If you don’t love yourself, who will? And how can you love anyone else if you don’t first love yourself?
These are valid questions.
When someone doesn’t love themselves, we can tell. We can see it in their demeanor, their face, and their posture. We can hear it in their tone of voice and the way they talk. Why do you think these people attract users and abusers to them? Why do you think they end up with people who mistreat and control them?
Here’s what happens when you don’t love yourself:
1. You’re never able to properly love anyone else. You will be codependent- always searching to get love from another source- a source outside yourself, instead of letting love come from within. When you finally find someone who does love you, you won’t love them the way they need to be loved. Instead, you’ll only smother your partner to death because you’ll always have to be right there under the person’s nose.
Also, you’ll be suspicious of others, wondering if your partner’s going to leave you or wondering if they’re cheating. You’ll wonder if your friends really like you or if they’re only pretending to. In essence, you’ll end up making a new partner or friend pay for something someone else did in the past and it’s not fair. Being in constant worry and suspicion is no way to live!
2. You rely too much on others to make you feel loved and wanted and be afraid of being alone. You will always believe that to be happy, you must always be one half of a couple. But understand that if you aren’t happy single, you won’t be happy in a relationship either.
3. You move too quickly into a relationship. Once you are in a relationship, you’ll love your partner more than they deserve and before they have time to earn that love. Also, you’re likely to scare the other person away. Realize that love needs time to grow.
4. You give away your power. When you give away your power, you automatically put yourself at the mercy of someone else. And believe me, they take full advantage. You put your own needs on the back burner and always put your partner before yourself, doing all the giving in the relationship in exchange for your partner’s love. You’ll even do things you really don’t want to do just to satisfy the other person.
You’ll stop making your own decisions and allow someone else to choose for you. You’ll also agree to every single thing he or she says. When you do this, you leave nothing for yourself. After a while, the feeling of unfairness will slowly build. Soon, you will become resentful after so long of not getting anything in return.
Never give another person that kind of power! You must have your own mind and be your own person.
5. Because you can never control how another person acts nor how they feel about you. What happens when your partner gets tired of you and decides he/she no longer wants to be with you? It will devastate you. It’s only natural that the end of any friendship or relationship is painful. But it should never be crushing. It should never feel like the end of the world.
6. You’ll be on an endless search for love and friendship. You’ll spend your whole life searching for love. That in itself is not only off-putting to others, but it’s also exhausting to you. You’ll waste your time, hopping from relationship to relationship.
When one partner gets bored with you and leaves for someone who challenges them, you’ll be on another search for someone else to take their place. And this cycle will only continue to repeat itself. Before long, you’ll have a string of broken relationships behind you. Not good!
7. You’ll settle for just anyone. And you’ll get even less than what you settled for. No one should settle. Ever! If the person isn’t the person you want or is less than what you thought they were, you’ll be much happier if you move on to something you really want. Always be selective of the friends and partners you choose and of the company you keep.
8. You attract takers instead of givers. Predatory people have a keen eye for those who are desperate to be loved and accepted. And they’ll sniff you from a mile away. These people will be more than happy to befriend or date you just to get what they want from you. Once they’ve used you long enough and bleed you dry of resources and dignity, they’ll only drop you and move on to the next poor sucker. When you stop being afraid of aloneness, you magically begin to repel predators and attract better people.
9. You’ll repel the people who either do or would otherwise love and accept you. If by chance you happen to find someone who truly loves you, you won’t be able to relax and enjoy it. You’ll be so scared of losing the person that you’ll be too clingy and likely run them off because of your incessant neediness.
Understand that when you do this, you automatically make them responsible for your happiness and it’s not fair. Being held responsible for another person’s happiness is a heavy load for anyone to carry! You’ll only zap the other person’s energy as you expect them to fill a void that can’t be filled by anyone but you and God. Realize that only you are responsible for your happiness. No one else.
10. You stay in toxic relationships and put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone. You’ll likely end of with an abuser who’ll physically or mentally abuse you. Love and friendship shouldn’t be painful.
You may also end up with someone too lazy to work and who expects you to keep their worthless ass up. No one has to work that hard to keep any relationship and if you do, it’s a sign that you need to show somebody out the door- and fast.
The last thing you want is to be tied down to some broke chump who treats you like crap or won’t get off their dead ass and work to help pay the bills. I’ve seen this happen to so many people I’ve known in the past.
Being alone is a part of loving yourself. It’s not the worse thing that can ever happen to you. It’s very healthy sometimes because you get to know yourself during times of solitude.
But when you’re afraid of being by yourself, you’re likely to give others control of your life and put yourself at their mercy! STOP THAT! Never cheat yourself by settling for anything less than what you deserve!
Never put your happiness in someone else’s hands! Ever!
Some people get the two confused. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re self-centered. But you can bet that bullies will accuse their target of it when they realize she’s growing a backbone.
Understand that when you start loving yourself enough not to take your bullies’ opinions of you seriously, the bullies will take notice of it right away. They’ll realize that they no longer have power over you. To get that power back, they will try like the devil to guilt you by accusing you of either selfishness or self-centeredness.
Don’t fall for that con game! When bullies lose the benefits they’ve grown accustomed to getting at your expense, they always get irate. Right or wrong, whenever someone has had power over another person for a long time and has gotten used to having that power, then suddenly loses it, of course, they’re going to be upset- and intensely so.
But don’t concern yourself with how your bullies feel. After all, they never gave a thought to your feelings the entire time they jerked you around.
Ditch these people! The sooner, the better! You’re not being selfish by choosing to put yourself first. What you’re doing is having the courage to love yourself and treat yourself better.
Realize that the bullies are the self-centered ones, in expecting you to go on being their doormat. No one has the right to expect you to put up with something they wouldn’t tolerate if it were happening to them.
To expect any differently from another person than what they’d do shows a complete lack of respect for people other than themselves and is sheer arrogance, self-entitlement, and stupidity.
There’s a name for this- double-standard!
Remember that we teach others how to treat us. And how we teach them to treat us is by how well we treat ourselves- by the boundaries we set, our ability to say “no,” and whether we continue to allow them to be in our lives.
“If you aren’t afraid to be alone, you’ll more than likely have the courage to walk away from relationships that are bad for you.”
– Cherie White –
I won’t kid you. Being alone can sometimes make a person vulnerable. However, being surrounded by negative people makes you just as vulnerable if not more so. Therefore, being alone can be much better than keeping company with spiteful people who only bring you down.
As difficult as it may be, sometimes you must weed out all these ungrateful souls who don’t see your worth to make room for more positive, caring, and loving people to come in.
1. People will let you down at some point. Get rid of anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself and only keep company with those who love and respect you. Keep the people in your life who value your opinions, even when those opinions are strong.
2. Not everyone who smiles at you is in your corner.
3. It’s easier to get rid of people who are toxic.
4. It’s easier to say goodbye to relationships that only hinder growth.
If someone is not treating you like you deserve to be treated, never be afraid to let them go, even if it seems that they’re your only options at the moment.
Remember that we must do things that don’t feel comfortable and that are downright scary for any positive change to happen.
Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus
You must have the courage to love yourself, even when it angers the people around you. That means setting boundaries, being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
During grade 6, my first year at Oakley* Schools, I lacked boundaries because I didn’t know how to enforce them. Without those limits, I gave away my friendship, time, energy, and power to people who never deserved it and left nothing for myself. I was bending over backward to please others, treading lightly, being careful not to rock the boat, and make other people angry.
I had been conditioned to think that I wasn’t enough, and I should be anything other than myself. And I thought that being friendly, being accommodating, and being available would win me love and friendship.
It didn’t. It got me the exact opposite- walked over, bullied, and mistaken for a fool because the people I was overly friendly to never extended the same to me in return. Without meaning to, I gave the impression that I was desperate to fit in.
A year or so later, during the seventh grade, I began setting boundaries because I was tired of being a doormat. However, first impressions are powerful and it was too late. The power dynamic and others’ expectations of me had already been set. What I should’ve done was drew the line from day one.
In junior high, although my boundaries were clear, many others violated them every chance they got for no other reason than to demonstrate their power and show who was boss. Anytime I said ‘no’ to any of my classmates at school, I would face retaliation of some kind- guilt trips, threats, or physical beatings because they had grown too used to me being a pushover.
They were afraid that if I developed a spine, the benefits they were getting at my expense would stop. Therefore, the retaliation was their way of reinforcing their power and dominance and keeping me subdued.
But now that we’re all adults, let any of them try that today, and they will be very disappointed. Back then, I often wondered why nothing ever seemed to work out.
Understand that timing is everything. Also realize that you already have power but for it to work, you must know how to use it and you must stand up for yourself the very first time bullies come for you. Otherwise, your place in the pecking order will become iron clad and once that happens, you might as well not have any power at all.
I didn’t realize it then, but during those early years in Oakley*, I was going about it all wrong. ‘You see? You must put yourself and your needs first. Never lower your standards or your boundaries! It’s okay to be kind, but never be nice!
The difference between being kind and being nice is that kindness is genuine. People are kind because it’s the right thing to do, not because it can win friendships or favors. Also, kind people never give at their own expense.
Nice people, on the other hand, want friendship and approval. Also, people who are nice give at their own peril and stick their neck out for others to step on, thinking others will come around when they realize how much they care. “Nicies” are under the impression that the more you suffer, the more it shows you care. Um- Wrong!
It gives the impression that you’re a pushover, a kiss butt, a boot-licker! Being nice never awards you any respect because there’s usually an ulterior motive and the reason for your niceness is to avoid conflict!
Being kind, on the other hand, is genuine and others can sense the genuineness. Being kind is much more respectful. Being ‘nice’ is for wimps.
Understand that anytime you set boundaries, there will always be those who will hate you for it and retaliate. And they will fight you for a while to wear you down. That’s what bullies do!
However, stick to your guns. Keep fighting for your right to be treated with respect. Show them that you will stand up to them no matter what they do, and eventually, they’ll get tired and realize that you aren’t worth the effort. They’ll go find an easier target.
So, always set limits and be prepared to fight to protect them. Be kind, yes! But if people start taking your kindness for being a fool and treating you like crap, don’t be afraid to tell these people to kiss off!
Being kind to others means being kind to yourself first.
1.The person who makes you second choice. If you have a so-called friend who only wants to talk to or spend time with you when their first option isn’t available, it’s time to walk away. Don’t be second fiddle. Don’t be somebody’s option B, C, or D.
I’ve been on both sides of this fence. I played second fiddle many times when I was young, and I caused others to do it too because I wasn’t very mindful of other people’s feelings at times. I was wrong for it. Get rid of the people who make you second choice. At the same time, don’t take the people who value you for granted because it hurts, and they deserve better from you.
2. The person who only comes around when they want something. Realize that this person doesn’t really love you for you, but only sees you as a convenience. They only love you for what they can get from you. These are the kinds of people who only show up when they’re in a jam and they need money, advice, or help with something.
You’re not a bank, you’re not Dear Abby, and you’re not a go-to person when someone needs help with something. You’re much, much more than that. Sure. It’s great to want to help your family, friends, and your fellow man. Nothing wrong with that. But if they only take advantage of you, it’s time to cut them off and cut them loose!
Remember. You create your own value by how you allow others to treat you. Always value yourself and never settle for people who don’t see your worth but only see the convenience you provide. It’s not your job to make other people’s lives easier for them and it’s not your responsibility to make them feel better about themselves. Know your worth. Take back your self-respect and your power.
Putting others first isn’t a bad thing. It shows that you care about your fellow man and that you’re willing to contribute some good to the world. It’s an outstanding character trait to have.
Many people have been conditioned, often by well-meaning parents, that the polite thing to do is to put others ahead of ourselves. That making sacrifices for others shows manners and that we’re “good people”- that we are well-mannered and have morals. Nothing wrong with it.
However, when that courtesy is overdone or done at your own expense, that’s when it becomes a bad thing. The problem is that people will come to expect you to be a yes-person and take their crap. You’ll soon attract users and abusers and become a doormat.
In taking this advice, many of us found out the hard way that giving too much of ourselves sometimes involved overlooking abuse. Even worse, we found that it didn’t make the mistreatment go away but only encouraged the person to abuse us later.
Growing up, I heard every excuse you can imagine.
“Oh, they’re just having a bad day.”
“Maybe they have an abusive or cheating spouse at home.”
“Oh, but you never know what that person is going through.” Blah-blah-b-blah.
A few adults in my family and a few teachers advised me to,
“Give them a break.”
“Cut so-and-so some slack.”
“Try to overlook him.”
“Oh, but try to put yourself in her shoes.”
That got old very quickly. I eventually grew fed up and wanted to scream, “Um- EXCUSE ME! I’ve been ‘reasonable,’ and the only thing I ever got from it is taken advantage of! Would you be reasonable if this happened to you?!”
The point is that no matter what anyone tells you, it’s okay to put yourself first. And no law or rule says you have to tolerate unacceptable behavior- from anyone! Ever!
Anytime you’re mistreated, then advised or forced to “be nice” or “understand what Joe Blow is going through,” it only means that, subconsciously, the givers of this advice either don’t care about your boundaries, or they’re afraid of making the offending person angrier, and of the situation escalating. Some people can’t handle conflict.
They are only trying to silence you to appease the person who’s being a total jackass.
These kinds of advice and expectations can do one of either two things to you as you get older:
A. It can program you to be over tolerant of unacceptable and abusive behaviors and set you up for a life of getting bullied by other people.
You grow up being so afraid of pissing anyone off that you accept any abuse to avoid conflict. You end up living a life of being crapped on by others.
B. It can have the exact opposite effect and give you an “F-you” attitude and a bad case of The Don’t-Give-A-Shits.
Because of being forced to accept bad behavior in the past, you become a mean, bitter, and apathetic adult and could care less about anyone. That’s not good either.
I’m one of the lucky ones. It gave me an equal blend of both. I believe in treating others how I’d want them to treat me and don’t mind lending a helping hand to someone who needs it.
But if for one moment, I suspect that someone is taking my kindness for being a fool, I’ll drop that person like a bad habit and they’re on their own!
It’s okay to be kind. It’s okay to put others before you, but only in particular circumstances.
It’s perfectly fine to give an older adult your chair in a crowded doctor’s office.
It’s okay to get up and offer your seat to a combat soldier in a crowded airport.
In fact, it’s called having respect for elders and servicemen and women who fight for your country.
But never take abuse nor accept excuses for unacceptable behavior. Anytime someone crosses a line with you, go ahead. Respond in kind. Give it back to them because only then will the person realize that you aren’t a doormat and find someone else to abuse.
This is not selfish or being self-centered. It’s called self-preservation.
To become comfortable in your own skin, it takes several years and plenty of life lessons and experiences. It takes being knocked down enough times by enough people before you can finally say, enough is enough and choose to be happy.
And when we choose to be happy, despite our imperfections and what others think or say of us, we choose to be truly free! Free from the constraints of longing to fit in- free from the constraints of conformity!
To be comfortable in your own skin means loving and accepting all parts of you- the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
It means doing what fulfills you and makes you happy.
It means living life on your own terms.
It means refusing to apologize for who you are.
It means allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
It means refusing to live up to standards and expectations other than your own.
It means making time for hobbies and interests.
It means making time for your family and closest friends.
It means not being afraid to say no or to set boundaries.
It means not being afraid to ask for what you want.
It means following your dreams.
It means working toward your goals.
It means celebrating your successes and accomplishments.
It means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
It means being selective of friends and who you spend time with.
It means accepting and embracing differences in people.
It means having empathy and compassion for others.
It means putting yourself and your health first.
It means being realistic with goals and patient with the time it takes to reach them.
It means being present in the moment.
It means knowing your limitations.
It means knowing what you want in life and going after it.
It means being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
It means loving yourself enough to know when it’s time to walk away.
It means knowing that you’re worthy of respect, love, compassion, friendship, and peace.
Hey! There’s no getting away from it, kiddo! You can never run from yourself. You are confined to yourself and will take this person with you wherever you go. Soooo… Would you rather be stuck for the rest of your life with someone you love or someone you hate?
I thought so.
Many times, we’ve heard critical and debasing voices of the people around us when we were growing up. And they conditioned us to take it as truth. We were innocent victims who ended up internalizing the bad stuff that happened to us and mistook them as confirmation that we are unlovable. Understand that it is all a lie.
Realize that the devil is the author of lies and a good liar always uses the past to convince us that their lies are the truth. They tell us that we’re unworthy, that we’re bad, that we’ll never amount to a hill of beans.
Again, all lies.
I’m not a shrink. I’m not even a mental health professional. However, what I’m suggesting here is just common sense. Wouldn’t it make sense to love the only person you’re stuck with 24/7, rather than to hate them? Sure, it would.
Therefore, it’s so important that we don’t let bullies convince us to hate ourselves. Never let someone else use you as their personal toxic waste dump. Never allow yourself to be a dumping ground for their baggage.
Granted, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re a target of relentless bullying. It takes a conscious effort and a lot of work to keep their garbage from affecting our mental health. But realize that you’re worth the investment. I promise you.
And if it gets overwhelming, there’s nothing wrong with seeking therapy. We all need a little help sometimes. Also, there’s nothing wrong with leaving the environment either. Do whatever you must do to preserve your sanity.
If you choose the first option, know that it doesn’t mean you’re “crazy” or “mentally imbalanced.” Realize that ignorant people tell you these things to make you seem that way because it helps them to distract others from and hide their own mental and emotional issues.
If you choose the latter, know that you’re not running away; you’re removing yourself from a bad place that’s no good for you. That’s not being chicken or wimping out, that’s called self-care. And naturally, when you love someone, you’ll protect and take care of them. Take care of yourself.
So, fall in love with yourself. And that means breaking up with the voices that tell you that you’re not worthy and banishing them forever because those voices are nasty. They’re old, stale, and they stink like yesterday’s trash! They’ve been telling you the same worn out lies for years and you’d think we’d get bored hearing the same old crap from them after so long.
Replace them with voices of love because anything other than that is just noise pollution!
Loving yourself also means treating your body with respect and care- feeding it what it needs and giving it exercise by going on nature walks and spending time outside rather than isolating yourself by shutting yourself inside the house all day. There’s nothing like being outdoors and enjoying some sunlight and a cool breeze. You’d be surprised at how much better it makes you feel.
It means feeding your mind as well- reading personal development books (or a good mystery novel), meditating, and praying.
Most importantly, it means you stop criticizing yourself and listening to that toxic voice that says you’re not good enough. You might not completely get rid of your inner critic, but you won’t give it nearly as much airtime as you once did.
When you love yourself fully and completely, you allow yourself to make mistakes and use them to learn and grow. You’ll allow yourself to apologize when appropriate. You’ll embrace the imperfections you cannot change and improve on the ones you can.
When you start loving yourself, you will accept healthier relationships with people who truly love you because you’ll feel more worthy of them. You’ll become a go-getter and begin going after your dreams. Other people will sense this and treat you with love and respect while toxic people will be more likely to avoid you like the plague because they won’t want to mess with you.
Even your finances and lifestyle will go up!
You’ll invite positive changes by learning, improving, and growing. You won’t change who you are but only become a better version of yourself. Even better you’ll enjoy your journey to self-betterment.
Understand that we accept what we think we deserve out of life. If you loathe yourself, you’ll accept drama in your life and toxic relationships and environments that aren’t good for you. You’ll allow people to wipe their feet all over you and you’ll lose sight of your goals and dreams. In short, you’ll settle for less and get even less than what you settle for.
That’s why it’s crucial that you learn to love the one person you’re stuck with- the one person you can never, even for a second, get away from- yourself!
Stop spending time with someone you hate. Instead, spend your time with someone you love! And you do it by replacing the hate for that person with love.
I won’t kid you here. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of hard inner work and you will have to invest a lot of time and energy at first. There will also be times when your mind will fight against you, and you fall short but get back up and keep at it!
It will be so worth it in the end. Know that YOU are worth it! Love the person you’re stuck with!