By Katie & Gay Hendricks
Have you ever felt rejected when a friend or loved one didn’t call you back, canceled plans on you or dismissed your ideas?
Maybe you accused them of being rude and uncaring.
And in response, they told you that you’re too critical, never satisfied or always complaining about something.
If this is a chronic problem for you, there could be a good reason why…
We seek love, respect, and acceptance from others and feel disappointed when they do not provide the kind we want.
When we seek love without giving it to ourselves first, we will never be satisfied with what we get.
We’ll wonder if our partner really loves us, constantly looking for signs they’re losing interest, even if we are married and even if they regularly tell us, “I love you.”
Even when they buy us flowers or expensive gifts, we’ll think they’re doing it because they “have to” or we’ll become suspicious they’re cheating. We’ll wonder what they want from us instead of just taking it at face value.
No matter how the love we get is expressed – whether by diamonds or passionate declarations – if it is not matched by our own regard for ourselves it will ultimately make matters worse.
We doubt, nitpick, and ignore our partner’s attempts to show us love.
We feel misunderstood and not good enough – not at work and not in relationships – no matter how many friends we have and how many promotions we get.
I have seen people go to the ends of the earth and to endless specialists seeking a cure for their lack of self-love, whether they’re married or single.
They build dream houses, they go on cruises, they consult psychics, and they join crusades – all to get away from the gnawing emptiness inside, the place that can be filled only by learning to love yourself.
Loving yourself isn’t about being conceited. It’s about accepting yourself and your feelings and not needing to look to outside sources to feel like you’re worthy of love and consideration.
When you love yourself, you make room for love in your life, rather than always searching for ways to get it from others. That’s why I recommend learning to love yourself before trying to “fix” someone or something that’s troubling you.
Most of us have some resistance to loving ourselves; otherwise we would have already learned how. There are some widely shared reasons for not loving yourself.
First, many of us are unwanted from the very moment of our conception. Some estimate that up to 60 to 65 percent of pregnancies are unwanted or unexpected.
The circumstances of our conception have a much greater impact on us than we might think. Over the years of helping people learn to love themselves in therapy, I have come to have a healthy respect for the impact of our parents’ original attitudes toward us.
Later, parental or authority figure disapproval contributes toward our lack of self-love.
Our parents may have disapproved of our essential being instead of our behavior. Maybe they said, “You’re a slob” instead of “I don't like this mess you made.”
Or our teachers may have blurted, “You’re stupid” instead of telling us, “That answer is incorrect.”
Personal trauma such as abuse, neglect and violence may also have played a role in our lack of self-love.
Because of these reasons, many of us have come to feel that our very essence is corrupt; that our existence here is wrong; that our being is a burden on the world around us.
Our self-esteem has taken a beating.
This is why we feel emptiness inside relationships, and never quite believe that we can have the kind of love we dream about.
We sabotage our relationships with fighting and mistrust. We believe our partner is going to leave us and create the exact conditions for them to do so.
At work, our colleagues praise us for a job well done, but we feel like imposters.
And it’s no wonder.
A decision like “I’m unlovable, made when we are 2 or 22 can affect the quality of our lives when we are 30 or 60.
When I was a child, I felt abandoned by my mother and father. In actual fact, he died and she went to work. Of course, I did not understand about death, bereavement , and economic necessities. To my young eyes, it looked like I was being left by people I had been relying upon.
I remember feeling angry and sad about not ever seeing my father and having to share my mother with a bunch of unseen strangers every day from eight until evening. Even then, she would often be tired and irritable; it was so different from the warm and happy life of a short time before.
I subconsciously believed that I was the cause of her stress, and I came to believe that I therefore didn’t deserve love.
Fortunately, that all changed when I was in my 20s and had a breakthrough that reversed all those false beliefs and opened up a whole new way of being for me.
I finally learned that I could love myself, regardless of what I had been through as a child, and regardless of what I was experiencing in life at any given time.
Learning to love myself and feel deserving of love was a breakthrough that changed my entire life. I became a sought-after speaker, appearing on Oprah and many other TV shows. I became a successful therapist, a best-selling author, and best of all – I fell in love with Katie and stay happily married for more than 30 years. None of these things would have been possible if I didn’t feel that I deserved love.
If you know you deserve love, but you’re not sure how to FEEL THAT in your heart, I want to help.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, and learn how to finally love and accept yourself as you are, so you can welcome and accept true love from someone else.
You’ll also learn:
You deserve to enjoy being loved by someone else and you deserve to know that you’re good enough just as you are.
You don’t need to prove your worthiness to anyone, least of all yourself. When you learn to love yourself, you will finally be free to create what you want and to love deeply.
Don’t spend your life feeling “less than.” Take the steps to loving yourself today and enjoy all that life and love have to offer.