We all wish to be loved, to be free to love, and to accept love in all forms. It is, after all, the emotion that inspires us to be more than who we are right now; to be deserving of our trusted ones. Love, along with acceptance and respect, is one of the most fundamental needs of a human being. Feeling loved can give us the world and free us from all woes, but feeling unloved can take away our self-acceptance, let alone self-worth.
Abraham Maslow, one of the most renowned psychologists, once identified “love and acceptance” as basic human needs. One of the few things we humans need to thrive in this world.
There are times in our lives when we feel a subtle lack of acceptance in the community. I know I have experienced this lack of acceptance plenty of times in my life. So, there is no wonder when someone questions their ability to accept love or think, “I feel unloved…”
If you’ve ever found yourself questioning, “Why do I feel unloved?” then there could be several factors that might be contributing to this negative thinking. Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why you feel unloved and unwanted, how it is impacting your life, and how you can overcome these feelings.
What Does “Feeling Unloved” Mean?
If I speak in literal terms, then feeling unloved means, “not lovable”, so when you’re questioning, “Am I unlovable?”, you’re concerned about whether you are an unlovable person or if you simply cannot be loved.
Here, let me give you an example; You may feel that you’re lacking a good bone and that makes it nearly impossible for others to love you or you may have made a lot of mistakes in your life that have you questioning if you deserve to be loved or not. Eventually, the feeling of being unloved can make you engage in self-sabotage.
Feeling unloved in a relationship can be triggered – intentionally or unintentionally – by depression, envy, and anxiety. These emotions are strong and can cause you to spiral downward in negative thinking that could make you feel you’re unwanted and unloved, even if the opposite is true.
Let’s look at some other reasons why you may feel unlovable and tips to overcome this feeling.
Reasons You’re Feeling Unloved
As humans, we go through various life experiences. Some are memorable while others are not so remarkable. Even then, the experiences we face in life can influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions. If you continue to feel unloved, then there could be some of your life experiences at play here. Other than that, some common reasons why you’re feeling unloved and unwanted could include;
1. You’re experiencing depressive feelings:
When you experience the symptoms of depression, it’s quite normal to experience cognitive distortions along with them. Cognitive distortions are thoughts and beliefs that are neither real nor valid. When you experience depressive feelings, your brain may automatically engage in cognitive distortions, making you feel unloved and unwanted.
2. You have borderline personality disorder:
Another reason you may feel unloved could be a borderline personality disorder. People with BPD have an unstable self-perception. This instability in understanding oneself could make you feel unlovable.
It is also common to experience all-or-nothing thinking. This kind of thinking can also make you see yourself in a negative light.
3. You struggle with attachment issues:
One of the earliest life experiences we have is with attachment. When you have unstable caregivers or parents, it can cause you to develop an insecure attachment style. People with insecure attachments often feel anxious and fearful.
They develop thinking that makes them feel like they don’t deserve love from their parents, friends, and partners.
4. You’re in an emotionally abusive relationship:
If you’re in or have ever been in an emotionally abusive relationship, then that experience could have also altered your self-perception and made you think that you’re unlovable.
This happens because the abuser in the relationship continuously tells the others that they deserve this treatment and are unworthy of feeling loved. This is also referred to as gas lighting, a manipulation tactic that emotionally abusive people use.
5. You have low self-esteem:
If you have grown up insecure or have low self-esteem, then it can also make you feel unloved. Because of this, you believe that you’re not confident enough to deserve love and respect from others.
7. You’ve experienced trauma in the past:
If you’ve experienced trauma in your past, then it could also be a reason why you’re feeling unloved. Trauma survivors often believe that they deserve the trauma or whatever circumstances led them to experience the trauma. This negative self-perception can make them feel that they are unlovable.
The Impact “Feeling Unloved” Has on Our Lives
If you’ve ever thought, “I am unloved” or “Why am I unlovable?” then you may have seen the impact this kind of thinking has had on your well-being and relationships. People who often feel this way don’t hesitate to engage in people-pleasing and are easy victims of manipulation.
Someone who feels that they are unlovable often struggles with creating, setting, and maintaining healthy boundaries. Remember what I said about how love is one of the basic human needs? Well, because of this need, people who feel unloved will sacrifice meeting their needs to make others love them. Hence, poor boundaries.
More often than not, these people fail to realize that they too deserve to be treated with love and respect by people they are sacrificing everything for.
Poor boundaries often lead to easy victims of manipulation. Emotionally abusive people often seek out victims with poor boundaries so that they can use their vulnerabilities to their (the abuser’s) advantage.
How to Overcome These Feelings?
If you feel that you’re unloved, then the first thing you need to do is understand that feelings are just that – feelings. They are neither always right nor factually correct. Just because you feel unloved does not mean that you are an unlovable person.
There are many reasons such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and trauma that can make you feel this way, but it does not mean that you are not loved by people who care about you.
If you want to overcome this feeling, then here are some things you can do;
1. Reach out to a support person or network.
If you have a support person or network, reach out to them. If you don’t have a support system yet, then create one with people you know care about you. If you want, you can include your therapist or counselor in the network.
This support system can help you remember that you’re loved and respected. This could also be a great way to prevent self-sabotage.
2. Change your negative self-talk.
Sometimes, the way we talk to ourselves also affects our self-perception and if you let your negative self-talk spiral out of control, then these feelings can become inevitable.
You need to understand that while thoughts are not always in our control, how we take them in or react to them is in our control. So, it’s time to change your negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
3. Stop comparing your emotions and experiences with others.
Your emotions are yours and as valid as anyone else’s. Just because others seem more deserving, does not mean that you are less. The moment you start comparing yourself to others, it could lead to negative self-perceptions and a tendency to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors.
4. Reach out to a professional counselor or therapist.
The moment you find that the feeling of being unloved is interfering with your well-being and self-worth, reach out to a counselor or therapist for help. Therapy approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help. CBT helps you identify negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones.
A Message From The Author’s Desk…
If you ask me what love means to me, I’ll probably quote the above in my own words ‘Love, for me is never finite. It’s all-encompassing and whether you like it or not, it does make the journey – what we call life – worthwhile’. If you ever find yourself questioning, “Why do I feel unloved?” take stock of yourself. Notice the discrepancies in your life and if you’re negative thinking might be contributing to this feeling.
There could be possible reasons – from depressive feelings to low self-esteem – that may be making you feel unloved and question if you’re unlovable. After you’ve done this, take active steps in countering your negative thoughts and try to reframe them in a more positive light.
We all deserve love (and are loved), but there could be life experiences that may suddenly make you question if you’re unlovable. If this ever happens, reach out to your trusted support people or connect with your therapist. Hearing “you are loved” from someone you care about can do wonders for you.
I hope this blog helped you understand the reasons you’re feeling unloved and unwanted, how it is impacting your life, and how to overcome this feeling. For more, feel free to write to us at email@example.com or leave us a message on our social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.