We’ve all heard it so much that it has become trite – “You have to love yourself before someone else can love you.” There’s truth in that statement because when we look for love outside of ourselves before we’ve found it within, we’re likely to end up in one of the following relationships:
This is perhaps the most tragic result of a lack of self-worth. When you don’t see yourself as worthy, you’ll put up with a lot of abuse and neglect because you believe that is what you are worth.
This pattern is self-perpetuating. The abuser needs you to believe that you are less-than so that they can continue their threats and mistreatment. Their negative words join those that already reside inside your head, creating a cacophony of self-hate.
Perhaps this pattern is anchored in childhood or maybe it became learned during adulthood. Regardless of its origin, the first step in breaking out of an abusive relationship is believing that you deserve better. Because you absolutely do. The way they are treating you says more about their demons than you’re worth. Never forget that.
Tolerating a Controlling Partner
Some partners fall short of abusive, but they seek to unduly influence others because of their own fears of being rejected or abandoned. When your sense of self is low, it’s easier to accept this power imbalance because you doubt your own contributions.
When you don’t believe that your words matter, it’s hard to speak up. If you constantly downplay your ideas, you’re leaving a void for someone else to fill. When you allow someone else to make decisions for you, you’re communicating that they have more value than you.
Acting As a People Pleaser
Not all relationships that come from a place of lacking self-love are abusive or controlling. Sometimes, the damaging patterns are much more subtle and may even be mistaken for a positive trait.
When you struggle to love yourself, you are holding onto a fear that others will not love or accept you. Often, this fear manifests in desperate – and often unhealthy – attempts to make others like you or to make yourself indispensable to them. These actions can serve to keep people in your life, but you’ll always wonder if they love you, or merely what you can do for them.
The same actions have an entirely different feeling when you’re doing them from a place of service or generosity instead of fear. Practice separating who you are from what you do. Put safeguards in place to ensure that you’re not giving more of yourself than you can afford. And make sure that when you’re trying to please others, that you place yourself on that list too.
Afraid to Leave Yet Not Happy Staying
Are you staying with the wrong person because you’re afraid of never finding someone else that will love you? When you harbor a belief that you’re lucky to have found someone that thinks you’re worth their time, you become paralyzed within that relationship, afraid to leap because you’re convinced that there is nothing else for you.
When you’re struggling to love yourself, the thought of being by yourself is terrifying. After all, who wants to spend every day alone with somebody they don’t like? As a result, you may elect to stay with someone…anyone to avoid being alone.
Make learning to accept yourself your number one priority. Learn to be okay – or even happy – in short stints by yourself. Slowly increase the duration until you start to believe that you are enough all on your own. You don’t need anyone else to complete you because you’re already whole.
It Starts Here…
We all wanted to feel loved and accepted. When we don’t feel that way towards ourselves, we often attempt to seek it from an external source, believing that we will be okay once somebody loves us. The problem with this belief is that it has it backwards – Love from another doesn’t make you accept your own worth. Your own worth attracts love from another.