“I don’t deserve love.” Wow. That’s a powerful statement. Love can be a confusing and fickle concept. Deep down we all want to be loved, share love or experience love. However, sometimes our family history, our past relationships and our limited self beliefs can make us feel like “I don’t deserve love”. Feeling deserving of love really comes down to our ability to see ourselves as worthy of being loved. Sometimes the voice between our ears- our negative self talk- can hinder us from believing that we truly are worthy of love and happiness. In order to change that negative self talk around deserving to be loved, we must first look at perhaps where some of those ideas of worthiness and love came from.
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Read on to find how our relationship with our parents or family of origin and our past relationship history, can lead to limiting beliefs and negative self-talk regarding our ability to be loved as well as the thinking that “I don’t deserve love”.
Family of Origin Love Style
Our family of origin, our parents, or the adults who were responsible for raising us- are our first example and model of how to love. With the idea that our parents or guardians growing up did the best they could with the skills that they had – we may have gotten some inaccurate ideas about how to love and be loved- or at least some ideas that don’t feel authentic to us. Perhaps we had guardians or parents who were distant, worked a lot, or really didn’t know how to articulate thoughts and feelings around love and affection. This could have left us feeling ‘unchosen’ or as if we were not “good enough” to be loved. As a child, we didn’t know any better. The way love and affection was shown in our household was our “normal”. But as we grew up, and started to engage in romantic relationships of our own, we brought along the same ideas of love from our childhood.
Another place to explore where our ideas of love and being deserving of love come from, is our past relationships. This idea grows on the previous one where it was already stated that our current romantic interactions tend to mirror what our family of origin‘s representation of love and affection look like. Being able to take a look back on the type of partner you’ve chosen, the way you’ve shown up in the relationship, and the way you felt within and after the relationship, are all cues to figure out how we’ve come to this conclusion that “I don’t deserve love”. When we look at our patterns of behavior in past relationships we are able to see if there are consistency- for example, the types of people we pick, the way we are treated, the things that we do. We can explore all of these things and see if there’s anything that we want to change. Change cannot come until we are aware of the unhelpful patterns that have happened up until this point. Where in your past relationships have you been told that you were not deserving of love? Where have you been made to feel like you were not “good enough“? These are questions we can use to gather more information on our ideas about love.
The chatter going on between our ears can also give us great insight into how we feel about our ability to love and be loved. What is the story that you keep telling yourself? Are there consistent thoughts of being unworthy, unlovable, “too much”? Do you identify yourself as having abandonment issues or commitment issues? Are these thoughts coming from a place of judgment? Are you being critical or judgmental of yourself for having issues with commitment in the past? And what would it look like to turn those judgments into compassion and understanding? Our patterns of behavior in past relationships didn’t come out of nowhere – they are just that, patterns of behavior. And with awareness, compassion, encouragement – we can start to change those patterns of behavior in the future.
You are Worthy of Love (and support)
If this sounds overwhelming – do not fear. A relationship coach, therapist, or counselor can help guide you to create a new story around you being deserving of love. Sometimes bringing up things from the past, or processing through current situations, can be scary- but the good news is we don’t have to go through it alone.
We are all worthy, deserving and cannot think that I don’t deserve love- you just have to start believing it.