You’ve probably heard people say you must learn to love yourself before you can love another; but what if you stop loving yourself? What if you lost yourself in a messy relationship; or a good relationship has gone bad? Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

There are times in life when you must give up the things or the people (sometimes both) that you love in order to love youself. Think about it. What would you say to a diabetic who refused to stop eating sugar? You might ask them, “why have you stopped caring for yourself?” Here are Five times when you know it’s time to let go and love yourself more.

When you have to sacrifice your happiness

First, you must understand that you are in charge of your own happiness. If you are feeling unhappy, only you can fix it. If you are feeling unloved, that is a cry out from yourself to love yourself. Likewise, it is not your job to make another person happy either. If you are sacrificing your own happiness for someone else, it isn’t healthy for either person and it could be a sign that it’s time to let go.

When you’re expected to be someone you’re not

When you’re expected to be someone you’re not, it makes you feel like who you are is not good enough and that is a dangerous road to go down my friend. Remember, you are a beautiful person. When you spend your time with others who make you feel like you are less than you are, or like you’re not good enough, it will not only strip your identity, but it will put your identity in the control of another person. That’s the last place it should be. After all, it is your identity. Thus the cycle continues and, until you make the choice to let go and love yourself, you will continue to drown in self-doubt and lost identity. Instead, try and realize that when this happens, it’s time to let go of others’ expectations and love yourself more than them.

When you have become someone you’re not

This is a big one and it happens over a long period of time in relationships. It happens when you ignore yourself for too long and allow yourself to be influenced by another person because you feel like you are only “good enough” if they say you are. It happens when you love someone so much and you think you need to sacrifice yourself for them to the point that you stop caring about your own needs. Look, being someone you’re not is bad enough, but God forbid you to wake up one day and realize you don’t like the person you’ve become. Sometimes parents have to tell their children they cannot hang out with certain friends because they always get into trouble. This is exactly why. Different people open up different roads to different futures. If you realize you went down the wrong road and have become someone you never should have become, then it’s time to let go of the life you have and open up opportunities for a new life.

When you refuse to let go because of fear

If you know deep down that it’s time to leave something or someone behind, but you haven’t done so because you’re afraid, then trust me—you are not alone. This is one of the most common reasons people have for not letting go. I put off quitting smoking for years because I was afraid. Afraid of losing something I enjoyed, afraid that I would lose friends, afraid I couldn’t do it. There is always something to fear with any decision that you make, but ultimately you must do what’s right for you. If you are in a situation where you are being hurt, as I was when I was smoking, then you are not being loving to yourself. Anything that you do that opposes self love should be let go.

When you have lost self-worth

If you find that you have lost self-worth then there’s a problem. When you constantly put a person before you, you basically tell yourself that you’re not worth as much as they are. This is dangerous thinking. To share a life with someone is a beautiful thing. To spend your entire life putting yourself down to serve another—even if it started by your own choice—is no way to live. It’s never too late to stop this behavior and let go of this thinking. If someone or something is demeaning you, if you feel like you deserve what’s happening to you, or if you think you don’t deserve love, that’s even more of a reason to let go of these thoughts. You deserve love, so stop refusing to allow yourself to have it.

There’s only one person in this world who can love 100% you and that’s the person that knows you 100%–YOU! It’s not easy, but with a lot of work and self care you can let go of this thinking. You will have to make sacrifices. Sometimes you must let go of things in life and people you love, even long term relationships and marriages. The bottom line is, if something or someone is depleting your identity, self worth, and making you unhappy, it is time to let go and move on to a place of love, wellbeing, self-fulfillment, and happiness.

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