If you feel unlovable, you are not alone. Feeling unlovable is something that almost everyone experiences at some point in their life. Most people go through times when they feel disappointed in themselves or they feel as though they’ve let others down. Situations arise and habits form that can be challenging and devastating to overcome.
Though it is common to experience a feeling of being unlovable, it doesn’t make it any easier. This is especially true for those who are suffering from addiction, mental illness, depression, anxiety, trauma or grief. Many people face these awful situations, and it’s natural to react with self-blame which in turn lowers self-confidence.
People who suffer from addiction, mental illness or trauma of any kind need their feelings to be validated and supported, so they can move forward to becoming healthier and more self-compassionate versions of themselves.
Why You Feel Unlovable
Though you are not alone in feeling unlovable, that fact is of little comfort when you can’t understand why you are feeling this way. Addiction, mental illness, grief and trauma can all, unfortunately, have societal stigmas around them that forces victims of these conditions to feel ashamed and as though they are perhaps unwarranted in their feelings. As a result, people shut their emotions inside.
When you aren’t in touch with your own emotions, it causes a tragic vicious circle that prevents people from addressing their feelings, which causes them to lose confidence, their sense of self-worth and to subsequently feel unlovable. The more a person struggling with addiction, mental illness or grief feels unlovable, the more they isolate themselves. The more a person feels isolated, the more they begin to look for escape tools in the forms of drugs, alcohol, eating and other vices. When a person cannot find the satisfaction they need through a reliance on escape tools, which only treat the symptoms not the cause, they cling to the notion that they themselves must be unlovable.
The cruel, vicious circle may seem unbeatable, but it’s not. If you are asking yourself if you’re unlovable, know that the answer is a resounding no — and the reason you’re feeling unlovable is not your fault. You can overcome feeling unlovable with helpful self-care practices and community support, and by surrounding yourself with positive messages of self-acceptance.
Why Being Unlovable Is a Myth
Addiction grief, depression and mental illness do not make a person who they are or define them in any way. Unfortunate circumstances have happened in your life. Self-loathing and self-blame are natural psychological responses to stressful or negative situations involving self-doubt.
The human psyche is equipped with mechanisms that help condition us to certain beliefs. When it comes to negative life events, the mind will manipulate you and find ways to tell you that you are somehow to blame. Over time, this becomes a mental habit that you rely on to make sense of different situations.
For example, if you perceive something bad happening to you, your mental habit reminds you that you are somehow deserving of it. In a backward way, this is helpful to the ego because it somehow justifies the bad things that happen. The mental habit of telling yourself that you are deserving of whatever bad things have happened happened is not sustainable and not productive to living a fulfilled life.
Why It’s Important to Feel Lovable
Feeling accepted and comfortable with who you are may seem like a distant memory if you have felt unlovable for a long time. It is critical for your personal health and your relationships with those around you. Learning how to reconnect with yourself and building your self-worth are the foundational steps in feeling loved and accepted.
As feeling unlovable is a vicious circle, feeling loved perpetuates continued positivity. The more loved you feel, the more motivated you become, which further builds confidence. With more confidence comes more opportunity to find joy and satisfaction in your life and to accept yourself for who we are.
Addressing negative thought patterns of rejection and despair will slowly help set you on a path toward rebuilding your confidence and feeling loved once again. It will make things in life seem simpler and more rewarding. Feeling lovable also helps prevent self-sabotage. Instead, it teaches us how to create mental and emotional stability and inner peace.
Building your self-confidence after it has been shattered is not easy. You can’t develop self-confidence and self-love overnight. It takes consistent daily efforts and reminders to design and implement a self-care plan. It can seem overwhelming to do it on your own, which is why it’s best to start small and with the support of others who have once been in your position or can offer empathy.
If you’re ready to take the necessary steps to stop feeling unlovable and improve your self-confidence, follow these healthy tips to building self-esteem.
Be Aware of Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic, or your ego mind, is the illusionary narrative voice that’s in your head. Some people’s inner critic is louder and holds more power than others. People suffering with drug addiction, mental illness or trauma often experience a louder inner critic.
The inner critic thrives on reminding a person why they are unlovable, rejected and undeserving of acceptance. It can be incredibly difficult to banish the inner critic because it too needs to survive and must continue to justify its existence in the mind.
Becoming aware of its presence, noticing its words and acknowledging how it makes you feel is a first step to improving self-confidence. Once you notice the inner critic, you can begin to assess how much power it has over your emotions. Once you see how much of your thoughts and energy it consumes, you can start to regain control over it.
Practice Deliberate Gratitude
The inner critic likes to remind all of us of everything we lack in life. One of the best ways to stop this negative thought pattern is to look for things for which you are grateful for in life. To become habitual, a gratitude list must become a deliberate practice or tool you rely on daily.
Advocates for gratitude journaling claim that writing down what you are grateful for each night can help to cultivate a more positive mindset when you wake up. Start small, simply by writing down one thing each night and gradually building up to three or more things for which you’re grateful. Eventually, you can list many things and continue to refer to it when your inner critic begins to get the best of you.
Know Your ‘Why’
For those who feel unlovable, finding motivation can be hard. When we find motivation, we tend to use negative reinforcement to push ourselves to do things. Instead of focusing on the bad things that will happen if we don’t do something, we must learn to focus on all of the positive benefits of making life changes.
Remind yourself of why you want to improve your confidence and why you want to make certain changes in your life. Be honest with yourself that the reasons are that you want to be satisfied, happy and accepted. Use the power of your “why” as your motivational tool when you begin to doubt your self-worth.
The principle behind mindfulness is that it allows you to invite more peace into your life. When becoming more mindful, the aim is to remain as present as possible in order to avoid being overwhelmed with negative emotions.
The more you can remain mindful, the more you can accept life as it happens. In this acceptance, you can achieve peace, which creates space for you to feel more self-compassion. With more self-compassion comes more self-confidence and self-love.
Remember that mindfulness and staying present is a daily practice that doesn’t always come easy. Over time, as you condition yourself to a more mindful state, you will start to notice important emotional and mental benefits.
Don’t Aim for Perfection
Perfectionism is a condition. The problem is that it does such a good job of setting unrealistic expectations that it convinces you there is no other option. If you fail to meet the standard of “perfect,” you may feel worthless or disappointed in yourself. Over time, if you rely on the standard of perfect as your sole barometer of worth in life, you can begin to convince yourself that you are unlovable if you haven’t lived up to it.
You should never aim for perfection. Instead of setting your standard at perfect, set your standard at improvement. If your objective becomes to improve your life consistently, as opposed to perfect it, you can feel more accepting of and satisfied with your life situation.
Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
Along with perfectionism, comparisons are another nasty trap that can leave someone feeling unlovable. Instead of comparing yourself to others and pointing out your own lack or faults, remind yourself that you are on your own journey. No two lives are the same, so your shortcomings shouldn’t be compared to others.
We never really know exactly what someone else’s situation is like. We do the best we can do based on how we perceive the world, so comparing ourselves to others futile. Instead, focus on the unique strengths you have to offer the world.
If you’ve been telling yourself you’re unlovable, it may be time to step outside your comfort zone. Staying in a rut can cause you to feel like you aren’t making progress in life, which can damage self-esteem. Pushing yourself to try something new could be the answer to help you realize your potential.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can build your confidence and create active momentum in your life. Low self-esteem is often accompanied by feeling unmotivated, so trying new things can build motivation and set you on course to try new things. Eventually, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can create a positive chain reaction that can help shift you from a negative self-perception.
Reflect on Your Past Accomplishments
One of the best ways to bolster self-confidence is to reflect on your accomplishments. Whether it was a project, a relationship, your education or your health, your achievements can help you to realize that you have more to give.
Remember a time you overcame certain challenges or you tried something new. Use those memories as fuel to elevate your self-esteem. The more accomplishments you can list, the more motivational tools you can give yourself. As you progress through life, continue adding more achievements to your list and refer to it whenever you need a boost.
A self-care routine is vital to building and maintaining self-confidence. This is especially true if you tend to put everyone else’s care ahead of your own. Remember that you can only sustain neglecting yourself for so long. Eventually, your own personal care will suffer, and you will no longer be able to serve others or yourself properly.
Self-care must be a priority if you want to improve self-confidence. Eating healthy, exercising, pursuing hobbies you enjoy, spending time with people you love and seeking healthcare as you need it are vital. If you neglect essential self-care items, create a self-care plan and follow it each day.
Stay True to Yourself
Nothing can make a person feel worse about themselves than doing something that doesn’t align with who they are. One of the best ways to ensure a healthy shift away from feeling unlovable is to make choices that you know deep down are the right thing to do.
Knowing who you really are and differentiating it from your life’s circumstances can help you to recognize your own self-worth. When you make small positive decisions that are right for you, it solidifies who you are and who you can be proud of. It isn’t always easy, but you can say you’ve done your best.
Sustain Your Confidence
When you make the decision to improve your self-confidence, it can be hard to sustain your progress. Instead of continuing to blame yourself or feel disappointed if you falter, bring in the support of others to help. There are plenty of positive and supportive people around you if you look hard enough. Many people have faced similar struggles and can offer guidance from their own experiences.
Brookhaven Retreat: A Safe Place to Rediscover Your Worth
If you’re looking to add a more positive influence in your life, consider Brookhaven Retreat’s holistic approach to emotional recovery. Whether you are suffering from substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, grief or trauma, Brookhaven Retreat is a safe environment for women to restore their emotional wellbeing, build their self-confidence and most importantly, feel accepted and loved. If someone you know is suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, addiction or emotional trauma, share these tips for improving self-confidence with them.