other people.

Self-love is not about finding a reason to be loved by other people or finding a reason to be selfish.

Instead, it’s about accepting yourself and loving your flaws, your good qualities, and your bad qualities in all their imperfections.

It’s about understanding that everyone has their own story and everyone has their own reasons for being the way they are.

It’s pretty obvious once you think about it, isn’t it?

But the truth is, you don’t know how to love yourself with all your flaws and imperfections. You don’t know how to accept yourself for who you are and what you’ve done for other people.

You don’t know how to love yourself for who you are and what you’ve done wrong in the past. And it’s because of this that most of the time, you’re always looking for a reason to be loved by other people, especially by your parents or your friends.

Don’t worry. There’s a solution.

You just have to learn how to love yourself unconditionally.

And the only way that you’re going to learn how to do that is by putting yourself first and prioritizing your needs over other people’s needs.

It’s not about loving yourself for what you look like or for what you’ve done for other people. It’s about loving yourself because you deserve it and because nobody else can love you any better than you can love yourself.

7) You think it’s wrong to love yourself

Admit it. You’ve always thought that it was wrong to love yourself.

You think that it makes you selfish to be confident. You think it’s wrong to put yourself first.

You think that it’s not right to love yourself unconditionally because if you do, then you’re putting yourself above other people and making them feel less important than you.

You think that loving yourself is selfish, because if you love yourself, then why would other people want to be with you?

Well, I guess you can’t really say that you love yourself. If you did, then you would be putting yourself first and accepting your flaws and imperfections.

But I don’t think that’s what love is, because if you really loved yourself, then wouldn’t you try to improve yourself?

Wouldn’t you try to change the things that make you feel insecure? Wouldn’t you try to fix what’s wrong? Wouldn’t you want to be with someone who accepts your flaws and imperfections?

In any case, remember: when it comes to the question of whether or not you deserve to love yourself, the answer is yes.

You deserve to love yourself because you’re human, not because there’s anything wrong with being human.

8) You don’t accept yourself for who you are

Now here’s another one.

I can hear your mind thinking: “But I don’t know how to love myself. How am I supposed to do that? ”

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Well, the first thing that you need to do is accept yourself for who you are and what you’ve done for other people. Why?

Because you can’t love yourself if you don’t accept yourself for who you are.

If you don’t accept yourself for who you are, then that means that you’re judging yourself for something that you haven’t done yet.

Think about it. If I asked to be loved for who I am but wasn’t willing to change the things that make me feel insecure or to fix what’s wrong with me, then how would I ever be able to learn how to love myself?

You can’t learn something when your mind is telling you that it’s wrong to do it. You can only learn something when your mind is telling you that it’s right and good to do it.

9) You’re different from your ideal self

Have you ever found yourself saying things like this?

“I want to be a better person. I want to be more lovable. I wish that I had more confidence. ”

Well, if you really wanted to be a better person, then you would try to become the person that you say that you want to become.

But wait a minute.

How is this connected to your ideal self? Or what is the ideal self at all?

In social psychology, the “ideal self” is the concept of the person that you want to be. It’s the idealized version of yourself that you’re trying so hard to become.

The ideal self is the imaginary person that you want to be. It’s the person who has all of the good qualities yet no flaws.

And is there anything wrong with trying to improve yourself?

Well, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a better person.  And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be more lovable. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having more confidence.

But what I do think is wrong is that you’re putting yourself through unnecessary discomfort by trying to become someone else and by trying to change your flaws and imperfections.

Think about it. If you don’t know who you are, then how can you possibly know what type of person you want to become?

Here’s the key: You can’t become someone else if you don’t accept yourself for who you are and accept your flaws and imperfections for what they are.

You can’t love someone else if you’re trying to change them into something different from who they really are.

10) You’re holding on to the past

Did you have significant difficulties in the past?

If so, then let me guess.

You keep thinking about the past so much that it becomes an obstacle in the way of your happiness.

You keep thinking about the past because you’re still trying to change things that happened in the past. You’re still trying to get over the past so that you can move on and be happy with who you are now.

But let me ask you something:

If you haven’t lived through anything yet, how can it be an obstacle in your way?  How can it possibly hold you back from being happy now? How can it possibly prevent you from being happy now?

The truth is that there’s nothing that’s going to stop you from being happy. You have nothing holding you back from being happy, except for yourself. And if anything is holding you back from being happy, it’s you.

11) You don’t know how to take good care of yourself

Does this sound like you?

Then it’s time for a wake-up call: if no one else is going to take care of you, then it’s up to you to do it.

You need to learn how to take care of yourself.

The truth is that we all have a tendency to overwork, over-eat, and over-drink. We’re all guilty of it.

But you should know that there are things that you can do in order to take good care of yourself.

Here’s what I mean:

First, you need to stop comparing yourself with others and stop wishing for things that you don’t have.

And second, you need to stop trying so hard to please everyone else and instead start trying hard to please only yourself.  You need to learn how not to be a slave to other people’s approval and expectations.

If you have problems with your weight, then you need to stop eating and drinking too much. If you have problems with your body, then you need to start exercising. If you’re a smoker, then you need to stop smoking cigarettes.

And these are just simple examples. If there are other things that are preventing you from being happy right now, then it’s time for a change.

12) You keep putting yourself down

Have you ever gone through a period where no matter how hard and diligently you worked on something, it still didn’t work out?

When that happens, we tend to put ourselves down and think of ourselves as failures. It’s natural for us to feel this way because we’re human beings, after all. And as human beings, it’s normal for us to be self-critical.

However, if you keep putting yourself down, then you’re saying to the world that you don’t love yourself.

You’re saying to the world that you don’t like or respect yourself. And if you don’t like or respect yourself, then it’s very likely that no one else will like or respect you either.

But here’s the thing:

You don’t need to put yourself down and think of yourself as a failure. All you need to do is learn how to accept your mistakes and move on. You don’t need to be so hard on yourself because you’re only human. You’re not perfect, and neither are any of us.

And besides, even if you’re not perfect, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you or that you’re a failure.

How can I start to love myself?

Now you’ll be wondering: “How can I start to love myself”?

It might be hard for you at first, but if you want to get out of your comfort zone and learn how to love yourself, then it’s time for a change.

So stick with me here because I’ll show you how in just a moment.

1) Stop thinking negatively about yourself

If you’re constantly thinking negatively about yourself, then it’s going to be very hard for you to accept yourself and love yourself.

Think of all the things that you’ve done in the past and think about how you feel about those things now.

For example, maybe five years ago, you didn’t have your dream job yet. Maybe five years ago, there were some things that you had to do in order to get that job.

And now, even though some things are still preventing you from getting your dream job, it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or a loser anymore, because what’s important is what happens right now.

You need to stop focusing on what you did in the past and start focusing on what you can do right now.

So many of us are always thinking about our past mistakes and failures, but that’s not the way to be happy.

You’re not a failure or a loser if you don’t have your dream job yet. You’re not a failure or a loser if there are some things that you have to do in order to get that job.

It’s only when we forget about our mistakes, failures, and bad experiences that we can start to accept ourselves and love ourselves.

2) Start looking at yourself in the mirror every morning and every evening

Even though it might be hard for you at first, you should start looking at yourself in the mirror every morning and every evening.

If you’re not used to seeing your own reflection, then it might be hard for you to look at yourself in the mirror.

But here’s the thing about looking at yourself in the mirror: you should be able to look at yourself and think, “Wow, I look good today.”

And that’s how you can start loving yourself. If we don’t like what we see in ourselves, then it’s going to be hard for us to accept ourselves and love ourselves.

3) Start doing things that make you feel good inside

It’s okay for you to do things that make you feel good inside, even if it’s something small.

If you’re not used to doing something that makes you feel good on the inside, then it might be hard for you to do it.

But here’s the thing about doing things that make you feel good inside: you should be able to do those things and think, “Wow, I’m really happy right now.”

And that’s how we can start loving ourselves. If we don’t like what we do and how we act, then it’s going to be hard for us to accept ourselves and love ourselves.

4) Forgive yourself for past mistakes, failures, and bad experiences

I get it. You might be mad at yourself because of something bad you did in the past.

But that was in the past, right?

Therefore, it’s okay for you to forgive yourself for past mistakes, failures, and bad experiences. Why?

Because if you don’t forgive yourself for those things that you did in the past, then it’s going to be hard for you to accept and love yourself.

But here’s the thing about forgiving yourself: you should be able to forgive yourself and think of those things that you did in the past as a “learning experience.”

And that’s how we can start loving ourselves. If we don’t like what we did or how we acted in the past, then it’s going to be hard for us to accept ourselves and love ourselves.

So, don’t forget to start accepting your mistakes and move on.

5) Practice self-compassion

Have you ever wondered why you need to become more compassionate toward yourself?

Well, here’s the thing: we need to become more compassionate toward ourselves because we need to learn how to love ourselves.

And that’s why you need to practice self-compassion.

But here’s the thing about practicing self-compassion: you should be able to practice self-compassion and think of yourself as a “wounded child.”

And that’s how we can start loving ourselves. If we don’t like how we act or how we feel inside, then it’s going to be hard for us to accept ourselves and love ourselves. So, make sure you start practicing self-compassion.

6) Don’t compare yourself to others

Sometimes all you need to do is to stop comparing yourself to others.

Because if you keep comparing yourself to other people, then it’s going to be hard for you to accept yourself and love yourself.

But here’s the thing about not comparing yourself to others: you should be able to not compare yourself to others and think of other people as “different.”

And that’s how we can start loving ourselves. If we don’t like how we act or how we feel inside, then it’s going to be hard for us to accept ourselves and love ourselves. So, don’t forget, don’t compare yourself to others.

Final thoughts

Have you already tried everything to love yourself, but it just isn’t working?

If not, keep in mind that the way you treat yourself is how you’ll be treated by others.

If you love yourself, you will feel confident and attractive, attracting positive relationships and experiences. However, if you do not love yourself, then it can lead to a self-esteem issue or low self-confidence.

Remember: self-love is not selfishness.

It’s just the opposite: self-love is what makes you a happy and successful person.

Written by Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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