I have a list of phrases akin to nails on a chalkboard. What is it about human beings and if they don’t know what to say, they pull out horrible clichés? The one phrase that really gets under my skin is “to be loved you have to love yourself.” Never subscribing to it, I thought it was one of those things people said when they wanted to sound wise but really had nothing wise to contribute. Because we accept the love we deserve.
Then my entire world turned upside down.
I have always been a pretty confident person. After my husband passed away, it seemed like I could do nothing right. I wasn’t home enough. I stayed out too late. I wasn’t the epitome of what everyone wanted me to be. Four small children in tow, I just couldn’t seem to live up to what everyone needed and wanted me to be. Then I met my current husband, and everything seemed to change.
If you tell someone they are something long enough and frequently enough; they begin to believe what you say. After being ostracized, criticized, and judged, it was hard to like who I was and not think that there must be some truth to the ridicule I received. It made me not like myself very much or think I was worthy of much at all. That has created more problems in my relationship than I ever imagined it could. [Read: Insecurity in a relationship: how to get over it]
We accept the love we deserve
By training in psychology, I know if you are in a mental state, everything around you is viewed through the lens that you have. If you pass a group of people laughing, and you feel insecure about what you are wearing, you are more likely to think they are laughing about what you have on. If you walk past them secure in how you look and who you are, you either don’t notice their laughter or think they must have heard something funny. That is the nature of how we perceive things, and the way we react to that perception.
Losing Colin, my husband, was brutal. Nothing robs your soul more than watching someone you love wither away and not be able to save them. There were nights when Colin would turn to me and ask the impossible. For me to stop the pain that he was going through. In my head, I knew it wasn’t within my power, but that doesn’t stop you from feeling guilt at being the one who is not only surviving but doing nothing to save the person you love.
The guilt of not being able to do anything combined with what people said about me tainted not only the way I felt about myself, but the love I felt I was worthy of. I didn’t believe I was someone who should or could be loved. That is a very desperate way to feel. If I didn’t love myself, how could I think anyone else would love me? Aha… I finally realized what that phrase meant.
If you don’t love yourself and think that you are capable of being loved, you can’t interpret the love that people supply you in the right way. We accept the love we deserve. [Read: 6 reasons to love yourself first before falling in love]
When you feel unworthy
Recovery is a process. With every new year passing, I think “I am out of the woods.” Only to find the next year I was not at the clearing yet. But I continually work my way into the edge so that I can see more clearly. What I share with anyone who feels unworthy of love are the following truths. I have learned a lot in my short time here, some good, some bad and some just plain ugly. The one thing I learned is that if you aren’t willing to forgive and love yourself, it makes it very hard for others to love you.
On a weekly basis, I tell my husband all the reasons why he doesn’t *or shouldn’t* want to love me, yet he continues to look past it. I’ve been lucky enough to find someone who loves me even when I don’t quite myself. [Read: 12 simple things you do to make your life much worse]
Learning to accept love
We accept the love we deem ourselves worthy of. We accept the love we deserve. No matter how much someone loves us, if we don’t think we deserve it, we won’t accept it. Like a cup with only so much to fill, anything more spills over, wasted.
The crosses we carry are the hurdles that we have to be loved and loving wholly. There are likely many people in your life who would be capable of opening up and loving you more than you can ever imagine. If you don’t allow them the space to do so, you are cutting them off before they have given all that they have.
If you want to be able to accept love you have to learn these 11 important truths.
#1 Forgive yourself. Whatever it is you think you’ve done making you undeserving of love, you must forgive yourself. If someone loves you, they see something in you. Even if you can’t see it yourself. Only by letting go of whatever unresolved feelings you have allows you to open yourself to accept the love from those around you.
Whatever you did in your past, is in your past. Forgive yourself and move on. You are only human, and obviously, someone finds you lovable enough to invest in you. [Read: 16 easy ways to respect yourself in a relationship]
#2 Recognize your goodness. You supply the person in your life with something they find worthwhile. We all have gifts to give. If someone is willing to love you, then you have to stop seeing the negative in yourself and allow them to. There are things about yourself you may not like, but stop focusing on them and see the positive things. The more you foster the good things about yourself, the less those undesirable characteristics cloud your ability to be loved.
#3 Ask yourself why you aren’t worthy. If you limit the love you receive from others around you, it is important to stop and ask yourself why. Why is it you don’t feel yourself worthy of being loved? What is it that you have done that is so unlovable? Why don’t you feel you have the right to be loved by another person? [Read: Feeling forever alone? 13 steps to feeling loved all over again]
#4 Conquer the fear. Fear is one of the biggest reasons we stop people from loving us. If they love us, we come to rely on them and their love. In doing that, we set ourselves up for loss. Often, we don’t let someone love us because we are fearful of how we will survive if they should leave or withdraw that love. The problem is, spending so much time trying to protect yourself from something, you miss out on the best parts of life, love. You can’t protect yourself from love.
You only negate the magnificent nature of loving and being loved, which is a miraculous thing.
#5 Give what you expect to get back. If you want someone to love you with all that they are, you have to be willing not to ask anything of them that you wouldn’t give yourself. If you hold some of yourself back, they will not feel safe enough to give all that they have. Who wants to be in a half-fulfilling relationship? You have more to lose not ever giving it your all and never knowing how amazing it could have been. The worst you find, in the end, is you are more lovable than you thought. [Read: Fear of intimacy? The hardships of being afraid of love]
#6 Stop putting on the brakes. The biggest hurdle in allowing someone to love you is becoming scared and putting the brakes on the relationship. It is the push and pull feeling you get when you open yourself up. Then get frightened and shut the door tight. When you start to get worried you’ll end up hurt and lock yourself up tight, resist the urge. You can’t protect yourself from hurt if all you ever do is feel alone anyway.
#7 Stop listening to the voices of doubt. A voice lives inside all of us telling us what we are and we are not. Sometimes we choose to allow outside influences and past experiences to shape what we think we are capable and worthy of. Once you stop listening to the negative voices of doubt and give in with abandonment, you find that holding back was the thing limiting you all along.
#8 Let go of the past. Everyone has been hurt or experienced loss in the past. How we interpret those experiences and feelings of loss shape how we accept love in the future. If you continue to allow your past to control your future, your options continue to dwindle with each new insult. [Read: 8 daily reminders to help keep you going forward]
Seeing the future through the lens of the past only breeds self-fulfilling prophecies altering your realized potential. Let go of what has gone on before by acknowledging it, examining it, forgiving it, and realizing how you can go about things different next time.
#9 Build new positive experiences. Treat love with baby steps. And allow those in your life entry in incremental steps. Every new time they prove themselves worthy and you accept them for who and what they are, the more you build on positivity. Oftentimes positivity shapes positive expectations and outcomes.
#10 Be lovable. If you want someone to love you, be lovable. That means putting yourself out there, loving back, and being the best you in the relationship.
#11 Redefine your “cup.” Finally, instead of seeing yourself with a small cup to fill, consider yourself a bottomless pit. The more you allow someone to love you, the more you’ll be surprised at how much your cup spills over. Love is not a limited thing. It doesn’t have a start and end point, and it doesn’t ever fill up. Most of all, it is something you give and receive daily.
[Read: Wear your heart on your sleeve: 12 reasons to be open]
To get love believe yourself worthy of it. Let go of those things you carry, making you believe you are not lovable. Not only do you have to love yourself to be loved, you have to accept the love someone offers you. We accept the love we deserve.
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A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...
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