11 Signs You Lack Self-Love (And How to Develop It) post image

11 Signs You Lack Self-Love (And How to Develop It)


Lack of self-love is probably the biggest hindrance to finding and having romantic love.

When you don’t love yourself, how will you ever trust that anyone could actually love you?

Self-esteem doesn’t just mean “feeling good about yourself.” Self-esteem is built on recognizing that you are lovable and worthy.

MORE: How to Build Confidence and Know Your Worth

A strong sense of self-worth protects you from destructive, toxic relationships and empowers you, leaving you feeling confident you will find the right person and won’t settle for less.

The good news is you already have the tools to improve your self-love, you may just not know how to use them yet. First I’m going to share signs your self-love tank is depleted and then we’ll talk about how to fix it so keep reading.

1. You can’t just be yourself

.People who love themselves, can just be. They feel comfortable and confident navigating any situation.

People who are insecure or don’t love themselves often engage in “masking” (the metaphorical kind!), which means they try to conform to societal expectations by being whatever they think they should be, or who others expect them to be, or being a way that is popular at the moment.

You feel like you need to put on a front, like your authentic self just isn’t good enough. It’s almost as though you’re afraid of being “found out” for who you truly are and this is terrifying because you don’t like your real self, and try to hide it at all costs.

MORE: 10 Things Confident People Do Differently In Relationships 

2. You are worried about what other people think

Look, we all worry a little. But for people lacking self-love, their thoughts and actions are dominated by this anxiety.

You see it all the time in the world of celebrities. Some are able to embrace it and thrive while others fall apart and become obsessed with anything negative said or printed about them.

The people who can handle judgment or perceptions of themselves the best are the ones with really strong and solid concepts of self-image. They know who they are, what they’re all about, and they’re comfortable and confident with that.

When you don’t have a solid sense of yourself, you can tend to look to the outside to give it to you or validate you. And there’s a lot at stake when you do that.

If someone rejects you, then you’re worthless, a loser, never going to find love. Right?

Obviously wrong! But at the moment, this is what it feels like when you allow outside perceptions to shape and mold your feelings, worth, and self-esteem. If you find yourself getting really rattled or affected by others’ opinions of you, there’s a good chance you’re struggling with your own self-love.

3. You Are Extremely Sensitive To Criticism

To build off my last point, no one likes to be criticized but it happens. That’s just a fact and part of life. And we’re all flawed! There’s no way to escape ever getting a bit of criticism ever again.

And being a content creator, I get criticized every single day! It really boils down to how you choose to react to it which makes all the difference.

If someone criticizes you and you have an extreme reaction, it’s extremely likely that you already believed that thing to be true. On the other hand, if you love yourself, you can accept that “OK, I’m not perfect, I have flaws, and I know I can work on them! No big deal.”

MORE: 4 Ways to Love Yourself and Be More Confidant 

Or maybe they criticize you and say something that you know without a shadow of a doubt is false. It simply isn’t true or doesn’t apply to you, so why should you be affected by it?

4. Excessive People Pleasing

People who don’t love themselves rely on others as a gauge of how lovable they are or how well they’re doing as a person. They’re looking for that outside validation to feel worthy and deserving.

This often happens as they put someone else’s needs above their own in order to please them or go above and beyond to “prove” themselves when they do not have to.

In a relationship, this will play out when a woman doesn’t love herself, tries to prove her worth to a man, does everything to please him, make him happy, and bend over backward to get him to love her. She mistakenly believes if she does that, then she’ll be worthy and deserving, but that’s not where self-love comes from.

MORE: 11 Ways to Find True Happiness

5. You Don’t Trust Your Own Judgement

You struggle to make decisions and when you do make a decision, you fear it’s the wrong one. You’re never really sure of your decisions and find yourself always second-guessing and full of self-doubt.

“Did I do the right thing? Ugh, I should’ve gone with the other choice. I always mess things up!”

In relationships, you may stay stuck with a guy who treats you terribly and not really believe that you deserve better. You try to rationalize your decision to stay in a bad relationship because you’re “being dramatic” or are “too sensitive”.

You end up not trusting your gut instincts that are telling you that you deserve better and you deserve to be happy.

6. You Feel Like An Imposter

There is actually a term for this – Imposter Syndrome. Basically, you find yourself doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. Like someday everyone is going to discover the deep dark secret that you actually aren’t the person they all thought you were.

You don’t really trust positive feedback. You feel like anything you accomplish is due to luck or an accident and you’re afraid you’ll be exposed as a fraud. Someday someone is going to figure it all out and your house of cards will come crashing down.

This has happened to me when I first started creating content and even when my advice was well-received, it was hard to believe that I actually am good at this. It actually took many years for that to sink in, years when I was full of self-doubt and this lingering fear that someday everyone would discover the truth.

7. Negative Self-Talk

If you lack self-love, you will always be bashing yourself. We all do this to a certain extent but it’s important to notice when you are and nip it in the bud.

Once you start down that path, it’s so easy to keep sliding into more and more negative thoughts until you’ve constructed a completely insane scenario where you’re an ugly troll living under a bridge because you’re not good enough and no one wants you or eleven ikes you.

How crazy does that sound? But that’s where our minds take us when we just roll with the negative self-talk.

Negative thoughts are like magnets, they attract more and more negativity and the cycle can spin out of control on an endless, torturous loop.

MORE: How to Stay High Value When He Doesn’t Call or Text

8. You Don’t Take Care Of Yourself

Another major sign that your self-love skills need some help is that you may have unhealthy coping mechanisms. This could include starving, binging, excessive drinking, excessive attention-seeking from men, addiction to other things, “hustling” so hard work is your only hobby.

You veer more toward self-destructive behaviors to cope because deep down you don’t believe you are worthy of feeling good, healthy, and happy.

Maybe you don’t feel like you deserve to treat yourself right, maybe your lack of self-love has led you into a depression and you don’t have the motivation to do things that will benefit you and be healthy for you. Maybe you feel like you deserve to suffer and be punished for being so terrible.

9. Inferiority Complex

You just feel inferior and constantly compare yourself to others. You have this belief like you are always going to come up short because that’s just who you are in the friend group. This could be people in your circle of friends or even just how you feel about yourself when scrolling through social media.

And we all do it. We compare ourselves to others even though we know social media is pure BS.

People who lack self-love are even more prone to these comparisons and feel like they can never measure up.

10. You Need Constant Reassurance

In a relationship, this manifests as you constantly needing assurance from your partner that they won’t leave, that they still love you, etc. You don’t really trust it because you don’t love yourself. You’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop and this puts you on edge all the time.

You may also need constant reassurance from others. You find yourself living for the fire emojis on your Instagram posts or you take down a photo because it didn’t get enough likes. You don’t just want it, you need it. It feels like something you can’t give yourself so you crave it from an external source.

There is nothing wrong with wanting praise. I love it when you guys leave me praise and positive comments , it makes my day! But when you need it, it becomes a problem.

11. You Can’t Or Don’t Have Healthy Relationships

You may struggle in relationships because you’re too needy and drain the other person, and that can be exhausting and end up pushing people away.

MORE: Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship 

Or maybe you can’t connect. Maybe you keep others at a distance because you’re afraid of rejection because you’re scared of getting hurt or you just feel unlovable and unworthy.

MORE: How to Be a High-Value Woman

I don’t want to leave you feeling depressed at the end of this with the realization that you lack self-love.

So, I’m going to quickly go over ways to improve your feelings of self-love and get you feeling like you’re floating on cloud 9 because you are just so amazing.

1. Take Control Of Your Thoughts

Your thoughts don’t have to control you. While you can’t block every single negative thought, you can choose how to react to it or whether you want to believe it.

Pluck out those negative thoughts like weeds and tell yourself the opposite. Treat your mind like a garden and start planting positive things in there. If you keep it up, you’ll see those thoughts grow into something really beautiful.

2. Challenge Yourself

Self-esteem comes from pushing past our comfort zone. For example, I decided to take a ballet class. I admit that every week I want to wiggle my way out of it but I consistently go and then I feel so good about myself!

Do something even when you don’t feel like it. Push yourself to learn new things, do new things, and explore. Give yourself an outlet to feel good and try something you haven’t done before. It’s a great way to have fun and build your confidence.

3. Be Active

Being physical is proven to make you feel good. No one comes home from the gym full of regret or saying “Wow, I wish I hadn’t done that.”

You’re taking care of yourself in more ways than one when you move your body, especially when you find something you really enjoy. It doesn’t have to be at the gym. Just make it consistent and a priority.

4. Forgive Yourself

So, you’ve made mistakes. It’s OK. We all have!

Here’s a secret. No one is thinking about you as much as you are. You are the only one bringing up that embarrassing thing you said in 6th grade or the time you tripped over your own two feet in a crowded coffee shop.

Who cares! Forgive yourself and move on because you have too many great things to do to get stuck in past mistakes.

5. Be Grateful

It’s very hard to be in a negative space when you are filled with gratitude.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed or in a low mindset, I take some time to sit and just focus on breathing and all the things I’m grateful for in the moment. It’s such an amazing shift to have and it’s so easy to do.

6. Make This Your Mantra: “I Will Be OK”

Self-esteem essentially comes down to the belief that no matter what happens, you’ll be OK. You’ll be able to deal with it. You’ll get through it.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times this simple little phrase has saved my sanity. Remember, you’ve survived every one of your worst days.

I know I covered some difficult topics but I hope this helped and you’re leaving on a high note with some good insight and great tools you can start using in your own life to tap into that well of self-love.

Written by Sabrina Alexis

I’m Sabrina Alexis, the co-founder, and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing relatable, insightful articles that help people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want. I have a degree in psychology and have spent the last 10 years interviewing countless men and reading and studying as much as I can to better understand human psychology and how men operate. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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