How To Tell If You Really Love Yourself Or Not

It is normal from time to time to feel negatively about yourself, but is it just an off day or is there a greater issue? Read on to find out signs that you may not really love yourself.

I haven’t always loved myself, and I am not ashamed to admit that. You shouldn’t be ashamed to admit this either.

I experienced awful self-esteem for many, many years; in fact, I would suggest that most of my life, I have felt horribly about myself. Many things contributed to this negative outlook. I was bullied severely in elementary school, to the point of experiencing anxiety when it was a school day.

I was only 7 years old. I was heavily involved in dance when I was younger, and was told I would never succeed long-term because I was too curvy. I experienced several traumatic episodes in the dating world, which left me feeling worthless.

My experience is not uncommon; in fact, many people who cope with a negative self-view have experienced this due to some sort of trauma in their younger years. This kind of self-loathing can also result from a negative experience in your adult years as well.

I can now honestly say that I truly love myself and deserve the best, and it has taken a long time to get to this place. I still have days where I feel badly about something I have done or said, or fixate on the physical parts of myself that need work. In my heart and soul though, I know this is a fleeting moment in time and it will pass.

Having true love for yourself first is essential to be happy. You have likely heard that if you do not love yourself, you cannot love another and this is so true. If you hate yourself, you are unlikely to stand up to mistreatment or will take unnecessary criticism.

You are more likely to settle for less than you deserve. On the flip side, if you love yourself, you will feel confident to disagree with a partner or friend, and know that is okay. You will not settle down with just anyone, or sacrifice your feelings and views to fill a void. You will project confidence and be successful.

So, how can you tell if you have a harmful view of yourself, rather than just an off day? Here are a few clues to watch for. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list. For more signs you may not love yourself, check out this article.

You engage in negative self-talk constantly

Mirror reflection of depressed woman

If you are constantly talking down to yourself, you are engaging in what counselors refer to as negative self-talk. These patterns are incredibly damaging to your self-esteem, and as well as feeling poorly about yourself, can also lead to many devastating consequences, such as addictions. Negative self-talk plays a primary role in not truly loving yourself, hence why I have a large focus on it for this article.

When you do not care about yourself in the way you should, you are apt to criticize yourself, expect perfection or even be hard on yourself for the most trivial of things. I have a tendency to be hard on myself because I am a perfectionist at heart; however, I need to be mindful of the difference between simply holding myself to high standards and being unnecessarily negative.

If you are unsure if you are engaging in negative self-talk or not, I will give you one example of a behavior you may notice, using someone I met in the past. This person would make a witty joke or ask someone a question, then, due to his negative thinking patterns, later would tell himself the other party was offended. He would experience panic attacks and anxiety, and tell himself that he was stupid for having said what he did in the first place, then needlessly apologize. If you find yourself doing this, check the kinds of thoughts you have.

Obviously, there are many more scenarios where you may engage in negative self-talk. So, how do you change this? Psych Central offers an excellent article with some helpful tips.

By challenging the thoughts you are having and working at changing your mindset and feelings about yourself, you will be able to change this pattern. If you require assistance from a trained professional in doing this, there’s absolutely no shame in seeking help. I would encourage you to find a counselor or psychologist in your area specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

You do not stand up for yourself, or avoid conflict

When you feel poorly about yourself, you may think that you are unlovable. Because of this, particularly in relationships, you might not stand up for yourself in instances of mistreatment. Also, if you disagree with your partner and do voice your differences, when challenged, you may immediately retract your opinion or clarify what you “really meant.”

You are filling a void negatively

Young woman celebrating with chips on roulette table

If you have low self-esteem, you may turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or a plethora of other negative behaviors to fill that void of love within your life. If you think that you may have a problem with a substance or behavior, you likely do. Seek out treatment and support services in your area and talk to someone.

You find yourself settling in any area of your life

Are you stuck in a job you hate, but feel you will not get hired anywhere else? Are you with someone who does not make you feel loved or is abusive, but you feel you cannot do better? Do you cover up your partner’s negative behavior (addiction, abuse, etc.) because you are scared people will encourage you to leave them, and you cannot bear to be on your own? All of these things may indicate you are settling for less than you deserve.

You can change your thoughts and become a much healthier, happier person. Loving yourself may take time but know that it is possible. If you require counseling services in order to do so, seek them out. Feeling great about yourself will give you freedom and happiness, and a much better life overall.

Have you ever suffered from low self-esteem? How did you recognize it? What steps did you take to change it?


About the author

Lisa H.

Lisa is versatile, being a Psychology-trained addictions worker by day, writer by night. She enjoys traveling, dance, & can squat her body weight. Her dream is to integrate her education & love of writing into a sustaining career.

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