What to do about self-love deficit disorder

Are you among those people who tend to neglect their own needs in order to take care of their loved ones?

Don’t be scared, but if that’s the case, then you might be suffering from self-love deficit disorder.

In fact, that’s something I learned about myself recently. I was just trying to find more information about codependency in relationships, but a simple dialogue with a modern-day shaman made me realize I was actually suffering from self-love deficit disorder.

Luckily, I also found out how to recover from self-love deficit disorder, and I’m already working on it.

So, if you also struggle with this condition and are wondering what to do about self-love deficit disorder, let me share some practical tips to get started.

What is self-love deficit disorder?

Let’s start by explaining what “self-love deficit disorder” is because it’s a pretty controversial issue.


Because even if you’re familiar with psychological concepts and understand medical or mental health syndromes pretty well, chances are that you are unaware of this condition.

The reason is that self-love deficit disorder is not a recognized mental illness. But guess what?

This concept has been widely publicized in recent years. As a matter of fact, self-love or the lack of it is a hot topic. Almost everyone knows someone who struggles with their self-image.

Now you might naturally wonder: “what is self-love at all?

Well, self-love means holding positive and realistic views of yourself as an individual, rather than measuring your worth by comparing yourself to others or viewing yourself through the lens of past mistakes.

Sadly, many people do not have an appropriate level of self-love, which can lead to all kinds of problems in life.

The result?

They might end up developing self-love deficit disorder.

This is especially common with people who experience codependency in relationships.

Codependency is another harmful condition that means being dependent on the other person, whether it’s someone you’re romantically involved with or your friend.

In fact, self-love deficit disorder is a common consequence of codependency. It’s a condition that results from a lack of self-love.

As a result of this condition, people neglect their own needs and focus more on the needs of others.

The problem is that people with self-love deficit disorder often don’t realize they have this condition and think they’re actually helping.

They basically ignore their own needs in order to help someone else, but in reality, they end up harming themselves and creating even bigger problems for themselves and those around them.

Needless to say that the symptoms of self-love deficit disorder are indications that something is not quite right and requires attention to correct it.

So, if this sounds familiar, then you probably need to take action before it’s too late!

How to recover from self-love deficit disorder?

As I mentioned above, I discovered I was suffering from self-love deficit disorder recently.

It took me some time to realize it because I really thought I was helping my loved ones by taking care of them all the time.

But soon I came up with the concept of “codependency” and realized that this was something that was going on with me. So, I started to find ways to explore this condition and how to recover from it.

Fortunately, in the process of exploring codependency, I accidentally found a free masterclass on Love and Intimacy. It’s an incredible video where modern-day shaman Rudá Iandê provides practical solutions to master the art of living a joyful and fulfilling life.

Sounds impressive, right?

That’s why I decided to take further steps and follow his advice.

It turns out that healthy relationships always start with an adaptive attitude toward yourself. Whether it’s your friendship, romantic relationship, or family, you need to focus on the relationship you have with yourself.

This masterclass actually filled me with multiple inspiring insights and allowed me to learn how to reflect on myself, focus on my thoughts, and build a healthy relationship with myself.

Of course, as a result, I found ways to overcome self-love deficit disorder and get free of codependency in relationships.

So, if you also want to find practical solutions to deal with self-love deficit disorder, I recommend starting with watching this free video.

Check out the free video here.

And now let me share some tips that helped me recover from self-love deficit disorder.

1) Start listening to your needs

Do you know what’s the most basic step you can take to deal with self-love deficit disorder is?

It’s listening to your needs.

And I mean really listening to them. Not just pretending to listen or making sure you don’t hear them. But really listening.

You know, like when you’re sitting in a quiet room and you hear the birds chirp outside? Or when you can hear the mouse scratching in your walls?

Listening to your needs is actually similar to this. It means being aware of your needs and then listening to them.

Sounds easy, right?

It’s not. At least for me, it wasn’t at first.

I was used to ignoring my needs or pushing them away because I thought that focusing on others was what I should do in a relationship.

And it took me quite a while to learn how to listen to my needs and start taking care of them instead of others.

But trust me, once you start doing it, you will feel so much better about yourself, and that will help you regain your symptoms of self-love deficit disorder.

So here’s the first thing you need to do to recover from self-love deficit disorder:

Start paying attention to your needs.

Realize that prioritizing your needs will help you stop feeling guilty for taking care of yourself.

And it’ll help you become more aware of triggers for self-love deficit disorder, like feeling responsible for other people’s emotions or being afraid of disappointing someone.

The result?

You’ll soon find that paying attention to your needs is actually a way of caring for others.

This is because you’ll be more able to give your loved ones what they need from you, instead of just doing what they want from you.

2) Don’t be afraid of saying “no”

pexels cottonbro studio 6484972 What to do about self-love deficit disorder

Listening to your needs is closely intertwined with not being afraid to say “no.”

But let me take a wild guess.

If you’re struggling with the symptoms of self-love deficit disorder, then chances are that more often than not, you don’t have enough strength to say “no.”

As psychologists prove, most of the time, it’s related to the fear of rejection. And this fear actually limits a wide range of personal and professional situations, such as a job interview, a date with someone you like, and even a confrontation with your boss.

And you know what?

This is one of the most common symptoms of self-love deficit disorder.

That’s why I believe that the next step in overcoming self-love deficit disorder is to learn how to say “no.”

As a matter of fact, if you’re not saying “no” when your needs are in conflict with the needs of others, then chances are that you neglect yourself in favor of others.

But here’s the thing.

When you don’t say “no,”  then it’s pretty obvious that there’s something wrong with your self-love tank. You’re simply not able to love yourself enough to set boundaries and say “no” when necessary.

And that’s why you keep on neglecting yourself and your needs for the sake of others.

So, what should you do about it?

Start by saying “no” a little more often than usual. In fact, if your loved ones ask you to do something that is not aligned with your needs, then just say no! It might be a little bit difficult at first, but take your time!

If you feel the need to explain yourself, then do it. But once you’ve said “no,”  don’t go back on it.

Believe me, the sooner you learn to say “no” to the things you don’t have time or energy to do, the sooner you’ll recover from self-love deficit disorder.

3) Set healthy boundaries with your loved ones

While saying “no” to things you don’t want to do is the beginning of recovering from self-love deficit disorder, it’s not everything.

Because the next step is to set healthy boundaries with the people around you so that they can understand what you’re capable of doing and what you’re not.

Now you might wonder:

  • Why does it matter to set boundaries?
  • What if it negatively affects your relationships?
  • What if it makes you look like a selfish person?

Well, believe it or not, according to therapists, setting healthy boundaries with your partner will only make your relationship stronger.

How so?

The truth is that boundaries help you know when someone is trying to cross your line and intrude on your personal space.

They also help you know when you’re trying to cross someone else’s line and intrude on their personal space.

Boundaries are about respecting yourself and the people around you, so you need to set them with your loved ones as well.

You might want to start by saying “no” to the things you don’t have time or energy to do, and you can then set boundaries with your loved ones.

For example, you could tell your loved ones that you only have time and energy to listen to their feelings once a week, so they need to save the rest for the following week.

And this is one of the most efficient ways to deal with self-love deficit disorder without losing important people in your life.

4) Stop neglecting yourself in order to take care of others

Still, most times, we focus so much on other people’s needs that we forget about our own.

This is one of the core issues for those suffering from self-love deficit disorder.

It’s not that we don’t love ourselves, it’s just that we’re so used to taking care of others that we forget about our own needs, too.

And when you’re not taking care of yourself, you become a victim of self-love deficit disorder.

So, here’s the thing: never sacrifice your needs!

If you want to recover from self-love deficit disorder, it’s important that you start taking care of yourself.

Okay, I know what you might be thinking right now.

You might feel like if you don’t sacrifice your needs for the ones of others, you’ll end up hurting them.

But that’s not true.

And that’s actually a sign you need to set boundaries with your loved ones.

In fact, this is because the only person you can actually control is yourself. You can’t control how others feel or how they’re going to react to your actions.

And that means you don’t have to sacrifice your needs for those of others. You just have to make sure you don’t violate other people’s boundaries while staying true to your own needs.

But how can you start neglecting yourself?

Practice self-compassion and stop comparing yourself to others!

According to Kristin Neff, Ph.D., and author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, self-compassion is “being kind and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, making the same kind of choices we make toward others in similar situations.”

To be honest, self-compassion is the topic on which I recently conducted research, and it turns out that it has a positive correlation with psychological well-being.

So, if you struggle with self-love deficit disorder, then it might be a good idea for you to learn how to practice self-compassion.

5) Don’t judge yourself based on others’ expectations

Want to know what the most common mistake people with self-love deficit disorder make?

They judge themselves based on what others expect from them.

This is a big no-no.

It’s a big mistake you should never make if you want to regain your self-love and improve your relationships with others.

In fact, this is the very reason people often end up in codependent relationships. They try to please their partners, but they end up becoming needy and manipulative in the process.

I know you might feel like you always have to be this type of person. You might feel like you always have to conform to someone else’s expectations.

But do you know where this is coming from?

Well, the answer is that you might have internalized some negative messages from your past.

However, when you stop judging yourself based on others’ expectations and start being more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll soon start feeling more confident and happy with who you are.

So, next time you feel like you need to do something for someone else, just ask yourself: “What do I really want?”

And remember: don’t let anyone else define your standards and expectations of yourself.

6) Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses

pexels tima miroshnichenko 5336943 What to do about self-love deficit disorder

As I’ve just mentioned, another helpful way to overcome self-love deficit disorder is to know your strengths and weaknesses.

You see, when you don’t know your real self—or even if you don’t really like it—you can’t do anything about it.

That’s why another step toward self-love is to learn about your strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if you have a hard time saying no to other people, you should start working on that area of your life.

And if you are not able to make decisions for yourself, then it might be an idea to start making them more often.

In either case, you need to become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

How can this help you overcome self-love deficit disorder?

Well, accepting your strengths and weaknesses will help you realize that you are not perfect, and that’s a good thing.

It will also help you understand that there is no need to be perfect because when you try to be perfect, you make many mistakes instead.

And this, in turn, will help you to stop feeling like you have to be the person you think others want you to be.

You might think you have to be someone who’s confident, successful, and happy all the time, but that’s just not true.

Or that you have to be someone who’s selfless, strong, and resilient in every situation.

Again, that’s not true either.

You just need to be the person you want to be, not the person someone else wants you to be.

Believe me, you’ll know who you are when you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

7) Stop comparing yourself with others

If you’re suffering from self-love deficit disorder, I bet that you tend to compare yourself with others a lot.

When you compare yourself with others on the outside, you don’t even realize that you’re comparing yourself with the person that you want to be.

It’s called the false self-image, and it’s something we all have. We all have a false self-image of how we want to be, and then we try to become that person.

But you know what?

If we stop comparing ourselves with others, we also stop comparing our false self-images with what people portray on Facebook or Instagram. And if we stop doing that, then I think life will get better for everyone.

The thing is that once you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and accept them, you can stop comparing yourself with others.

So, if you want to recover from self-love deficit disorder, then stop comparing yourself with others and start accepting who you are.

I know this might sound a bit confusing, but I promise it’s not as complicated as it sounds at first glance.

8) Change your mindset about love and relationships

And the final tip that I want to share with you about what to do about self-love deficit disorder is to change your mindset about love and relationships.

When I struggled with self-love deficit disorders, I always thought that loving someone else meant that I didn’t love myself enough.

I thought that I had to constantly sacrifice my needs in order to take care of my loved ones and make them happy.

But the truth is, you can love others and love yourself at the same time. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself for others, and you shouldn’t do it if you don’t want to.

I learned about this when I was listening to the masterclass about Love and Intimacy that I mentioned above.

Rudá Iandê’s advice helped me realize that we should bring balance into our lives and take care of our loved ones while taking care of our own needs as well.

And I believe that this is the only way people should treat each other – with love, respect, and compassion.

So, stop thinking you’re not good enough.

When you love yourself and believe in yourself, you will stop thinking that your loved ones aren’t good enough for you.

You need to learn to respect yourself and value what you have to offer.

Such a mindset about love and relationships will indeed help you to build happy and fulfilling relationships and, most importantly, overcome self-love deficit disorder.

I’m sure that it will also help you to actually start loving yourself!

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you realize that self-love is an essential part of life.

Fortunately, as you can see, there are several things you can do about self-love deficit disorder, whether you believe you have it or are just looking for ways to improve your connection to yourself.

So, start listening to your needs, try to become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and stop judging yourself based on others’ expectations.

With these tips, I’m sure you’ll be able to recover from self-love deficit disorder and make sure you’re putting yourself first!

Picture of Nato Lagidze

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.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.