Do you ever feel lost, unhappy or unfulfilled in life? You may be feeling the consequences of not loving yourself.
Unfortunately, self-love and care are often overlooked in today’s fast-paced culture. With so many distractions and things that falsely promise a short-time high, we fail to have a positive relationship with someone that matters the most: ourselves!
When we don’t love ourselves, it can show up in many different ways and impact every aspect of our lives, including our relationships, career and overall development.
In this article, I’ll explore ten things that happen when you don’t love yourself, which can hopefully be the first step towards transforming your life!
“On a scale of one to ten
I am perfect like I am.”
— Dove Cameron
1) You tend to always put others first (even when you shouldn’t)
Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help other people. Being kind and empathetic are the qualities that make a good person.
However, if you constantly put other people’s needs before yours, you may lose sight of your own.
As humans, we have individual wants and needs that must be fulfilled to ensure our well-being. The famous American psychologist and humanist Abraham Maslow explained this in his theory of the “Hierarchy of Needs.” It’s like a pyramid of priorities, representing what we need for a happy and fulfilling life.
At the bottom of the pyramid, we have our basic needs for survival, but as we move up the pyramid, we feel loved and connected to others.
A person would have to go up certain tiers until they can finally reach the top, which is all about achieving their fullest potential.
Now, why should we put our needs above others? According to Maslow’s theory, we can only move up the pyramid if our lower-level needs are met.
This means that constantly putting other people’s needs ahead of our own can hold us back from becoming our best selves!
So, don’t ever feel guilty about putting your needs first…
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish!
2) You start to doubt yourself and what you can do
Aside from accommodating others’ needs before your own, the lack of self-love would also greatly affect your self-confidence.
When you love someone, you believe in them.
So, when you don’t love yourself, you’ll have doubts. You lose sight of your strengths and talents and question your skills and abilities.
In short, you question your own credibility. Because of that, you may try to avoid certain situations wherein you may face challenges that will help you grow as a person.
You see, self-confidence and self-love go hand in hand. When one of them is missing, you would be more likely to dwell on your flaws and weaknesses, which can result in depressing thoughts and a sense of poor self-worth.
But when you accept and appreciate yourself, you’ll have a good attitude toward life, feel more comfortable in your own skin, and have the courage to follow your dreams!
3) You constantly judge your flaws and decisions
If it’s not a lack of self-confidence, you can become overly critical and harsh on yourself.
In a world where mistakes are judged and people are canceled, living your life and loving yourself can be pretty hard. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Just like you, I had a hard time trying to love myself. I have doubted myself from time to time. I have tolerated unreasonable things and treated myself less than I deserved.
I remember the days and nights when I constantly criticized everything I did and hated myself for not being good enough for others.
I remember the dreadful feeling of being insecure and jealous of other girls who seemed to have their life together.
I remember not loving and treating myself the way that I deserved to be treated.
For a time, I was toxic, and I hated myself for not being able to fit into the standard of society.
I’m not saying I’ve achieved some level of pure enlightenment, but I’m a hell of a lot more confident in my own skin than I used to be.
It took a good bit of work and a lot of self-reflection. My best friend throughout the whole process was…well, myself.
I was only able to access my inner thoughts and feelings by setting time aside to let them materialize in my otherwise frantic and overwrought brain.
I owe a huge amount of my growth to free Self-Healing Meditations such as this one.
Guided meditations are a great place to start if you haven’t dabbled in anything similar before.
And if meditation is already something you do regularly, this particular practice focuses on healing your inner self and learning to embrace all of the bits that make up who you are.
Remember that you are your best advocate, and it’s never too late to treat yourself more kindly.
You won’t regret it!
4) You can’t say NO
And when you constantly question yourself, you can become passive to other people’s demands.
It’s not always easy to say “no.” Just like you, I have a hard time saying it to people, especially to those who are close to me.
Most of the time, I say “yes” for a number of reasons. It could be to avoid confrontation, to finish a conversation, or sometimes, I say yes because I have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)!
Saying yes is easy. But if you really think about it, saying yes could be dangerous if you start to become a people pleaser.
And people-pleasing might result in a lack of boundaries or loss of self-identity.
When we put other people’s needs ahead of our own, we risk feeling resentful and disappointed. We would be looking to others for validation and approval rather than finding it inside ourselves.
Now how does “saying no” connect to the concept of self-love? Well, loving yourself means setting boundaries, which means learning how to say you’re uncomfortable or unwilling to do or say something. When self-love is not present, boundaries are not set.
5) You become overly dependent on other people
What’s connected to being a people-pleaser? Being overly dependent.
Being too dependent on other people is a symptom of not loving yourself enough because it might mean that you don’t trust your own intuition – from making decisions to taking care of yourself, even in choosing what matters most for you!
This might lead to insecurities in your own abilities and worth, so you may rely on others to fill that void.
While it’s natural to seek support and connection from others, being too dependent can prevent you from developing a healthy sense of self and can ultimately hold you back from reaching your full potential.
By learning to love and trust yourself, you can become more self-sufficient and confident, which can help you build stronger relationships and achieve your goals.
6) You don’t believe in compliments
If it’s not over-dependence that you’re experiencing, you might have a hard time accepting credit or compliments, even when they are freely given!
Of course, you don’t want to be the person who’s too full of themselves. Nobody wants to be around someone like that.
But every once in a while, you deserve a pat on the back for doing a good job! External validation, when received in healthy doses, would do wonders for your well-being.
Research said that one of the four aspects of self-love is “self-awareness,” and if you always deflect or shy away from compliments, you lack it.
People who do not love themselves focus on their flaws and what they lack rather than the things they can do and everything else that makes them amazing and worth loving.
As a result, they find it difficult to believe when people see the beauty in them as it does not align with their self-concept.
7) You’ll have relationship problems
Everything that has been listed so far will affect your relationships.
If you don’t love yourself, you will have a hard time giving it to someone else.
After all, we all know the phrase: “You cannot give what you don’t have.”
In order for any relationship to be successful, love should be present, and not just for your partner.
And unfortunately, not a lot of people realize how important it is to love yourself before getting into a relationship.
One of the symptoms is overly seeking validation and attention from others, which can lead to getting caught in toxic relationships.
You may be more prone to put up with abusive behavior or accept less than what you deserve. You can also struggle to set boundaries or effectively communicate your needs, creating an unhealthy cycle of disappointment and frustration.
And if those aren’t bad enough, you could also be more vulnerable to manipulation and control.
If you’re dealing with this right now, have you considered getting to the root of the issue?
You see, most of our shortcomings in love stem from our own complicated inner relationship with ourselves – how can you fix the external without seeing the internal first?
I learned this from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, in his incredible free video on Love and Intimacy.
So, if you want to improve your relationships with others, start with yourself.
You’ll find practical solutions and much more in Rudá’s powerful video, solutions that’ll stay with you for life.
8) You lose sight of your self-worth
Speaking of relationships, one of the things that you might compromise would be the way you see yourself.
People used to be simple. Nowadays, no matter how pretty, how smart or how rich you are, you can still find a reason to hate or not love yourself.
But what most people forget and don’t realize is that no matter how overwhelming or stressful life can get, you should always find time to reflect on your needs. As I mentioned before and cannot stress enough, meditation practices such as this one are key in driving that self-reflection which builds your self-worth.
When you love someone, you see their worth. It’s the same with the concept of self-love.
When you don’t love yourself, you lose sight of who you are and what your worth is as a person. Because of that, you might begin to tolerate unacceptable behaviors and settle for far less than what you wanted.
9) You are prone to develop anxiety and depression
All of these negative emotions and devaluing yourself may lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression.
These are widespread mental health issues that can affect anyone. Anxiety can make you feel worried or nervous all of the time, even if there is nothing to worry about.
You may also become irritable, have difficulty sleeping, or experience physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches.
On the other hand, depression can make you feel sad or hopeless. You no longer enjoy the things you once did.
You may have difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively, feel tired all of the time, or lose interest in activities you used to enjoy.
Meanwhile, when you love yourself, you are often motivated to focus on the positive things in life!
People who love themselves tend to make decisions and positive changes that greatly impact their well-being, as aspects of self-love help relieve and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression caused by stressful events in life.
10) There may be a risk of self-harm
And if negative emotions get compounded, there’s a possibility that they might worsen.
When we don’t love ourselves, we may feel low self-esteem, hopelessness, and despair.
As a way of coping with emotional pain, these feelings may lead to self-harm if left untreated or unmanaged.
Self-harm can provide a temporary release from overwhelming emotions and, over time, can become addictive. It can also be used to punish ourselves for imperfections or mistakes.
It can be difficult to find healthy ways to cope with difficult emotions if you do not love and accept yourself. To reduce the risk of self-harm, it’s important to identify your triggers and seek help from a mental health professional.
Taking time to reflect and practice meditation may also help lessen the burden with mindfulness and gratitude techniques.
“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.”
— William Shakespeare
I think I speak for everyone when I say that in this world full of lies, judgments and pretensions, truly loving yourself is not easy. For some reason, nowadays, society has a say in who you are as a person and how you should be loved and treated, and because of it, people strive to attain perfection – which can never be possible.
It’s easy to say to love and forgive yourself but to actually do it is also a different story.
For some reason, we find it easier to love other people more than we love ourselves. Self-love is not easy, but it is important.
Yes, you are flawed. Yes, you make mistakes. Yes, you are not perfect. But isn’t it the same for everyone?
Life is already hard, and people can already be cruel enough for you to keep on ignoring you.
Always remember… You are worthy. You are loved. You are enough.