Why it can be hard to love yourself. – And how to start anyway.

Why it can be hard to love yourself

To start with, many of us come from dysfunctional families and we didn´t have role-models for loving ourselves. Maybe we weren´t loved by our parents and siblings because they didn´t know how to love – neither themselves nor anybody else. When we are little, we are not able to see it this way and we aren´t able to handle it either. So in order to survive we tend to make it about us. This is when we start to create false beliefs about ourselves like we are not good enough, not deserving of love, flawed – and any kind of not …… enough or too much….

Making it about us gives us a false sense of control. It can lead to thinking “if I was better at school, quieter, smarter, prettier, skinnier, more outgoing, less weird, less complicated, more interesting or ________ (fill in your thing) then I would be loved”. Maybe we start to suppress parts of our personality and try to get love through behaviour like people pleasing, caretaking (giving in order to get), shrinking, getting sick, being easy, trying extra hard, overworking etc. and we create our life around our wounded self and false beliefs.

A false belief is a belief about ourselves, other people, life, or maybe even the Universe/God that disempowers us by causing fear, anxiety, shame, hopelessness or any other painful feeling. Living this way makes us feel unsafe and insecure within ourselves, in our relationships, at work, and in society in general.

Painful life experiences add to the false beliefs we created as a child

Every painful life experience like a breakup, any kind of rejection, any so-called failure can add to us not feeling lovable and worthy of love. We may even unconsciously (co)create these experiences in order to prove us right. Yet the wounded part of ourselves fears rejection and loss because we don´t know how to manage it without taking it personally.

The other point is that as children we mainly learn through mimicry and mirroring. If our parents were overly critical, (self)-judgemental, harsh, demanding, perfectionist and lived in their head and not in their heart, we either copy their behaviour or become the complete opposite. If you witnessed and learnt that you have to soldier on until a breakdown before you can give yourself some rest then you might tend to push away the concept of self-care until it´s too late. If you haven´t learnt how to handle your feelings, you might live in your head until a tsunami roars through your life forcing you to feel.

Loving yourself is about building a supportive relationship with yourself

So how can we start to slowly heal the wounded aspects of ourselves and create new, richer, healthier experiences that lead to us loving ourselves? The first step is really to become aware of our thinking patterns & false beliefs and how they create our feelings and behaviour. When we are open to learning, we are immediately in a different space. We can ask ourselves: Is this thought or story I´m telling myself really true? Can I drop this judgement and criticism of myself? Can I choose a higher thought? What does this behaviour give me? Is it in my highest good? If not, what alternative behaviour would make me feel safe and loved from within? Take it one step at a time and move forward in baby steps.

Ultimately we might want to remember that we have are an eternal soul that is whole and beautiful and can never be harmed. The more we heal the wounded aspects of ourselves the more we are able to access and value our core self or eternal soul.

Need some more inspiration? Check out my upcoming workshop in Aachen “Self-love looks good on you!” http://danielaamberg.de/events/