As children, many survivors faced not receiving love from their caregivers without paying a tremendous price, and even then, it wasn’t true love. This lack of attention and care left most abused and mistreated children living in a limbo of desiring the love they deserved.
In this article, we shall discuss why you may not feel good enough for love and ways you can change that for good.
Everyone Deserves to Be Loved
Everyone deserves love and respect, and yes, this includes you. The need and search for love in childhood is a fundamental and elemental part of being human. Being shown love is vital to developing a child’s brain, social development, and how they see themselves.
Indeed, below is a list of just a few of the benefits of a child receiving love from their caregivers:
- Love helps a child’s mental well-being
- Love makes a child physically healthier
- Love increases a child’s brain development and memory
- Love creates a stronger bond between a parent and child
- Love makes a child less fearful and more able to explore their world
Love causes babies to thrive. They become excited when they hear the voice of someone who shows them affection enter the room and coo at them as the person who loves them interacts with them. Love and nurturance are at the very center of a child’s existence at any age.
What Happens When Love Is Withheld?
When love is withheld or missing, it can have devastating effects on children and those same children when they grow up to become adults. Without caregivers’ nurturance, children grow up to be adults who feel they don’t deserve to be loved.
The outcomes of lack of affection on children are harbingers of what is to come to them when they become adults. These consequences include the five listed below. This list is not all-comprehensive.
- Infants learn to decipher emotions through the words and gestures of those tasked with caring for them. If these words and gestures are missing or the child does not receive affection, they cannot recognize or recognize the emotions they are experiencing.
Older children who lack affection from their caregivers also have difficulty identifying their feelings and emotions. They learn how to recognize, express, and regulate their emotions by modeling them after their parent’s behaviors. If the parents are too self-absorbed and show no compassion or love toward their children, the kids grow up incredibly lacking in recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, plus they feel empty inside.
- Infants not given love and emotional sensitivity by their caregivers often have difficulty forming relationships later in life.
Older children who are not shown affection grow up with deficiencies in their life skills. These skills involve all aspects of life and include deficiencies in cognition, emotional skills, attachment, and social skills. One vital life skill that goes missing due to lack of affection is building, maintaining, and enforcing personal boundaries. This is due to the lack of boundaries the children experience in their home life, leading to the development of behavioral problems in the future.
- Children who are not given sufficient affection suffer a lack of self-esteem. This lack of self-esteem caused by the lack of affection causes the child to have a poor relationship with themselves to the point that they become their own worst enemy as they critique everything they do.
These children’s problems with self-esteem cause their life to be a constant battle between their emotions and what they wish to feel. This results in the children judging themselves harshly and holding themselves up to an impossible standard.
- Children given little or no affection grow up with little trust in other people.
Trust is a vital component in positive emotional attachment to other people. When children don’t experience affection and protection from their caregivers, they are more likely to develop defense mechanisms to keep themselves from being hurt.
Children who grow up in unstable and unloving environments continuously worry that the people they instinctively love will inevitably hurt them and build walls of protection around themselves.
Children raised in unstable and unwelcome environments will grow into adults who find it difficult to trust others.
- In severe cases, children not given love will fail to thrive and can even die. Lack of nurturance and care, even though their basic needs of shelter, food, and cleaning are cared for, is not enough. Babies and older children require and deserve to be held and loved unconditionally.
In these cases, the children not shown nurturance will develop mental health difficulties that will last into adulthood, robbing them of the life they could have had. As adults, they are incapable of making lasting, meaningful connections with others and may not have work stability,
What Do You Deserve from Someone Else?
To put to rest once and for all the question of do you deserve love, let us examine what you deserve from someone else.
You deserve someone to meet your standards and give you the respect and honesty you deserve from the very beginning of your relationship with them to the end.
You deserve love from someone that doesn’t change from day to day and makes you wonder whether or not their feelings for you have changed.
You deserve someone else to give their attention and affection freely without the need to beg or compromise yourself for it.
You deserve someone who is not afraid to admit they love you and feels lucky to have you as their companion or lover.
You deserve someone who loves you despite your flaws and failures.
You deserve someone who accepts you as you are, no matter what size your body or how large or small your pocketbook.
You deserve someone in a romantic relationship who will use words and actions to prove they care deeply for you. The person who loves you will go out of their way to plan dates, share their secrets with you, and do whatever is necessary to keep your relationship vital and robust.
You deserve someone who never withholds their love no matter how angry they may get or if they are in public. This person will always love and adore you and prove it after they have calmed down from an argument. They will also openly spend time holding your hand in public and doing other little things that make you feel loved in front of others.
You deserve someone who will say I Love You a lot and mean it whenever they think about you because you deserve to hear those wonderful, beautiful words.
You deserve to surround yourself with people who see the best in you and not people who tear you down.
You deserve someone who won’t care if you are depressed or anxious and won’t decide to run when the going gets tough.
You deserve someone who will be there and will not abandon you when you need them the most.
Lastly, you deserve someone who will love you, unconditionally.
How to Look for Lasting Love in Adulthood
Searching for and finding the lasting love that everyone craves after you have survived trauma, be it in childhood or adulthood, is difficult but not impossible. But what are the things one should do to find true love? How can you be successful?
The answer may be less complicated than we often make it out to be.
First of all, stop trying to find someone to complete you. If you are only part of the way there, you need to make certain you are completed before meeting someone. Two half-people do not make a whole; that equals disaster.
Second, often people present themselves in their best possible light and expect the other person to be putting on their true self and act sad when they find out their possible mate has been lying to them. Really? Be yourself and encourage others to be themselves around you. If you don’t put on a fake facade, then perhaps others will not either.
Third, stop looking for the missing parts of you in the other person. Stop looking for the one and turn your attention inward instead to get to know and accept yourself. This way, you can learn to accept yourself, heal past wounds, and explore new parts of your development and life. This step is vital for learning to be a whole person to complete the first tip.
Fourth, develop the qualities you find attractive in others. Most of us only show little pieces of who we are as we limit ourselves to the self we became in childhood. We developed characteristics that met our needs for survival in our childhood homes. In essence, children raised in dysfunctional homes often hide and disown parts of themselves that are not valued or needed.
To replace the negative qualities you see in yourself, pay attention to what qualities you wish to build up in yourself. Then begin to practice what you see the other person doing in private at first, then expanding into the outer world.
Fifth, when you do meet someone you make a good connection with, do not rush the relationship. Give the budding love time to grow and go slowly. There is no rush to the altar, and a successful long-term relationship is not a game. Forget about what Hollywood has taught you about fairy tale romances and happy ever after endings because love between partners is hard work and takes determination and commitment.
Every relationship is unique, and your relationship will unfold in a unique fashion. You cannot plan for it to go a particular way; you must follow its convolutions and turns as they come. You can live your life more fully and accept yourself more; in doing so, you will be capable of loving the other person more.
Although your view of love may have been tainted by trauma in your past, that does not mean love is beyond your grasp. Learning to love yourself is the first and most crucial step towards finding someone to love you for who you are and maintain your healthy boundaries during the relationship.
Are you good enough to be loved? Yes. Why do you deserve to be loved? Because you are you. Because you are the only you, there will ever be. Because you are the only you in the entire universe, and that makes you rare and beautiful.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fence, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu