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If You Have Forgotten How To Love Yourself, You Need To Read This

If You Have Forgotten How To Love Yourself, You Need To Read This

I was 24 years old when I finally began to love myself. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years hating who I was. I never felt valued or appreciated growing up and these feelings of inadequacy spread to all areas of my life. Fortunately, I grew to understand that I had no control over my circumstances at the time. But I am in total control of who I am from this point on.

Likewise, all of us have life experiences that helps to shape who we are – but we need to find the strength to say, “These experiences won’t DEFINE who I am. I choose who I am.” No matter who you are, whether you were raised in a loving home or not – it can be easy to fall into the trap of forgetting to love yourself. Life might get busy, you might have many responsibilities, you might even forget that you’re important. But you are important and you do matter.

Here are 10 reasons why you can forget to love yourself and how you can put yourself first once again.

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1. You felt unloved growing up, but you’re trying not to let it define you now.

For some of us, it’s not easy to love ourselves when we’ve always struggled with our definition of ‘love’. You may have had mixed messages growing up and/or a lack of positive role models. Unfortunately, this may have led you to believe that you are useless and worthless. But you are definitely not any of the horrible words that you heard uttered. Don’t let the pain of your past stop you from believing that you deserve love. You are a worthy human being and your future is in your hands.

2. You’ve been hurt recently, but you’re trying to see the best in people.

It’s not easy to see the ‘positive’ in everyone when we’ve been hurt so many times. Our self-esteem takes a beating and we question whether we’ve done anything wrong, whether we are at fault or to blame. It’s hard to love yourself when the people who we care deeply about have been making us feel anything but. But don’t let a painful friendship or relationship make you lose faith in humanity. Don’t let these relationships poison your spirit. Take each relationship as a lesson learnt and let it help you with future ones. Let these people teach you how better to treat yourself and to treat others.

3. You’re surrounded by toxic people, but you know they’re not good for you.

Sometimes we may have people in our lives that make us sad more than happy. They may bring out the worst in us and encourage us to become someone we’re not. They simply may be people we don’t need in our lives right now. But if you’re starting to realize that you’re better off without them, then you’re learning to love yourself. You are doing what’s right for you. You are thinking about your own happiness and feelings.

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4. You’re used to caring about everyone else’s needs, but you are starting to understand that you are important too.

Being selfless is a great character trait to have. It means that you are kind, caring and empathetic. You are someone who thrives on making other people happy. But your needs are important too. You’re allowed to care about yourself. You’re allowed to say ‘no’ if you can’t do a favor asked of you. You’re allowed to think about the impact that this favor would have on you – because you are important. When you put yourself first, you are telling yourself, “I love myself enough to care about what’s important to me.”

5. Your life is busy, but you know you need to make more time for yourself.

All of us have responsibilities that can get in the way of caring about ourselves. We’re busy doing overtime at work, we’re rushing around with our home duties and responsibilities as a parent, we’re doing so much that our bodies are suffering. But taking time out for your emotional and mental health is imperative. By looking after your health, you will be more productive and feel more rested. Lie in bed at night with a good book, have a bath, go for a walk in the park, partake in one of your favorite hobbies – do something for you. Do it because you love yourself enough to take a well-deserved break.

6. You feel defined by your failures, but want to get back up again.

We all make mistakes. We all do things that we regret. We all get rejected in some respect, and we all fail. But failing does not mean you are a failure. Don’t let the negative experiences override the good ones. Don’t let it all stop you from getting back up again and loving yourself. You are still a lovable person, regardless of your mistakes.

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7. You’re not sure what to do with your life, but you’re determined to work it out.

It’s okay if you’re feeling confused. We all do at one point or another. The fact that you’re trying to make sense of it all is what counts. Give yourself the time to work it all out. Just because you don’t know exactly where your life is heading, doesn’t mean that you should love yourself any less. Be proud that you are finding out who and what makes you happy – it’s okay to do this by getting to know different types of people and trying out different occupations.

8. You don’t feel ‘successful’ compared to everyone else, but understand that you need to focus more on your uniqueness.

Don’t let the comparisons get you down. Don’t let the money that your loved ones are making, the material possessions that they own, or their occupations make you feel that your life has less value. You are equally important and equally deserving of love. Focus on your own talents and skills. Focus on your own accomplishments and achievements. Love yourself for who you are, and remember that you have your own uniqueness to add to the world.

9. You’ve lost a loved one, but are slowly getting there.

When we’re experiencing grief and loss, it can be difficult to feel anything – let alone ‘love’. When we’re going through immense pain, we might feel that we don’t want to go on with life any more. As we’re struggling to cope, we don’t care any more about the sleep we’ve having, the food we’re eating, the pleasurable activities that we’re doing for ourselves. But you need to remember that it does matter. As painful as your life is at the moment, you still need to take care of you. You’re not selfish for still wanting to move forward and be happy. If the person who you lost meant so much to you, then you most definitely meant a lot to them. And that person would have wanted you to love yourself and to continue to look after yourself.

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10. You don’t see self-love as a priority, but you realize it really needs to be one.

When life gets you down, it’s easy to forget how important it is to love yourself. It’s easy to forget that it is a priority. But you need to make it one. Loving yourself isn’t an inconvenience. It’s not about caring about you and only you. It’s about reminding yourself that no matter how busy or difficult life gets, that the love you have for yourself will give you strength no matter the challenge. That the ability to care for your own needs, to see your own worth, to take time out for yourself, will benefit who you are and those around you. By loving yourself, you are better able to make the best possible difference in this world.

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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