If there is one thing that we all want, it is love.
Humans are relational creatures wired for connection, and love is the basis of all relationships and connections.
We tend to think love exits mainly in romantic relationships or among close family members—an “I love you” from your partner or words of support encouragement from your parents. But love as a bond between two people extends farther than these. Friends, colleagues, and even strangers on the street can show you love when they offer you compassion and empathy—which is what love is all about.
Feeling loved is feeling accepted and supported unconditionally for being who you are. You know someone can see what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you feel, and will listen to you without judgment and do what he or she can to make you happy.
We all want love without terms and conditions. Feeling loved is the bread and butter of life and the basis for security and happiness.
However, not every one of us can feel loved. Having family, friends, or partners around can still leave us to feel isolated and alone if they show little understanding or compassion. Chronically feeling unloved and disconnected from others can lead to depression and even suicides.
Why Can’t I Feel Loved?
Like many other issues in your adult life, the inability to feel love has everything to do with your parents. How they treated you when you were young shaped your view of the world. If your parents loved you with terms and conditions—rewarded you when you were good but punished you when you were bad, and ignored your feelings, needs and wants, you’d feel unloved and disconnected from them. As an adult, you carry this feel and look at the world and everyone else as if no one ever cared about you.
6 Steps to Learn to Feel Loved Again
The good news is, learning to feel loved is never too late, and it doesn’t require you to go out and change others. It won’t happen overnight but, like any other healing process, the better it gets, the better it gets. The six steps below have helped on my journey to learn to feel loved again. Hope they work for you, too.
Step 1. Allow Yourself to Receive Love
Have you said no to a dinner invitation because you assume that you have nothing to talk to with the people who’ll be there? Have you ever declined a friend’s help because you’re afraid that he or she has other agendas? We who want love are usually the ones that push it away and create a self-fulfilling prophecy that we aren’t loved.
If you ever want to feel loved again, you have to allow it to come to you, which includes taking people for their words when they say they love you or accepting help when it is offered to you. You might feel reluctant to do so in the beginning for how your parents treated you has led you to believe that no love comes without terms and conditions. But know that you’ve grown up and that people you meet are different from your parents. Some will love you genuinely. All you need it to put down your guard and allow love to flow to you.
Step 2. Open Your Heart
People who are desperate for love are also terrified of rejection because it confirms their belief that they’re not loved. However, by closing their heart and building a wall around it, they are pushing people away.
If you want to feel loved and build genuine connections, you have to take the first step by opening yourself up and being vulnerable. Strike up a conversation and talk with others about your fear, insecurity, grief, and your “issues” and shadows. Those who can’t handle your honesty will walk away, while those who can accept your authenticity will build with you meaningful, long-lasting relationships. It is a risk worth taking.
Step 3. Love Yourself First
Self-love is such a cliché in the self-help community that few people take it seriously anymore. But the truth is, it works. If you are desperate for love, chances are that you’ve never learned to love yourself. Your needs and wants were ignored by your parents as you grew up, and you go into adulthood not knowing how to fill these void by yourself. Instead, you turn to others for love, approval, and recognition.
Ironically, when you need love, it’s hard to get it. The vibration of needing is the vibration of lack and will only attract people who will make you feel more unloved.
Be courageous and prioritize yourself over anyone else. You might be terrified of doing this because you think once you stop pleasing others, they will stop loving you. But 1) you don’t feel loved anyway, so what’s there to lose? 2) those who genuinely love you will respect and honor your decisions. In fact, when you fulfill your needs, feel joy and vibrate at the frequency of being loved, those who love you will love you more. You will also attract new people who care for you to your life while the ones that deplete you will go out of sight.
Step 4. Feel the Love
Love is everywhere because that’s what the Universe consists of. If you believe that we are all one and connected, then you should see that everything around you is nothing but another aspect of you.
Whenever that craving for love unsettles you, pause a moment and close your eyes. Take deep breaths and focus on your body. Feel it from the toes to the head. Imagine your body is fully connected to the outer environment, which gently touches your skin—even the empty space. And then imagine yourself immersed in these love and light. Know that they won’t run out, are readily available to you, and will ask you for nothing in return. All you need is to allow yourself to feel it without judgment or doubt.
Step 5. Leave Toxic Relationships Behind
You might tend to please others so that they will give you the love, approval, and recognition you want. Not everyone will return your favor. Some will only take advantage of your kindness to fill their void.
Walk away from these people, whether they are friends, family members, or romantic partners. They won’t provide you the love you ask for, and you won’t be able to change them. It might be horrified to cut these relationships or people off since you’ve clung to them for a while and are convinced that you can’t leave them. But this is not the case. You don’t need any specific person to feel loved. Let go of what doesn’t serve you to make space for better and more meaningful relationships to come to your experience.
The best way to do this is to set healthy boundaries. Boundaries define where you end and where others begin and are guidelines of how you want to be treated by others. Evaluate your relationships and see who are the typical (types of) people that you aren’t comfortable with, have no respect for you, or have repeatedly hurt you. Filter them out of your life and consciously choose what’s beneficial to you.
Step 6. Embody the Love that You Want to Get
It isn’t easy to love others when you think no one loves you, but having a big heart takes your focus away from the lack of love to the abundance of it (think “How can I be loved by you?” and “What can I do for you?” and feel the vibrational difference.)
Love others how you want to be loved. Do you want to be loved unconditionally? Then care for others unconditionally first. Do you want to be accepted for who you are? Accept others without judgment. Don’t do it just so that you can get something in return. You love and help because you can.
Start with the people that you’re most comfortable with (use your discernment and stay away from the toxic ones, as mentioned above). Send them a message, invite them out for dinner, or buy a surprise gift for them. You can also practice random acts of kindness on a daily basis and spread your love to people you don’t know. When you make others feel cared for, so will you be filled with the delicious sensation of being loved.
The path to feeling loved again is bumpy, and you will be hurt and rejected at times, but it’s worth the effort and pain. And the more that you try, the more loved you feel, and the more loved you will feel. Have faith that the day will come when you are surrounded by people who genuinely love you and have deep, meaningful connection with you.
Do you have other tips and advice on how we can feel loved? Please share in the comment box below!