By David Joel Miller.
Think you are unlovable? Here are ways to change that.
5 reasons you feel unloved and what to do about them.
Have you ever felt that you were unlovable? That no one will ever love you and that it is impossible to ever find someone who might really care about you? Both clients and commenter’s on this blog have expressed the belief that somehow they are different and that no one could possibly love them. This is just not so.
Thoughts of worthlessness or of being unlovable are common thoughts and feelings among people in early recovery from emotional and mental issues as well as those recovering from substance use issues.
Being lovable is not about popularity or people pleasing. Being lovable and finding love in your life is about being the kind of person you want to be and then developing relationships that support you in being your real authentic self. Here are some reasons you may be feeling unloved and what to do about those issues.
You do not like you.
If you do not like yourself you make it difficult for others to like you. The first step in becoming more likable is to work on liking yourself. Become your own best friend. The one important thing you need to do, and it is not an easy thing sometimes, is to stop judging yourself.
Work on feeling better about yourself. One way to increase your feelings of accomplishment and therefore feel better about yourself is to do more worthwhile things. Learn to stop judging yourself or comparing yourself to others. You are you and how you are is OK. Work on being the best you there is, not on trying to be a copy of someone else.
You set unrealistic goals and expectations for yourself.
If you expect to be perfect, then, of course, you will fail to measure up. Judging yourself harshly does not inspire you to work harder. Negative motivation, beating yourself up, is notorious for keeping people down and depressed, not helping them get their life back on track.
Be realistic. Work on small increments of improvement. Give yourself acknowledgments for things done well even if there is still room for improvement. Look at things that are less than perfect as improvement opportunities, not failures.
Someone in childhood judged you harshly.
Realize that if you came from a non-affirming family and nothing you ever did was good enough you may be perpetuating the unlovability fiction by continuing to judge yourself overly harshly. The result is that you do not think you measure up and therefore do not like yourself.
Understand that there have been others in your life that may have had their own scars from life before you existed. People who do not feel good about themselves judge others harshly as a way to make themselves feel better.
If you were treated poorly or even abused, consider that this treatment was not a statement about you and your worth. You may have had sick people in your life. Sick people can do sick things. If you were abused or mistreated do not continue that pattern of abuse by punishing yourself.
You use this unlovable thing to avoid taking the risks of getting close to others.
Some people use the statements “I am unlovable.” Or “no one will ever be able to love me” as excuses for not trying. Why try when you expect to fail? The result is that they do not have to risk, do not have to love and hope to be loved in return.
This negative attitude reduces the risk but also eliminates the rewards. Avoid the risks of close relationships and you may not be hurt by rejection but you guarantee the pain of loneliness.
You know that you have done some things you should not have done.
Recovery, from whatever you define as your issue, includes the need to forgive yourself for things you may have done but now regret. As you learn more you should do better things. If you see that things you do or have done have harmed others try to make amends, do what you can to make things right. Then accept and forgive yourself and work on becoming a better person.
Those are my take on five reasons people may have developed a belief that they are unlovable or unworthy of love. Begin today to work on loving yourself and treating yourself as someone worthy of love and see how much better your life can become.
For more posts related to this topic see: Love, relationships, and sex
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books