When you feel like you don’t deserve love, you might feel as if love is something that everyone else gets, but you never will. It can be frustrating to watch all sorts of other people find love, keep love, and make it look easy. Some people even seem to take love for granted. Meanwhile, you are in a very dark and lonely place that you just can’t seem to figure out. You may ask, “Why don’t I feel deserving of love? How do I fix this?”
If you don’t feel deserving of love, you probably have felt that way for a very long time. You’ve probably developed an entire identity around it. You know what to do as a person who doesn’t deserve love- you’ve got the roadmap all laid out for you. Unfortunately, that roadmap only takes you in circles. It is very likely that you got the message that you didn’t deserve love in your childhood. You learned how to get by without real love, and you developed all the coping skills that come with it. Now you want to figure out how to find real love, and you have no idea where to start, because you don’t have any sort of map for that. Sometimes, we keep using the wrong map just because it gives us some sense of direction, even if it is a false one.
To learn how to feel deserving of love, it is good to examine the paths you are accustomed to taking from the old map of Not Deserving. Before even looking at how others are treating you, see if you can find the ways in which you treat yourself as if you don’t deserve your own love. Do you give yourself enough attention? Do you find ways to ignore yourself through distraction? Do you look in the mirror and see yourself as a series of flaws? When you are sad, do you tell yourself to just get over it? Do you try to silence your feelings by overworking, overeating, overindulging? This is the place to start- just noticing all the ways in which you treat yourself as if you don’t even deserve your own love and attention. Now imagine treating someone else the way you treat yourself. If a close friend came to you crying about something, you probably wouldn’t say, “Shut up and do more work.”
Notice how much easier it is to give other people love and attention, and then you’ll see: It isn’t that others all get love and you don’t- it is more likely that you give your love to everyone but yourself. It won’t be easy at first, but you can learn how to value yourself and treat yourself as deserving of love (and, of course, therapy can make this process much easier to navigate). Once you learn to give yourself the love and attention that you are used to giving away to others, you will start to attract the love of others to yourself.
For more about deserving love, go here.
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