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What if I’m Unlovable?

I didn’t grow up feeling loveable. Most days I felt invisible or tolerated at best, especially in romantic relationships and friendships.

While some people may look at me and think, “But you’re smart, pretty, funny, and down to Earth. You’re out of your mind for feeling those things!”, how we feel on the inside doesn’t always reflect the face we show the world on the outside. I felt like I wore a mask, whatever mask I needed to wear, to be loved. I would sacrifice being my true authentic self, in exchange for intimate feelings (feelings that I thought were love).

Back then, I thought the love that I was given, was a direct reflection of who I was. The scarcity of love that I felt from romantic partners and in friendships, was evidence to me-evidence that I was unlovable and unworthy of love. Being loveable and desired appeared to come easily to some people in my life, but not for me.

Growing up, I was blessed with an older sister. A beautiful older sister who is everything I am not. While there are aspects of us that are similar, we are vastly different. Through my eyes in high school, our differences highlighted everything that was wrong with me and made me feel ugly. My sister never had trouble finding a boyfriend or having guys bend over backwards for her attention or making friends. Me on the other hand, I felt like I needed to convince people to be with me.

This lead to a few romantic relationships with boys who didn’t love me (I’m not even sure if they liked me to be honest) and friendships with people who exploited my desire for love. I felt like my options for receiving love were scarce, so I settled, to feel a false sense of hope, that I was loveable.

Love was the prize. I wanted it so badly and would do anything to get it, even if that meant risking my relationship with myself. I feared there were only a limited amount of people who could love me and that I needed to put everyone above myself in order to receive that love.

In a short time frame, I had went from chasing love from others, to hating myself. I was cheated on countless times with a high school boyfriend and I took him back every time. I allowed another boy to take advantage of my body to get revenge on my cheating boyfriend. I even had a one night stand with someone I went on a blind date with. Throughout all of these experiences, I willingly surrendered my sacred body to feel loved. This left me feeling lost and insecure with my body. To avoid the pain of the horrible relationship with myself that I created, I smoked, I drank and I cut my wrists to cope with the emptiness I felt inside.

When I realized how far from grace I’d fallen, I was stumped. I was convinced that after years of showing such little regard for myself, how could I suddenly start advocating for self-love? Who would care? I thought, “You already showed everyone how they can treat you, why would they treat you any differently now? It’s too late.”

It took me time to realize that everything could change, once I changed. Fortunately for me, my senior year of high school, the boys I struggled to move past graduated, and I finally had the space to focus on myself. I took a year and a half to be celibate and removed the toxic relationships with friends who did not show me love and respect. I threw myself into my passions and focused all of my attention on creating an amazing portfolio to get into my dream college, The Fashion Institute of Technology.

From that point on, I had went on a committed and emotional journey to obtaining self-love. I thought I had mastered the art of self-love until a new challenge emerged before my eyes last year-feeling unloved by my two college friends. I considered these two friends to be my sisters and after 6 years of friendship, they were intentionally being cruel to me at one of the worst times of my life (my dream wedding that I had spent two years planning pre pandemic, was cancelled 3 weeks before the big day and they could care less about how I felt).

I tried to push past my feelings of grief and anger towards them for being so insensitive regarding my feelings, because I loved them so much. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to protect my center of self-love at all costs. So I forced myself to see through the raw lens of self-love and knew their actions didn’t reflect love for me in return. I had to end those friendships in honor of showing myself love, self-care and self-worth. Even though it was hard to let go of those relationships, still to this day, it is one of the greatest self-loving gestures I have ever gifted myself.

So why am I sharing these vulnerable reflections with you? Because I want you to know, you too are loveable exactly as you are today, but not everyone is going to treat you with love. Life constantly challenges your relationships and environments to test your commitment to self-love. From my experience, I’ve learned it’s always a choice whether you surround yourself with people who love you or don’t.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been friends for years, if you have a past with this person, if they used to show you love or if you have strong emotional feelings for someone. Self-love, self-respect and self-worth requires bravery and courage to stand up for what you deserve, with the deep internal knowledge that you are valuable and necessary to this life. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that or treat you that way every single day, is unworthy of being apart of your journey.

Some relationships are hard to cut out of your life for sure, such as with family. You can remain cordial and respectful in the company of these people if you have to see them, but never allow yourself to be persuaded by them that you are unlovable. Their opinions and actions can not interfere or determine your relationship with yourself. The love you have for yourself is sacred. It is a palace that can not be conquered by anyone other than yourself.

Hearing those words at the beginning of my self-love journey, went in one ear and out the other. I’ve always needed evidence to convince me that a thought was true. If you’re like me, here are a few tips that can help remind yourself that you are loveable, even when you don’t feel like it:

-Make a list of all the things you love about yourself and constantly reinforce that list into your daily life.

-Highlight the things you like about yourself that you can reflect on anytime you feel like you are unlovable and read it aloud to yourself. You can keep this in your phone as a great supportive reminder of your worth.

-Call a friend or family member and ask them to list all the reasons why they love you. Hearing these words from others, whom we love and trust, help us believe that we truly embody the qualities they are praising.

Those are just a few methods to making self-love tangible that I’ve found helpful along my journey, I hope you will find support and empowerment through them too. I also hope that you realize that no matter what you’ve been through, who you’ve permitted to treat you shitty, and how bad your relationship with yourself is right now, that you are loveable.

You are worthy of love.

And change doesn’t have to be complicated. But it starts with you…

Everything changes, when you change.

Xoxo,

Elena

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