Feeling Unworthy of Love
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
To love and to feel loved is essential. Prominent psychologist, Abraham Maslow, lists love and belonging as the third level of the hierarchy of needs. Founder of Choice Theory, psychiatrist Dr William Glasser, also lists love and belonging as basic human needs. People are social creatures who need and thrive in positive relationships. Studies also show that people with secure, loving relationships are happier than those who are wealthy but are lonelier with few meaningful connections.
Children who live with emotionally absent or neglectful caregivers struggle to feel love. They often have a deep-seated belief that they are not good enough, fundamentally flawed, or have made inevitable mistakes that make them undeserving of love. The unprocessed childhood insecurities continue when they grow up, which leads to challenges in developing secure attachments and loving relationships.
The assumptions lead to extreme anxiety or fear of being abandoned by family, friends or
partners, which then causes the person to either avoid relationships or behave in controlling ways to protect them from being left. However, such behaviour leads to an adverse outcome that reinforces the belief of being unworthy or feeling not good enough for love.
There are multiple reasons why people feel they do not deserve love or that no one would love them. Prior childhood experiences of losing a friendship, being emotionally ignored by their caregivers, the death of a significant adult figure during their childhood, witnessing constant argument, family violence or divorce are some examples. Other reasons include the history of abuse, single or multiple distressing experiences, and neglect from caregivers.
Here are some suggestions for people who struggle with a sense of worthlessness or feel unlovable:
Be compassionate to yourself by remembering that you are a work in progress.
Acknowledge negative thoughts and then let them go – noticing and addressing the negative thinking can help you be more aware of your emotional response.
Reach out to friends, family or people who are supportive and encouraging.
Indulge in new hobbies and activities.
Look at alternatives – when you are at a lower point, it is common to assume that people are unkind and dismissive. Do not rush to cut off the relationship. Allow yourself to cool down and explore the possible alternative to your belief.
Keep a collection of happy memories – it may be hard to think about positive things or remember good times when you feel sad. Going over a box of notes, cards, letters, or photos can be a great reminder that you have people who care for you.
Seek professional help – early prevention is helpful. If you consistently feel unworthy or not good enough for love, please seek help from a professional counsellor or psychotherapist to process the emotions before they become overwhelming.
Restoring Peace Counselling & Consultancy offers various counselling and psychotherapy services to help individuals, couples and families with psychological and relationship challenges. For more information, please visit www.restoringpeace.com.sg or Whatsapp us at +65 8889 1848.
Keywords: Singapore, mental health, private clinic, therapy, counselling, therapist, love, belonging, relationships, worthiness