I used to work for an organization, connecting with teens who were dealing with a wide range of issues.

Some had boyfriend troubles, some wanted prayer, and others had major challenges that they were trying to work through. However, there was a common denominator that linked them all. They didn’t love themselves, and they were struggling because of it.

How Can We Love Others If We Don’t Love Ourselves?

When we are struggling to love ourselves, it becomes more difficult for us to love others. Our focus becomes inward towards our hurt and pain. This in turn can lead us to build up emotional walls, in the hopes of protecting ourselves.

With our defenses up, it may be hard for us to connect emotionally with others. Although we may see their pain or need, we might refrain from taking action, as we wrestle with our own issues.

What Can Lead Us To Feel This Way?

Low self-esteem can be the culprit. This can lead to feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and even depression. Whether we know it or not, most of us carry some emotional baggage around with us.

We may have picked this up in our childhood, teens, or adult hood. It can start by a lie perpetuating in our life. Usually this creates a false impression of who we really are, as we become consumed by the lies that we find ourselves believing. Are there any lies perpetuating in your life?

Identifying The Perpetrator

An image of a woman thinking

The perpetrator may be in our past, or present. Perhaps a bully, a parent or family member, a stranger, or even our very selves! How can we be both the victim and the perpetrator? As the saying goes, sometimes “You are your own worst enemy!”

This can happen if we feel that we have wronged others, or ourselves. Then low and behold, we find we are full steam ahead on a guilt trip. However, more often than not, it starts with someone else planting the seed of deceit in our life. Unfortunately, like a weed, if it is watered often enough deceit can soon grow into a rampant vine that threatens to choke every last bit of self esteem out of us.

So What Can You Do About It?

Forgiveness can play a big part in letting go and moving forward. Once we have identified the perpetrator, we are able to focus on breaking the lies that they have planted within us.

“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner!” ― Max Lucado

What it comes down to, is not what others believe about us, but what we believe about ourselves. Likewise, forgiveness is not about releasing them, but about releasing ourselves from the pain and hurt they have caused.

It is not always easy to forgive, but each step forward is another step taken down the path towards healing.

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