Will I never learn to love myself?

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    Hi everyone,
    I’ve never posted anything like this before and to be honest, I could go on forever about my problems. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible, and I hope that someone out there will understand.

    I’ve never loved myself. I am the only child of two parents who I’ve always thought was the best parents in the whole world, but now I know they are the bottom reason to why I’ve never learnt to even like myself. You see, my parents were never abusive but I’ve never been able to share my feelings with them and they’ve been really hard on me when it comes to being close to perfect, otherwise I wouldn’t receive their love. All my life, when I’ve been crying or expressing feelings, they’ve always told me to stop and never really took the time to talk to me. I could honestly never imaging having an emotional talk to either of my parents.

    I was a very shy child and lately, I’ve realized that I’ve got so many wounds from early/late childhood related to friends and not being a “pretty girl” like my friends were. Also, I’ve been cheated on and I don’t think I could really trust a guy fully again. I’ve never understood why until now, but I’ve always had the feeling that something is missing. I’ve thought that it was a brother or a sister, and then a best friend and when I became interested in boys, there was nothing that I desired more than a boyfriend to make me whole. I’ve always depended on other people to make me happy and feel loved.

    Now, I’m in a relationship and my insecurities are ruining it. I know that I need to learn to love myself, but I feel like I’ve already messed things up so much, and I don’t feel like I’m worth any love at all. I really live in fear – fear of being abandoned. When I was about twelve I had a “best friend” but she would abandon me at times for someone else; someone better and cooler. I’ve always felt like I’m a second choice and that’s why I freak out as soon as my boyfriend wants to spend time with someone else.

    I don’t want to be clingy. I don’t want to hate myself anymore but it seems like no matter how many great posts and quotes I read, I can’t find it in me to even like or accept myself. I hate who I’ve become and I don’t feel like I have any passions in life apart from being with my boyfriend. I just want to be independent and feel like I live my own life, because as it is now, I can’t even feel love for him – I just need him to make me feel okay with myself and that’s awful, I know. But I can’t help it.

    I used to be a good student and when things were bad when I was younger, I always depended on the thought that I was good at something (studying, singing etc). Now, after losing track of what I want to do with my life and what I want to do for a career, I don’t feel like I am good at anything. Especially not compared to others. I’m so afraid that my boyfriend will leave and that no one actually cares about me. I don’t really have any good friends and I can’t talk to them, as I know they’ve gotten tired of hearing about my problems before.

    If there is someone out there who have any advice on what to do, or who can give me some kind of hope that things will get better at some point, please let me know! I don’t want to hate myself anymore, and I know that I need to love myself to be happy with my life and to let go of fear. But where do I start?


    Hi Eve,

    I understand many of the things you said. I always feel like this. I always tried find my happiness on something. Friends, Boyfriend…
    But when I reached that, I still feel bad about myself. Always missing something. I always feel that I wasn’t good enough. I always feel that nobody likes me.

    All you need to do is start to loving yourself. See the qualities that you have. Feel good about yourself. Think always positive things about yourself. You need to establish your goals. Live for that. Make changes, even small ones, and you will notice the difference.
    And the most important, belive that you will one day be the person that you always dreamed to be. Don’t give up and start to do things for you. Every day, when you wake up, look at the mirror and say you love the person that you see. That’s the love you need.

    Mmm Bacon


    I cannot help but sympathize with your struggle. Learning to love myself has been (and continues to be) a lifelong process. What I do know is that it starts with learning to adjust your inner monologue. Stop criticizing yourself. Stop comparing yourself to your supposed “prettier friends”. I would recommend exploring the technique of mindfulness and then learning to use it everyday.

    Also, take some time to “date” yourself. Rediscover what makes you feel good about yourself. Try and focus on what you like about yourself. Be grateful for the things you do have. And take part in activities that bring you joy.

    It seems to me you are an intelligent, thoughtful young woman. It would be a shame to waste the rest of your life trying to fix something that ain’t broke! Good luck and take care.

    Banu Sekendur

    Hi Eve,
    I came across this thread coincidentally. I must say that, it is very courageous of you to write this and reach out to the community. I don’t know if you recognize it but THAT IS AN ACT OF SELF-LOVE. I struggled with the same thing for a long time and I totally understand the pain you’re feeling as I have been there. I wrote an article on this very topic on TB here. Hope you will find it useful.

    What Self-Love Means: 20+ Ways to Be Good to Yourself

    You can do it!


    Hi Eve,

    I will share what I have discovered lately…. There are many times when I would find myself with negative thoughts about myself… Although people find me attractive; I would think, ‘they must be crazy, hell I’m not or may be what they see is a facade’. Our mind is a strange place and difficult to handle sometimes.

    I would look rarely in the mirror and one fine day, it caught my attention and I said, hey, wait a minute, this person in the mirror is pretty, is that really me? Well, then I should come here often and look at the mirror and develop positive thoughts about myself…

    The point here is not if we look pretty or not, but the way we see ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, we can’t expect others to love us.

    Another way of feeling good about ourselves is to journal what we like about us or the things we are good at. Everyday, atleast 10 things, it will be difficult in the beginning, but you’ll feel great about yourself!

    Affirmations is another good practice to implement in our daily life.

    Lots of love and positivity to you….:-)


    Hi Eve,

    I understand your struggle and it saddens me that there are people suffering with this issues. We know how much pain and fear it could bring us. My mother was emotionally abusive when i was young, mockery and demeaning words were and still part of my daily life. I wish i could tell you how i manage to love myself, apparently I’m still struggling, and like you those great articles and quotes can’t seem to ease the pain. Some days i drown myself in social events, attaching myself to any guy that even show a slight interest in me, but in the end all these ended up hurting me even further.

    I see your pain eve, and i feel it too, sadly i have no answer or advice to offer other than telling you that i understand how painful it is. I wish one day we can finally feel at ease with ourselves, meanwhile all we can do is keep trying to do what’s best for us. Get up each time we fall and stay strong.

    Love and hugs to you.


    Hi Eve,

    I completely empathize with you. There have been numerous occasions where I had no love or self-respect for myself and found it a difficult journey to try and pull myself up from that position of low self-worth. It’s a constant struggle, but let me tell you, when I can find ways to make myself feel whole again, it’s an indescribably wonderful feeling; I know that you can reach this level of self-love as well. We all go through dark times in life (whether it be sporadic, short-term, or long-term), and that is okay. It’s what we can take out of these dark times that shape our character.

    It seems to me that you are letting your past define you. Because your parents did not show interest or care in your emotions, you felt unworthy of their attention & love and therefore carried this with you into your adult life. No matter what your inner critic tells you, I’m here to tell you that you ARE in fact worthy of love. Your first obstacle and something that you need to acknowledge is this–you need to let go of your past. It’s nothing but a chapter in your book of life, and it’s over. You now have the capacity and room to start a new chapter and make a “new beginning”. How you overcome this obstacle is entirely up to you, but I know you have the strength to surpass it. To give you some guidance though, I would start with forgiveness. Forgive your parents, and forgive yourself.

    As for your significant other, I think it’s natural to let some of our insecurities spill over into the relationship. But we can’t make this a permanent thing. Having someone who is patient with you and understands that you are struggling with some inner conflict is definitely someone worth keeping, but even the most understanding and loving person can only take so much after awhile. I do not tell you this to discourage you, it’s just a fact that many couples go through. Your boyfriend should complement who you are, not try and make you whole. I ALWAYS ALWAYS encourage others to make themselves whole and not seek out this responsibility in someone else. My advice, and you can take it with a grain of salt or carefully consider it, is to be single. Loving yourself is a journey that must be completed on your own, otherwise it becomes a viscous cycle of looking for other partners to fill your voids (and believe me, it never ends well).

    Maybe right now you need to focus on a career. Or you need to go out there and socialize with new people. Don’t worry about the so-called-friends who couldn’t stand listening to your problems after awhile. Do they sound like genuine friends to you? Look for people in life that are only going to lift you higher and raise you up. Of course some of this must be done on your own because not everyone can carry your whole weight, metaphorically speaking. Surround yourself in an enriching environment with mindful and wonderful people who are going to bring out the best in you. Take up new hobbies and rediscover your strengths and passions. Start reading (read self-help books if it’ll repair some of your confidence and esteem), or write in a journal everyday and let your thoughts out. There are many creative outlets to expressing our emotions.

    You are not alone in this, and I’m sure if you found the right crowd, they would be more than willing to hear you vent and to get rid of some excess anger/frustration/sadness.

    Try your best to keep a positive attitude and remind yourself that you will get through this dark time and that things always get better. But keep in mind that you must take action in order for things to get better. I have faith in you and I know you will do quite well. You seem like a wonderful and thoughtful woman. You just need to believe in yourself more, but you’ll get there. Best of luck, dear!



    Hi Eve,
    Thank you for posting! First and foremost I want you to know that you ARE NOT alone! Everyone has insecurities. There is always something we are trying to be better at or aspire to. That’s our nature as human beings, to never be satisfied. I battled insecurity for a long time and ruined every relationship I had. I became clingy and jealous and always compared myself to others who I thought had something I didn’t have. In reality they actually did have something I didn’t have; Love for themselves. Self esteem is basically how you see yourself. It is based on the inner and not the outer. It is more of a mental things. Low self esteem comes from self defeating thoughts that have no factual evidence and can’t be proven to be true. The only thing that matters is you. Before you try to love anyone else, you have to first love you! It is YOUR responsibility to love yourself and no one else’s. Loving yourself comes by accepting yourself unconditionally right now regardless of your circumstance. If you want to be a better person in the future, you must first accept who you are now. For example, you pull up at a toll booth. In order to get across the bridge to your destination, you must first pay the toll in order for the gat to go up to get across. I recently battled a lot with my sexual orientation and dealing with same sex attractions for years. Once I finally accepted these feelings I gave room for my authentic self to begin thriving and prospering. I accepted where I am in the present moment. The present moment is all that matters. Take some time to focus on you. Happiness is already in us and no external source can give us everlasting happiness. Also never compare yourself to others. That is an act of violence to your authentic self. I know what you are going through. Keep pressing. We are all here for you.


    Hi Eve,

    Maybe too late now, but I hope you are doing well. I have recently been going through something like this myself. Really confusing to be honest. People say follow a certain steps to love yourself, set goals etc. Really none of that shit seems to work.  It just feels like I am fighting an endless battle with myself trying to love myself. Interestingly, all the counselors and psychologists think that by fighting this battle with yourself, you will learn to love yourself eventually as a part of you will over power the other part. I think all of this is just encouraging neuroticism.

    Recently, through my explorations, I have learnt a new way to resolve my internal conflicts. Basically goes like this, having an insight out of self-understanding and that very insight brings the dissolution of conflict (something similar to what has been communicated by J Krishnamurti and Buddha — Being a light to oneself). Now while reading your article, I kind of had some insights about my (and probably yours as well) situation. It seems to me that we often think we have a lot of time in our lives, and facing the fact that we are getting old and would die one day brings more stress and anxiety. But the truth is our time is passing by, and yet we are faced with this tremendous self-conflict and disorder. How do we understand this disorder so fully that we free ourselves from it immediately so that we aren’t wasting any more life energy living in conflict?

    Let’s see, I think I lack self-love, because nobody really taught me how to love myself. My father was emotionally abusive. I don’t think he intended to be that way, but he had become one. In the culture where I come from, it is considered to be a favorable thing when a kid is scared of his father, as then, the kid stays in control and doesn’t just do whatever the hell he/she likes. I was beaten with belt/slippers, shouted on as well. And then, when I wanted to cry, because my mom was to weak to see me cry, she would cry in return and emotionally black-mail me to stop crying. And if my father saw me crying, well then I was legit fucked! He would shout at me even more until I stopped crying! You see, I became a master of suppression! There were reasons that I continued suppressing my wants and my needs you know:

    I.) Probably because suppressing my feelings kept me safe from the wrath of this maniac I called my father and also kept that one weakling (my mother) happy. This way we could all pretend that nothing was wrong in our family and we are/were a happy family.

    ii.) Suppressing my desire to hang out with friends seemed to help me study better. Studying better meant better reputation among classmates and teachers. Finally, the love that I wanted!! But then, studying more, becoming more and more perfect became my ambition, and in this ambition, I ironically, isolated myself more and more from people. Also, in this ambition for excellence (fueled by the need for love and respect from people),  I further suffocated myself until I achieved perfection. You see, I turned against myself lol!

    Honestly, it is very complicated. But I hope that through this self understanding, I would eventually be free. I don’t know honestly. Really, I personally feel that self love should be something natural. A dog knows how to take care of itself. So does a kid (cries everytime it experiences inconvenience, not caring whatever the hell adults face lol!). Somehow in this demand of meeting externally set standards, we seemed to have become excellent at suffocating ourselves. Maybe all we have to do is understand ourselves, than to suffocate ourselves further with the pressure of loving ourselves to achieve some results. Because it seems like if we are striving to love ourselves, then we are fighting ourselves, and then inturn, maybe not loving ourselves.

    Take care 🙂


    Dear Kartik:

    I am addressing you in this old 2014 thread because it is very, very unlikely that the members who posted here more than 7 years ago are still following this thread. Please feel free to ignore my post.

    “I am fighting an endless battle with myself trying to love myself…  I became a master of suppression!… suppressing my feelings kept me safe from the wrath of this maniac I called my father and also kept that one weakling (my mother) happy. This way we could all pretend that nothing was wrong in our family… in this demand of meeting externally set standards, we seemed to have become excellent at suffocating ourselves… if we are striving to love ourselves, then we are fighting ourselves, and then in turn, maybe not loving ourselves” –

    – perhaps the answers to your struggles are the antonyms of the words you used: fighting=> being at peace, master of suppression=> master of expression, suppressing your feelings=> expressing your feelings, pretending=> being true to yourself and to others, externally set standards=> internally set standards.

    Loving yourself= no longer fighting with yourself, no more battles within, taking in fresh air, hushing our tension, our stress…


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