Do you ever feel unlovable? As though you don’t matter or your presence has no impact on anything? This can be an incredibly isolating and distressing emotion.
This feeling can be difficult to overcome and even more so if it has been a lifelong struggle for you. Thankfully there are ways to cope and learn how to better accept yourself for the unique individual that you are.
According to experts, here are reasons why people may feel unlovable, along with ways to cope day by day.
Bethany Webb, LCSW-C
Private Practice Owner and Anxiety Therapist, Grounded Roots Therapy and Consulting, LLC
As a clinician and a human, hearing from clients and other humans that they feel “unlovable” always breaks my heart a bit. What a vulnerable place to be to share such a deep wound.
As heartbreaking as this sentiment is, it is not an uncommon one. This deep wound of feeling unlovable is one many carry and definitely a conversation that comes up frequently in my work.
Due to the core beliefs that are formed when you are young
First, let’s talk about what this feeling is. In the cognitive behavioral lens of psychotherapy, there is a commonly used term to describe these deep wounds called “core beliefs.”
These are beliefs we have about ourselves and the world that are so ingrained in our psyche that we are often not even aware that it is a belief we hold.
I explain core beliefs to my clients with the analogy of glasses lenses. We are wearing these glasses lenses that color everything and everyone we see in the world, but we often have no idea we are wearing them and are not the ones that chose to put them on in the first place.
Core beliefs are formed when we are quite young, formed by the experiences and relationships we have as a child.
The core belief that “I am unlovable” again, formed in childhood, could have been formed by many different childhood experiences and most likely was not formed by just one experience but many that only reinforced and galvanized that belief in a young mind.
Maybe you grew up with emotionally unavailable parents or emotionally immature parents, and thus your basic human needs of connection were not met.
As children, to survive, we must connect with our caregivers, so if we have caregivers who are emotionally immature, abusive, or unavailable, the mind of the child will not allow the blame to be put on the caregiver.
Related: 30+ Signs of Emotionally Abusive Parents (According to 10 Experts)
The mind of the child instead finds the solution of blaming oneself. And thus, the core belief “I am unlovable” is created.
What to do? How to cope?
If you are reading this and thinking, “Oh yeah, that is me. I had those experiences as a child and now view myself as unlovable.”
What do you do? The biggest and hardest step in healing is recognition that you are wearing these lenses of “I am unlovable,” through which you see everyone and everything.
This awareness is an invitation to take a second look at the meaning you make out of experiences and interactions with others.
For example, if I now realize that I am wearing the lens of “I am unlovable,” and I go on a date and am not asked out for a second date. My immediate reaction might be, “It’s me. No one will ever choose me. There is something wrong with who I am.”
Now, with my new understanding of this core belief about myself, I have the opportunity to take a second look at the meaning I made of this experience.
Maybe I can wonder about other possible meanings I could make out of the interaction, such as “We didn’t have a whole lot in common” or “We had differing life goals and plans for our futures that simply did not align well.”
The way core beliefs can have such a stronghold on our brains is through neural pathways in our brains. Neural pathways are the pathways formed in our brain through which neurotransmission takes place.
Neurotransmission is the process through which the brain delivers chemical “messages” that ignite functions within the body, such as breathing, your heartbeat, and also how you interpret the world around you.
Imagine these neural pathways as a trail or pathway you might hike. If it is an older trail, it is likely the path is clear through years of others walking before you, creating a well-paved path for you to follow.
This sort of hike takes far less time to complete than, say, a new path you are creating through a dense forest. You might have a machete that you are cutting through branches and other forest foliage to find your way. This path takes far longer to voyage than the latter.
However, over many years and with others following the path after you, it will one day become as well-traveled as the old pathway and take far less time to move through.
And likewise, the old well, paved path, if not journeyed by hikers for a great amount of time, will begin to become overgrown by flora and fauna once again, making the journey far more treacherous and time-consuming to complete.
So let’s apply the analogy of pathways to changing core beliefs. The act of repeating the process of taking a second look at our immediate meaning-making of an experience or interaction allows the brain to form new neural pathways that are strengthened over time by repetition.
This gives us the opportunity, over time, to weaken the power of the original core belief, “I am unlovable,” allowing another, healthier belief to take its place.
Now, as we all are probably aware, when we are under great stress, are not in good health, or are not our best selves for whatever reason, old core beliefs can pop up once again. This is why when we are not feeling like ourselves, are under great stress, or are in poor health.
Related: What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Yourself (50+ Best Ways)
It is imperative to refrain from making great life-changing decisions and always to take a second look at our meaning-making with a discerning eye.
If you are struggling with feeling unlovable, reaching out to a therapist for support is always a great option for support and professional guidance.
Ellie Borden, BA, RP, PCC
Registered Psychotherapist | Certified Life Coach | Clinical Director, Mind By Design
Feeling unlovable is a debilitating and destructive thought. It can cause you to believe you are a terrible person who does not deserve anything good to happen to them.
There can be several reasons for this harmful attitude, yet there are also some steps you can take to change your thoughts about yourself and begin to see that you are a person that deserves as much love as anyone else.
One of the most common causes of feeling unloved is low self-esteem
Some people with an unhealthy but inaccurate view of themselves often assume that others think about them the way they do about themselves.
Many people with poor self-esteem lack self-confidence, are full of self-doubt, and engage in negative self-talk. Examples of negative self-talk include statements such as “I’m so stupid!” or “I can never do anything right.”
These hateful statements can often be precipitated by even the smallest of mistakes, characteristic of the tendency to catastrophize common in people suffering from low self-esteem and depression.
If you are someone who has the proclivity to engage in negative self-talk, you may find yourself feeling as if you are unlovable—a terrible thing to tell yourself.
Holding a victim mentality
Holding a victim mentality can make you feel unlovable and produce many maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, including being in a constant state of vigilance, becoming passive, and responding to small or imagined slights with suspicion, anger, and frustration.
When you feel like a nail, everything can look like a hammer. Even people who may not have intended to make you feel unlovable can cause you to believe that you are, in fact, unlovable.
A victim mentality is often caused by poor parenting, such as having parents who are aggressive, vindictive, and rejecting.
It may be the way you view yourself in relation to others
Known as social comparison, you may contrast yourself with others, which many people tend to do.
While the social comparison may not necessarily be bad, it can become problematic if you practice what is known as negative social comparison. People who compare themselves to those they believe are better than them can come to feel worse about themselves.
Related: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others (And What to Do Instead)
Several studies have demonstrated that this is an especially pronounced risk of excessive time spent on social media sites.
Frequently engaging in negative social comparison can make you feel bad about yourself, even if you are not unlovable.
Feeling unlovable can result from the trauma you may feel after a breakup
A particularly tough breakup can lead you to believe that no one else will love you ever again. It can even cause depression.
The heartbreak and loneliness that can sometimes follow a breakup have the potential to affect how some people view themselves. Your belief that you are unlovable may have been caused by losing a close intimate relationship.
Ways to cope with feeling unlovable include raising your self-esteem. This can include giving yourself credit for your talents, achievements, skills, etc.
Also, learning not to catastrophize because of simple everyday mistakes can help you to have better self-esteem. Instead of thinking you are stupid or incompetent, the next time you make a minor mistake, consider why it may not be the major blunder you feel it is.
You could tell yourself, “Everyone makes mistakes,” or “I’m not perfect, and neither is anyone else. That’s okay.”
Furthermore, learning to say no and resisting the compulsion to agree to the demands of others which is typical in many people with low-self esteem, can help you to feel more confident and in control of your life, as well as to not feel like so much of a victim.
Speaking to a therapist can help with feeling unlovable. A therapist using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you challenge these automatic thoughts, underlying assumptions, and core beliefs, as known in CBT.
By working collaboratively with your therapist, you can gain a better understanding of your feeling of being unlovable, as well as formulate solutions to this problem.
In CBT, this can look like learning to identify the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors associated with feeling unlovable and then learning strategies to better cope with this harmful belief.
Undergoing CBT has many other benefits, including treating:
- Generalized anxiety
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Behavioral problems
A therapist can also assist you in dealing with any trauma resulting from poor parenting or difficult breakups and help you manage too much social media use, which may cause negative social comparisons.
Reach out to a mental health professional if you need help coping with your feelings of being unlovable.
Dr. Krista Jordan, PhD
Board Certified Clinical Psychologist | Writer, Choosing Therapy
A person may feel unlovable for a variety of reasons
A person may feel unlovable for a variety of reasons, including:
- A difficult childhood/history of developmental trauma
- Moderate to severe depression
- Having a narcissistic personality disorder
- Having a borderline personality disorder
- Being out of sync with societal standards of desirability
Growing up without sufficient validation and attunement can easily lead a person to believe that they are unlovable. The first people to show us that we matter and to invest in us are typically our caregivers.
If they were consistently unable to provide us with a sense of being loved and cherished, it only stands to reason that we will worry that no one else will feel that way towards us either.
The reality, of course, is that our parents were just two people on a planet of 8 billion, so they are not necessarily representative of what is available once we leave our homes.
However, since early experiences make such a deep impression on us, it usually takes doing some deep therapy work to heal from developmental trauma.
Having moderate to severe depression often causes our brains to take on a highly negative bias.
We have trouble seeing the good in ourselves, the possibilities of good things happening in our future, or even being able to take in positive experiences around us like a beautiful sunset.
If you are struggling with depression, there are a number of effective treatments to try, including:
- Antidepressant medication
- Mindfulness meditation
- Time outdoors
Having a personality disorder means that you have significant interpersonal and intrapersonal problems starting around adolescence and occurring in a variety of settings across a long period of time (years or decades, not days or weeks).
People with personality disorders may not realize that the source of their distress is within themselves and may instead look outward and blame other people or circumstances.
Borderline personality disorder tends to include wide vacillations in mood and difficulty maintaining stable relationships. However, it also often involves a negative perception of the self and, in particular, feelings of being unlovable.
Related: Guidelines for Coping with Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder
While many people think of narcissistic personalities as being overly confident, in fact, deep down, they have tremendous self-loathing and feelings of unworthiness. This is what propels them to seek out external validation on a constant and exaggerated basis.
So, in fact, both Borderline and Narcissistic personalities question their true lovability.
Personality disorders were originally thought to be untreatable. However, we now have several empirically-validated treatments for them, including Mentalization-based therapy, Transference-based therapy, and DBT.
Group therapy can also sometimes be helpful in working on relationships and how one is perceived by others.
Even if you are a basically emotionally healthy person, if you have the misfortune of being significantly outside of cultural standards, you may feel unlovable.
Examples are people born with physical differences like abnormally formed body parts, large skin irregularities (like “port-wine stains”), excessive shortness or tallness, obesity, etc.
For these people, their daily experience often involves the knowledge that they are not meeting the cultural standards that are portrayed everywhere in the media. This can cause a person to feel unlovable because they wonder if anyone can see past their difference even to get to know them.
If people don’t get to know you, then you are essentially locked out of the experience of being loved before you ever have the chance. These situations can be supported through individual therapy and group therapy as well as specific support groups based on the category of your difference.
Regardless of the origin of the problem, we all need to feel loved and loveable. Therapy can certainly be a powerful tool on that journey.
Other helpful supports for growing a sense of being lovable include building community, whether through clubs, religious groups, work friends, self-help groups, or groups of friends.
The more we can surround ourselves with people who treat us as though we have valued, the more likely we will be to realize that we are ultimately lovable.
It can also be helpful to spend time acknowledging your strengths and talents, perhaps through some journaling activities.
Finally, it is often extremely helpful to notice how you talk to yourself and take steps to change that.
People who feel unlovable often talk to themselves in a very negative way, such as “I’m such an idiot” or “gosh, I’m so fat.” Replacing these negative and hurtful statements with more loving ones can go a long way toward changing expectations of how others see us.
Christina Powell, LMHC-QS, LPC
Owner and Psychotherapist, Mental Perk Therapy
Love is not a simple concept. What makes us feel loved and how we define those behaviors and interactions can be very specific. However, feeling unloved often leaves us with a sensation of sadness, despondency, and questioning our own self-worth.
From a mental health perspective, someone might experience feeling unlovable due to different factors:
You feel unloveable due to poor childhood attachment with your caregivers
Attachment theory entails the idea that you must have at least one secure attachment with a caregiver in order to develop socially and emotionally well.
When we lack this secure attachment, we form what we call insecure attachment styles such as avoidant attachment, anxious attachment, disorganized attachment, and fearful attachment.
Each of these comes with different ways in which we may have difficulty forming attachments causing us to feel unloveable and incapable of developing healthy relationships with others.
You may have endured some form of abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual)
The message you constantly receive within abusive relationships is that you are unloveable in the form of both direct and indirect language and behaviors.
This can cause a cyclical nature of thought: “I am unloveable. This person treats me like I’m unlovable. Therefore, I must be unloveable.”
Similarly to the attachment theory above, we seek security in our relationships, and when we are met with abuse, it can make the message feel loud and clear — but I cannot emphasize that abuse enough speaks volumes about the abuser.
You don’t deserve that treatment and making you feel unlovable is a tactic they use to keep you in their abusive loop.
How can you cope with this feeling of being unloveable?
There is no one size fits all as everyone reaches different core beliefs about themselves in different and unique ways. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly where you need to start, but therapy is a great first avenue.
Therapy can help you to evaluate your circumstances, feelings, and behaviors in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
Find a support group for your specific experience. For example, finding a support group for children raised by narcissists or a support group for those who have experienced abuse.
When we are able to find others who have experienced similar circumstances, it can start to shift the internal monologue of “what did I do to deserve this?” Towards an evaluation of others and how you have been treated. It also helps us to feel less alienated by the thought of being unlovable.
Finally, you can begin self-exploration through journaling (if you don’t want to keep a private physical copy, there are some websites that can allow you to journal online without maintaining a copy that someone else may find, such as Day One or Penzu).
Journaling can help us explore our feelings and look back on how we experience our world and our thoughts. When we can evaluate patterns and focus on changing the negative cycles, we become aware, and awareness breeds change.
I want to end with the idea that being unloveable is an exceptionally heavy feeling.
However, you do not have to live with that feeling. I encourage anyone reading this article to find a way to engage in therapy to explore ways to challenge this belief and broaden your future.
You deserve to be loved, and sometimes the first step is showing yourself that love.
Related: How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Know How
Psychotherapist and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist
If you are feeling unlovable, it could come from a few different reasons. Here are some possible ideas for where that feeling comes from:
You grew up in a challenging family dynamic
This could mean a few things. It might mean that you didn’t feel seen and understood by your caretakers. It could mean that your caretakers were largely absent. It could mean that you were the emotional caretaker of your caregivers instead of the other way around.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but any of these scenarios or others that left emotional trauma can add to the internalized feeling that you are unlovable.
You’ve had a break in a significant relationship
Sometimes, when a relationship ends for whatever reason, our mind tries to cope by telling us that we are unlovable.
It may sound counterintuitive that it’s a coping method, but it can be a response to looking for reasons where things may have been beyond your control.
Society is sending you the flawed message that you are unlovable
Messaging that comes from media and other people in our society can often send messaging that certain people are more worthy than others.
This might look like the message that smaller bodies are better, that disabled bodies are burdens, that certain skin colors are more worthy, or that certain gender expressions are more acceptable.
None of these statements are truths, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t met with these kinds of messages repeatedly, making it really easy to internalize.
Here are some ways to cope if you are feeling unlovable:
Give yourself compassion
What would you say to a good friend or a small child if they expressed that they felt unlovable? Can you say that to yourself? You’re not alone if you have these feelings. Let yourself know that these feelings deserve care and kindness.
Reach out to a friend or loved one
Sometimes our brains can tell us things that are not facts.
It can be helpful to have an outside perspective to remind you that your internal feelings may not be true (which doesn’t mean that feeling that way is any less valid).
Connecting with others can help you see yourself through another person’s eyes, which can help remind you that others care.
Find role models that share some of your traits or characteristics
It can be helpful to counteract messaging you are receiving by actively looking for different perspectives.
The media doesn’t highlight larger bodies as something beautiful, but if you start looking for the opposite messages, you will find people in larger bodies living in their beauty.
I use that as one example, but this can be true of so many qualities or traits you may carry. Find the people who can start training your brain to reject the messages society is sending you.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Speaker and Consultant
People feel abandoned by love when it doesn’t show up in the way they expect it
From the movies to television, to music, to books, to family, and in some cases, to religion, individuals are inundated with the idea that love is this beautiful and magical experience.
It means that you have a sense of worthiness, and you have been chosen because you have been chosen by another individual.
When an individual finds themself alone because of the end of a friendship, relationship, or isolation from family, it may be accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, frustration, and feeling unworthy.
People feel abandoned by love when it doesn’t show up in the way they expect it. So they question the worthiness and if they will ever get the opportunity to experience the beautiful connection that it seems as if “everyone else” has.
What it fails to prepare individuals for is that everyone’s journey to love looks different. That love may come from the most unexpected places, yet when the emphasis is on where it is not coming from, individuals may miss out on the opportunity to acknowledge it from the unexpected source.
Being able to move beyond what seems like an unwavering pain and void requires a shift in how one defines what it means to experience love. It starts with seeing the beauty that is within versus relying solely on external validation.
When you look at yourself, at your life, what do you see? What you see, in many ways, dictates how you show up for yourself and the world around you.
The beauty of owning love and starting from within is that you get to define it. It is no longer predicated on the wavering thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others.
Doing so may be accompanied by serious reflection on who you allow to enter and remain in your space or how much of a voice you grant them to speak into or dictate your life’s path.
When an individual relies on external love first, it means that your perception of self and the capacity that you have to experience life is predicated on the voice of another, and that is a lot of power to give away.
Moving beyond the idea that you have been abandoned by love means detaching yourself from the ideology that the only way to be loved is if it comes from an external source.
It requires taking inventory of who shows up and assessing if you have been open to experiences that would allow love to be present in your life. Consider if you overlooked investing in authentic connections because they didn’t fit your idea of love.
When individuals have felt betrayed, disregarded, or simply unloved, they subconsciously, and in some instances consciously, put up a wall of defense for fear that vulnerability may be accompanied by pain.
As a result, there becomes a reluctance for one to “subject” themselves to the possibility of such again.
While it is understandable that there is a desire to protect oneself from heartache, doing so serves as a clear path to stagnation, as the pain has now become the dictator and thus hinders the possibility for love to abound.
This process involves making a conscious decision to choose to love yourself fully and completely.
It means curating a life that is meaningful and purposeful to you. It means navigating the insecurities through healthy outlets, such as through journaling, meditation, physical activity, identifying a supportive network of friends, or attending therapy.
If you find yourself inundated with painful memories to the degree that you have felt disconnected from life and self, it may be an indicator that you are stuck in a vortex of feeling abandoned by love.
Ketan Parmar, MD, MBBS, DPM
Counseling Psychologist | Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots
We feel like we are not good enough
It is not uncommon to feel unlovable from time to time. We all have moments when we feel like we’re not good enough or that nobody could possibly love us.
However, if you find yourself feeling this way most of the time, it can be extremely difficult to cope with. There are a few things you can do, however, to ease the pain and start feeling better about yourself.
Talk to somebody you trust
One of the best things you can do when feeling unlovable is to talk to somebody you trust. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or anybody else who can offer support and understanding.
It can be helpful to talk about your feelings and why you think you’re feeling this way. Sometimes, just talking about it can help you to feel better.
Write down your thoughts and feelings
Another helpful way to cope with feeling unlovable is to write down your thoughts and feelings. This can be in a journal, on a piece of paper, or even in an email to yourself.
Writing about how you’re feeling can help you to organize your thoughts and figure out what’s really bothering you. It can also be therapeutic to look back on later and see how far you’ve come.
Do something nice for yourself
Sometimes when we feel unlovable, it’s because we’re not treating ourselves very well. We may be neglecting our own needs in favor of others, or we may simply be beating ourselves up too much.
Doing something nice for yourself can help you to remember that you are worthy of love and care. It doesn’t have to be anything big — just something that makes you feel good. Maybe it’s taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk in nature, or treating yourself to a yummy dessert.
Remember your positive qualities
When we’re feeling unlovable, it’s easy to focus on all of our negative qualities. However, everyone has positive qualities, too.
Spend some time thinking about the things that make you a great person. Write them down if it helps. When you’re feeling low, remind yourself of these positive traits and know that they are still true, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment.
Seek professional help
If you’re finding it difficult to cope with feeling unlovable, seek professional help. A therapist can provide support and guidance as you work through your feelings. They can also offer helpful tools and strategies for managing your emotions.
If you feel like you’re in a really dark place, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
No matter how much we may feel unlovable at times, it’s important to remember that we are worthy of love and care. We all have moments when we feel like we’re not good enough, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
Talk to somebody you trust, write down your thoughts and feelings, do something nice for yourself, remember your positive qualities, and seek professional help if needed.
These things can all help you to start feeling better about yourself.
Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist
Feeling unlovable often originates from childhood wounding
If our core emotional needs weren’t met as children, we might grow up with a sense of being unworthy of love or a sense that there’s nothing within us worth loving. It might also be a sense that we aren’t worthy of belonging.
If children are denied love, attunement, validation, or emotional and/or physical safety, they are left alone trying to make sense of why that is.
The child’s experience of it is what is carried inside during adulthood. It might be a sense of being bad or having something wrong with them. It’s important to remember it’s not only abuse that creates a sense of being unworthy. It’s also when good moments don’t come often enough.
What’s more, media, societal, and cultural messaging don’t help when it comes to our sense of feeling worthy of love. We see messages everywhere about what is desirable, and if we don’t fit into that box, it can leave us feeling not good enough.
Understand where your beliefs come from
When working with clients and supporting them to grow into a sense of worthiness, I first suggest understanding where their beliefs come from.
With that understanding, there is more room to challenge those beliefs on a cognitive and emotional level. We might be open to seeing that there is little real “evidence” that we are indeed unlovable.
We might see that this belief is black-and-white (when the reality is more complicated). Or we might acknowledge our values as they relate to how children are supposed to be treated (and, therefore, how we were supposed to be treated).
When it comes to society, it might mean acknowledging our values as being different than mainstream messaging. Ultimately, shifting this feeling begins with finding a sense of compassion for ourselves and growing that little by little.
In developing this sense of caring for ourselves, we are loving ourselves. We are giving ourselves evidence that there is something within us to love.
A wise client once shared her value with me; “I believe everyone is deserving of love and compassion,” and eventually was able to add, “including me.”
Certified Domestic Violence Counselor and Journalist
Feeling unlovable is a self-esteem issue that can develop after being abused
An individual with healthy self-esteem who goes through physical, emotional, or financial abuse will often times blame themselves by saying, “I should have known better.” This leads to feelings of self-doubt, which can chip away at your self-esteem over time.
Feelings of regret like this can also lead to black-and-white thinking. This is the tendency, when something is going wrong, to feel like it is all bad and everything is going wrong or that all progress is lost.
It can be combatted by simply understanding that it is not all for nothing. Every day is a growing experience, and you should be proud of all the work you have done toward building a better life after abuse.
You are loveable. You are not unlovable. You did not do anything worthy of being abused, and it was not your fault that that happened to you. Engage in your hobbies, and spend time with the friends and family that show you just how loved you are.
A strong person with resilience can still go through emotional hardships, and it is perfectly okay not to be okay. It does not make you unloveable.
When you feel these overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, try to get away for a bit, even if it is just taking a walk around the block or taking a shower, and realize that it is okay to feel sad and that you will get through this because of your resilience.
Having that alone time to process is important.
CEO and Matchmaker, Exclusive Matchmaking
The reasons can be varied from person to person
When it comes to feelings that you aren’t lovable, the reasons can be varied from person to person.
Many times feeling unlovable can come from early relationships in life and attachment styles, low self-worth, and other negative things that happen in life creating this feeling.
Knowing how to correct the problem is the same, though, and there is hope! While it’s not the easiest problem to solve, it is something you can work on and overcome.
Read on for some of the reasons people feel unlovable and what to do:
- People coming from abusive relationships usually feel unlovable. Sometimes people have been physically and emotionally abused and are left with feelings of low self-worth and a feeling they aren’t worthy of love.
- Children of parents that weren’t very loving have anxious attachment styles leading them to feel unlovable. Sometimes one can think, if your parents didn’t love you, then why would someone else?
- People that have low self-worth will feel unlovable. They think, why would anyone love them. This happens a lot when the object of their affection returns their feelings. They think something must be wrong with that person then because they aren’t lovable.
- Addictions can sometimes feel unlovable. Aside from struggling with this disease-causing low self-esteem, they sometimes can hurt many people in the process, making them feel they have caused so much destruction and pain that they are unworthy of love.
- A parent that had high expectations and nothing was ever good enough will make you feel like you aren’t good enough for someone. You need to shake that feeling.
- Things such as bad credit can make you feel less than others and, therefore, unlovable. You might just not have paid your bills or maybe had an unforeseen circumstance, but you feel unloved.
- Being in a circle with friends that are overly critical can reinforce the inner voice in your head of negativity that might have started with an overly critical parent.
- Having a string of bad relationships can make you feel like you are broken and unlovable. It can damage your self-esteem and make you feel unlovable.
What to do if you feel unlovable can be as simple as changing your circle of friends or committing to intense therapy. Most times, it’s just somewhere in between that will help with a dedication to yourself to feel loved.
As with anything, you first need to recognize the problem. You also need to change that inner self-talk putting you down. This might not be easy.
Read on for some thoughts:
- Every time a negative thought pops into your head, replace it with a positive one about yourself. This is about changing from negative self-talk to more positive self-talk.
- Keep a journal of yourself and all the great things you do for people. Focus on those things.
- Work on your self-esteem. Surround yourself with positive people that make you feel good when you are around them, and cut the negative people out of your life or at least limit them.
- Write down all the good traits you possess. If you don’t know what they are, ask your friends to help you. Tape it to your mirror. Realize there are many. Read these every time you look in the mirror.
- Remember, don’t be so hard on yourself. You don’t need to be perfect for people to love you. Everyone that has love in their life isn’t perfect.
- Get professional help if needed, even if it just helps you to be more self-aware. If you understand how you came to this point, it will help you understand yourself. In this case, if it was early relationships, just being aware can help immensely. Therapy can help everyone.
- Seeking a life coach can help eliminate feelings of low self-worth. It will make you feel more positive, too, because knowing you are doing something to correct it will make you feel better. This works well when it’s your life choices that make you feel this way, and it hasn’t been all your life.
- Do things in life that will make you feel good, whether it’s traveling, volunteering, going back to school, or exercising. Just discover what makes you feel good and do more of it.
Susanne M. Alexander
Relationship and Marriage Coach, Marriage Transformation | Co-Author, “Couple Vitality: Connecting with Character”
Perfectionism has reared its ugly head
Are you worthy of love?
Every human being can love themselves and others, and everyone has something about them that is lovable. We are created to be noble human beings with gifts and talents that benefit us and others.
However, there is an epidemic of unworthiness in the world that spreads like a contagious disease and communicates to you that something is wrong with you.
Self-criticism abounds, and perfectionism rears its ugly head. The messages are lies. You are worthy of being loved.
What is lovable in you?
Within every human being, to a greater or lesser degree, are the gems of character traits that attract love. You have truthfulness, trustworthiness, responsibility, kindness, justice, patience, purposefulness, resilience, respect, courage, and on and on.
If you are feeling unworthy of love, then assess your character strengths and appreciate them. If one quality seems weak, then grow it systematically, and you will feel your love for that quality—and yourself—increase.
In addition to your character, you also likely have something that you are good at. Not perfect, but able to bring benefit to others. It could be a talent, like music, or the ability to do an aspect of your job very well. What are your gifts?
Creating a new narrative
Often when you don’t feel loving toward yourself, your inner conversation is at fault. The running commentary inside is negative and critical. It tells you falsely that you aren’t good enough to be loved. Scrapping these words is a vital action for your well-being.
Vital as well is replacing them with a new narrative that honors who you are, and that affirms your efforts.
As you think positive words instead, such as, “I’m a noble human being worthy of being loved” and “Wow, what a great effort I made today,” the feelings of unworthiness shrink. This is not about stroking the ego; it is about practicing respect for yourself.
Related: What Is Self Respect and Why Is It Important?
The quantity of love in the world is unlimited. You do not need to operate as if there is a scarcity, and it bypasses you. You are lovable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to overcome the feeling of being unlovable?
Yes, it’s possible to overcome the feeling of not being lovable. With time, self-care, and support, you can begin to feel better about yourself and believe that you’re worthy of being loved. But remember that you aren’t alone and that many people have had similar experiences and come out the other side feeling better.
Can feeling unlovable affect my relationships?
Yes, feeling unlovable can affect your relationships with others. It can make it difficult to build close relationships with others and cause you to push people away or sabotage your relationships.
If you struggle with feeling unlovable, talking to a therapist or counselor about how this affects your relationships can be helpful.
How can I talk to loved ones about feeling unlovable?
Talking to loved ones about feeling unlovable can be difficult, but it can also be a helpful step in the healing process. Here are some tips:
Be honest: Share your feelings openly and honestly. Let your loved ones know you’re struggling and need their support.
Be specific: Try to be specific about what you need from your loved ones. Do you need someone to listen to you, or do you need someone to offer practical help or solutions?
Be patient: Remember that your loved ones may not fully understand what you’re going through, and they need time to process your feelings and figure out how to support you.
Seek professional help: If you’re having difficulty talking to your loved ones about your feelings or need additional support, you should talk to a mental health professional.
How can I practice self-compassion when I feel unlovable?
Practicing self-compassion can be difficult when you feel unlovable, but it’s an important step toward healing and building self-esteem. Here are some tips:
Treat yourself like a good friend: Imagine what you’d say to a friend who feels unlovable and say those things to yourself.
Acknowledge your feelings: Allow yourself to feel your feelings without judging or criticizing them.
Remember that everyone struggles: Remind yourself that feeling unlovable is a common experience and that everyone sometimes struggles with it.
Practice self-care: Take care of yourself—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, and practicing mindfulness.
Challenge negative self-talk: If you start having negative thoughts about yourself, challenge them by asking yourself if they’re true. Often our thoughts aren’t based on reality.
How long does it take to overcome feeling unlovable?
The amount of time it takes to overcome the feeling of not being lovable depends on the individual and their particular circumstances. It can take weeks, months, or even years to completely overcome these feelings.
It’s important to remember that healing is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and remember that with time, self-care, and support, you can feel better again and believe that you’re worthy of love.
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