You are lovable. That is the truth.
As you read those words, it is a normal response to cringe, deny it, or simply disregard them as rubbish.
Many people identify with the belief that they are unlovable. Does that include you?
Whether it be the way you experienced love in the past, the words that you were told as a child, or the way you were conditioned to think about self-love, somewhere along the line, you began to believe that you are not lovable.
We have been born into a world that primarily tells us to believe that loving yourself is conceited, big-headed, shameful, and wrong, especially if you do not look or behave in certain ways.
Be honest, how many times have you or someone close to you thrown insults at another person by highlighting how much they love themselves? It is not so infrequent you hear the words “I just don’t like her; she loves herself way too much.”
To truly be loved, you must love yourself first
It is true what they say.
It is you who sets the standards for yourself. The way that you love yourself reflects how you allow others to treat you too.
When you love yourself conditionally, it means that you only consider yourself to be a lovable person if and when specific criteria are met. It makes sense that you put the same expectation on others when it comes to giving you their love.
Subconsciously, you wind up walking around with the belief you can only be loved if you show up as anyone but your truest self. You will lower your standards, disregard your own values, loosen your boundaries, and put a price on being loved.
The price is high.
In exchange for being loved, you self-sacrifice on so many levels. You do all that is asked of you in relationships, you hide parts of you, you keep quiet, give all your energy, time, money, and happiness.
Not only do these sacrifices totally batter your self-esteem, they eventually lead to resentment as your own needs are left unmet. It is nearly impossible to feel whole when your needs go ignored and you have less and less left in the tank for yourself.
In my experience, the most disheartening times were when I paid the price, and still I did not experience the love I so desperately craved. It was an endless cycle of giving, expecting, disappointment, resentment, tears, guilt, and repeat.
The worst part? No one knew. I hardly knew because this way of living was motivated on such an unconscious level. The parts I was aware of, I kept to myself—the worrying, the trying, the giving. I was filled with an underlying belief that I was inferior, and that if anyone ever found out, they would let me go (“just as I deserve” said my inner critic). I considered myself totally replaceable. I could not imagine anyone missing me, let alone loving me.
Despite the inner turmoil, I was highly functioning at work and in my social group. To keep the charade up, I had to keep going. Keep smiling. Keep laughing. Seriously, no one knew. I needed it that way to help me feel like an okay human being, so I continued to pay—until I could not pay anymore.
Until I had truly had enough of not feeling enough. It became so exhausting. Although I was functioning, I was avoiding my dreams and denying myself the kind of life and relationships I yearned for. At 30, I woke up to my unhealthy dating patterns and low self-worth. At the depth of my despair, I knew I had to get out of this cycle. The only way out was out.
To get out, I went in deep: counselling, self-help books, coaching, and any workshop that came my way.
I kept hearing it repeatedly: “You must love yourself first.”
So I directed my energy, time and money toward connecting with the one truth I knew would eventually save me: that we are all lovable, and that includes me.
There will be times in your life when you feel lovable
There may be times in your life when you do feel lovable, and those are probably the moments when life feels okay. Those times may last anywhere from an hour to a few months, to years.
The truth is, unless you have learned to value yourself, you feel lovable in those instances because the conditions are being met.
Those conditions may be that you have someone to text, your best friend is free for a weekend, your boss gave you praise, or maybe you lost 5 lbs.
It is all well and good for a moment, as you feel good enough and accepted by the world. But again, look at the price you must pay. You now have to do everything you can to keep the boyfriend, plan the best day so your friend doesn’t cancel, work so hard to please your boss, and go hungry to keep the weight off.
As you know all too well, those conditions can be demanding and distressing. The second your newfound security is threatened or out of place, you begin to get overwhelmed by the familiar yet unsettling thought that you are not lovable.
Imagine if, in those moments, you were instead able to meet yourself with unwavering love and with a strong knowing that they were simply a passing moment in your life and by no means a reflection of your ability to be loved.
The right ones will stay
One of the most terrifying parts about beginning to live life in a new way, is the fear that everyone is going to leave you.
When I look back at those days of people pleasing, what strikes me the most is how I paid so highly to the people who did not even see me. I was afraid that people who showed me no respect would disappear. I was unable to see that may be the best thing to ever happen for me.
As for my family and true friends, of course there were some teething problems, and in some cases we went our own way (in our own time). But for the ones that count, I see clearly now that they love me unconditionally and would of course miss me if I were not around.
I know that the fear of losing that one person is scary. But from personal experience, I can confidently say the right ones will stay.
You are lovable
You were born totally, wholeheartedly, fully lovable. You and the rest of us.
Have you ever looked at a baby and considered how unlovable they are?
I am going to count on it that you said no. It is because everyone is born lovable. And nothing ever changes. As the baby grows and develops through life, their worthiness and lovability never changes.
What does change is that person’s self-image. Every person develops an inner blueprint that consists of how lovable they are… or unlovable. That blueprint influences the decisions, relationships, risks, and actions that person will take on in life, love, and work.
Undoing your inner conditioning is not an overnight job, but with practice and persistence you can adopt strategies that will make it easier to open your mind to the fact you are lovable, and eventually you will begin to feel it too.
Look around your life and acknowledge where you lack self-love and get to showing yourself that love. Stop criticizing yourself so harshly. Choose to validate yourself before seeking it from outside of you. When you catch yourself paying for love, take a step back and remind yourself you do not have to pay anymore.
The belief that you are not enough as you are is holding you back. As you begin to grasp the truth that you are lovable and that you too have your own space in this world where you can be loved for simply being you, you will open yourself up to new opportunities and flourish in your relationships and life.
So, in case you need reminding today, you are enough, you are worthy, and you are so, so lovable.