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If you don’t love yourself, you won’t take proper care of yourself or be happy. That’s why it’s no surprise that Heather never felt like she got what she wanted out of her life. She always felt as if she was accepting scraps of affection and had to do what those around her wanted in order to feel worthy.
As a result of this thinking, Heather often found herself in situations that made her deeply unhappy. She had a dysfunctional relationship with her mother-in-law. She picked fights with her husband. She hated her boss and her job.
Finally, Heather went to see a therapist. Her therapist suggested that perhaps Heather was in these situations because she had never learned how to truly love herself. At first, Heather scoffed at the idea, but her therapist encouraged her to explore her relationship with herself before she began trying to fix her other relationships.
When it comes to thinking about relationships, you might immediately think of your relationship to your parents, your spouse, or your children. But you also have a relationship with yourself.
If it’s not a healthy relationship based on a foundation of love, chances are high that you will find yourself deeply unhappy in multiple areas of your life. Here are ten warning signs that you aren’t loving yourself.
Sign #1: You Think Mean Thoughts about Yourself
Everyone has the occasional off day where they think that they’re stupid, fat, ugly, or worthless. But if these thoughts are on repeat throughout your day or if you’re thinking other unkind things, you aren’t practicing self-love. Instead, you’re creating a neural pathway of hate that becomes reinforced each time you think these thoughts.
Sign #2: You Compare Yourself to Others
People who struggle with self-love often compare who they are to who someone else is. Maybe you pass someone on the street and think she’s prettier, smarter, or more put together than you. You see all of her great abilities or strengths and none of yours. As a result, you feel poorly about yourself.
Sign #3: You Don’t Stand Up for Yourself
When you don’t love yourself, you don’t deem yourself worthy of defending. Maybe this means that you didn’t stand up to the co-worker that lied to you, or you’ve accepted years of your spouse’s verbal abuse. Perhaps you haven’t said no to a “friend” that keeps borrowing money without paying it back or you tolerate a relative that says vicious things behind your back.
By contrast, when you love yourself, you rise to your own defense. You’re not afraid to put up boundaries that protect you against your verbally abusive spouse or allow you to stand up to your lying co-worker.
Sign #4: You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
You might be wondering what getting enough sleep has to do with self-love. But if you’re always pushing yourself to the edge of exhaustion and you don’t let yourself rest, pause to ask why. Do you think you have to be worthy of it? Are you trying to “earn” the right to get enough sleep?
Sign #5: You Don’t Care for Your Body
Often when you struggle with self-love, this affects your relationship with your body. If you hate yourself, it’s hard to care for your body which is an extension of you. As a result, you may move too little and not regularly exercise or you might subject yourself to a grueling exercise routine.
For others, this might look like making lifestyle choices that harm you long-term while giving you short-term relief. These lifestyle choices could include drinking excessively, smoking, or overeating.
Sign #6: You Aren’t Eating Foods that Fuel You
It’s normal to binge on junk food once in a while, and if you’re going through a stressful time, you might find yourself hitting up the drive-thru more often than usual. But if poor eating choices are routine, consider what message you might be trying to send to yourself.
Are you telling yourself that you’re not worth the effort of preparing a delicious, healthy meal for? Are you saying that you can’t choose foods that give you energy and make you feel as if you can accomplish your goals? Are you convinced there’s simply no time to care for you?
Sign #7: You’re Not Taking Time to Relax
You don’t have to devote hours of your day to a practice like meditation or yoga. But do consider how often you give yourself permission to relax. When was the last time you left empty space on your calendar just for you? How often do you get home from work only to start on another list of tasks? These choices could be caused by overwhelm but they may also point to the fact that you don’t feel like you can relax.
If you struggle to love yourself, you might be tempted to believe you’re worthy of love only if you’re doing something. You derive your sense of self-worth from your to-do list so the idea of slowing down feels overwhelming.
Sign #8: You Don’t Forgive Yourself
You laid awake last night remembering the silly thing you said to the cashier. You thought it was a joke, but she didn’t laugh. Now you’re thinking that you’re so stupid. You forgot to pay the bills again and the water was shut off for a few hours. You forgot your co-worker’s husband’s name at the party last week.
It’s normal to feel embarrassed or stupid from time to time. But if you’re always replaying all of the ways you messed up, you might struggle with self-forgiveness.
When you’re in a relationship with someone you love, forgiveness must be a natural part of it. Forgiveness should be like a river between you, allowing love and compassion to flow freely. But if you don’t love yourself, you might struggle with forgiving yourself.
Sign #9: You Let Others Dictate Your Choices
You’re always worried about what others think. You can’t seem to make a decision unless you’ve checked in with your spouse, best friend, co-workers, in-laws, and a host of other people. While waiting for approval, you don’t let yourself take that dance class or pursue that business degree you’ve always wanted.
Constantly seeking approval and validation from others for your life choices is often a loud warning sign that you don’t love yourself. You already know what you need and want. You must trust that your loving heart is guiding you on the best path.
Sign #10: You Never Treat Yourself
When you love someone, you want to do nice things for them. Maybe you always give your spouse a massage after a hard day at work or you put little notes in your child’s backpack. Perhaps you always pick up the phone to listen to a friend when she calls you or you don’t hesitate to step in and help a co-worker who’s running behind on a deadline.
But ask yourself when was the last time you did something nice for yourself. Do you ever simply treat yourself to something lovely for no reason?
If you don’t remember, start thinking about nice things for yourself that you would like. Perhaps you would enjoy a massage at the mall or to spend an hour at the beach reading. Maybe you would like a mani-pedi or an evening to binge-watch your favorite TV show. It doesn’t matter what the activity is. All that matters is it feels good to you.
Don’t be afraid to spend time or money on yourself to show love. You’re worth taking care of too and you deserve to be pampered.
If you recognize yourself in the signs above, it’s OK. Things don’t have to be this way anymore. You can learn to love yourself with the new planner I created just for you. Click here to download it today.
Stop Feeling Guilty About Self-Care
Amazingly, one of the things that we typically feel guilty about is taking care of our own needs. It feels downright selfish to focus on yourself when there is so much you could be doing for others. While compassion, empathy, and kindness are wonderful qualities, we have to direct a little of that towards ourselves as well.
If you have ever felt guilty about self-care, then you should consider these nine facts.
Self-Care Isn’t an Indulgence
Taking care of your own needs isn’t some frivolous act of selfishness. It is vitally important to your well-being. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you are risking health issues – both physical and mental.
Other People Practice Self-Care
Many people don’t have any hang-ups about practicing self-care. Many of the people in your life have no qualms about taking care of themselves. If other people have no problem putting their own needs first, why shouldn’t you? If you don’t look after yourself, who will?
Helping Yourself Helps Others
If you want to take care of anyone else, you need to meet your needs. The happier and healthier you are, the more capable you will be of helping the people you love. There is a reason that flight attendants tell you to put your mask on before helping others.
Your Loved Ones Want You to Take Care of Yourself
No one is going to begrudge you for focusing on your self-care. Well, no one that matters anyway. Your closest loved ones will want the best for you, which includes practicing self-care. When you ignore your self-care, you are ignoring the wishes of your closest friends and family.
Get Comfortable with the Word “No”
It can be hard to say no, but you should strive to get used to it. People feel guilty when they say no, but quite often, that is the best answer. Setting boundaries on your time and energy isn’t a bad thing. On top of that, you don’t have to explain yourself – “no” is a full sentence.
Self-Care is Vital to Your Goals
Do you have any goals or dreams you aspire to achieve? If you do, then you are doing a disservice to yourself when you avoid self-care. It is much easier to reach your goals when you are attacking them healthy and happy.
Self-Care is About Self-Respect
Do you respect yourself? If you answered yes, but have been ignoring your self-care, then you are lying to yourself. You can’t possibly respect yourself if you don’t honor your own needs. If you respect yourself, then you should know you are worthy of self-care.
Self-Care Protects You
Proper self-care protects you from many different things. Self-care helps protect your health, energy, mind, time, and boundaries. Self-care is one of the best time investments you can make to protect yourself from future harm(s).
You Deserve It
There isn’t a better reason for you to stop feeling guilty about self-care than the fact that you deserve it. Life is tough. We are all on a journey. It makes sense that we take some time to take care of ourselves. You deserve to enjoy the moments you can.
- Think about any aspects of self-care that you might be overlooking. Focus on things like your mental, physical and spiritual health. Are you struggling with any area?
- Once you have found an area of your self-care you are neglecting (or want to expand upon), brainstorm a few ways you could address it.
- Choose one small action you can take right now as your first step to addressing your area of need. Take it!
- The Self Care Prescription Journal
- Better Daily Self-Care Habits
- The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care
- A Year of Self-Care
- Self-Care Check-In