My journey from the depths of self-hating, suicidal suffering into self-acceptance has taught me that self-love isn’t just a dinner mint. It’s an essential part of being a healthy, happy person and not prioritizing self-care has obvious, dangerous symptoms that are too often ignored.
The first step to overcoming any sort of suffering is self-awareness and that's what I hope the following list can do for you. If you’re exhibiting any of the five signs of lacking self-love below, I hope you’ll take the time, after reading this article, to reconnect with the most important person in your life – you.
1. You feel jealous of other people’s happiness, success and relationships.
As a self-loving person, when I am faced with someone more skilled or accomplished, my immediate reaction is wide-eyed, eager inspiration. I want to learn more, hear more, experience more from this amazing person who can teach me so much.
As a self-judging person, when faced with the same person, I would shrink away feeling jealous, inadequate, and bitter. Sometimes, the feeling would be so intense that I’d begin to hate the other person passionately. But truly, I only hated myself.
2. You chronically tell white lies.
If you’re frequently finding yourself spilling out some fabrication, big or small, and thinking, Wow, that was really unnecessary!, it could be because of your relationship to yourself.
Those who chronically lie are often seeking approval and acceptance from others.
In a self-loving state, acceptance and approval are constantly accessible for you – from within. In a self-judging state, however, you’re running low on approval and, thus, your mind is subconsciously picking up on any and every opportunity to fill up your tank.
Like this, you might lose your integrity for a few raised eyebrows. But don’t worry, this pattern is easily fixed and doesn’t have to become pathological!
3. You find it hard to exercise, eat well, or break bad habits.
When you love someone, you don’t want to hurt them. You’d never shove cigarettes or donuts into your newborn baby’s mouth. You’d never deprive your beloved dog of his daily walk.
When you dislike someone, it’s a different story.
Those who lead kind, loving relationships with themselves find it enjoyable and even necessary to engage in daily rituals of nourishment and care with their minds and bodies. These rituals are just natural outgrowths of the beautiful friendship within.
If you find it hard to take care of yourself, maybe you need to take a moment to fall in love with the person you’re taking care of so that self-care becomes a basic need rather than a distant guilt-inducing fantasy.
4. You only feel happy when everything is going right.
This might seem like a perfectly normal thing. Why would you be happy when things aren’t going well?
Turns out, that is exactly what happens to self-loving people.
Think of your life as an adventure. If you’re crazy about your travel partner, the plane can be delayed and the food can taste like cardboard and you’ll still have a good time. You’ll have a laugh about it. If you’re bored or displeased with your companion, these little things will drive you insane.
That is the power of a loving relationship with yourself. When things get rough, you can laugh, shrug them off, and try again. When things get really rough, you can comfort yourself, take some time to process, and assure yourself that everything will be okay.
5. You're beating yourself up for exhibiting any of the signs above.
If you’re feeling shame or dread at having discovered yourself lacking in self-love, this is a sure-fire sign that you’re overloading on self-judgment.
Those who are lacking in self-compassion are usually experts at setting standards for themselves. They measure themselves in numbers and expectations. When they discover that they’re not measuring up in some way, they’re crestfallen.
I always say: self-improvement without self-love is like building a house upon sand. You can build and build, but it’ll always sink.
You need to build a foundation of unconditional self-acceptance beneath those accomplishments and expectations. Then, when you find you’re lacking in some way, you can revert to love and get excited about learning something new.
I consider myself a survivor of the terrible illness of love deprivation. After I fixed my relationship with myself, I saw my relationship with my body, my mind, my family, my partner, my past – with everything and everyone else – improve dramatically.
We live in an age where everyone’s always trying to fix themselves, but they forget that the most important thing we can ever fix is the line of communication between our heart, our mind, and our spirit.
Now, over to you. What will you do to love yourself more today? How can you celebrate who you already are instead of always expecting yourself to be someone else?
Vironika Tugaleva is a life coach, author of the award-winning book The Love Mindset, and founder of The Real Us. Vironika helps people cultivate self-awareness, self-love, and compassion while healing themselves and changing the world. You’re invited read more about Vironika and get a free preview of The Love Mindset.