Self

If You Have These 2 Common Habits, You May Not Love Yourself As Much As You Thought

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Woman looking at her self in the mirror

Learning to love yourself, practice self-acceptance, and remember self-care can be difficult when you keep putting it off. "If only" are two dangerous words. They're dangerous because they distract you from the real cause of your unhappiness.

For most people, it's hard to know whether or not you truly love and accept yourself or if you think you do. Many signs point to a person not loving themselves, but two are insidious because they lie beneath a chronic sense of discontent.

If you have these 2 common habits, you may not love yourself as much as you thought:

1. You run yourself ragged trying to be "everything" to everyone

Your boss sends you last-minute requests, and you always do them right away — even when it means missing dinner dates, time with your kids, or workouts with friends at the gym. You offer to watch your neighbor's dog while he's on vacation, even though you barely have time to walk and play with your dog.

You say "yes" even when you don't have the time, energy, or desire because you don't want to disappoint the people who count on you. You think your problem is you're not organized enough, you don't set good enough boundaries, or there's not enough time in the day to do everything you want.

The problem isn't that at all. The problem is you don't love yourself, so you're always trying to prove something to someone that you're a good partner, a good parent, or a good employee. Unless you learn to love yourself, you'll forever run yourself ragged and never feel accomplished.

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2. You never feel like you're enough

No matter what you do for others, you don't feel you're enough. You don't ever feel people truly love or respect you, and nothing you do is ever enough to make others (or yourself) satisfied for long.

If you're single, this shows up in that sinking feeling you get whenever your partner is acting distant, or you worry over whether or not they'll call you again. They may have told you they had a nice time on the date, but you don't believe them. You're convinced that other people have great relationships but that you never will.

If you're in a relationship, it could mean you seethe with jealousy whenever your partner talks about another person or pays attention to anyone else. You fear being abandoned and worry about them breaking up with you.

   

   

You can't handle criticism and feel your partner is constantly on your back about something. At work, it means not feeling appreciated or respected for your contribution. At home, it can be second-guessing how you treat your kids. Did you say the right thing? Is someone going to think you're a bad parent? It could show up as never being happy with how you look or feel and giving up on the habits that can make a difference in your health.

You may think all these problems are the result of choosing the wrong partner or having an inconsiderate boss or out-of-control kids, but these are all symptoms of a greater problem — that you don't love yourself. It can lead to strained or broken relationships, career setbacks, and a whole host of health issues.

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"If only" has you looking for answers outside yourself, forever trying to change how others behave to feel better about your life. You believe your relationships, work, and health could be better. If only this person acted a certain way, or if only there weren't so many obstacles.

   

   

It turns you away from the one thing that can change how you feel about your life: Looking within at how you feel about yourself. To feel at peace and fully content with your life, you must first learn to love yourself. But here's the tricky part: Most people don't even realize they don't love themselves.

You think, "If only" you could make a little more money or could afford the things that would make you happy ... like remodeling your kitchen, buying a better car, or booking a vacation to Hawaii. If only you could get some cooperation around the house from your partner or kids, you could finally relax and do something nice for yourself instead of wearing yourself out and keeping things tidy and functioning. If only you didn't work such long hours or have such a long commute, you would have the energy to go to the gym, eat better, and take better care of your health.

But the truth is none of those "if onlys" will make you happy. Even if you get everything you want, there would be something else to eat away at your contentment because the "if only" are the only symptoms of the real problem. So, you need to get clear about the real problem and focus on a solution that will work.

Joyful woman with a great hat

Photo: UnderTree via Shutterstock

Learning to love yourself is a simple process with a lifetime of rewards.

You can solve a lot of the problems you're experiencing in life if you learn to love yourself. You don't have to run yourself ragged anymore. You don't have to feel inadequate in any area of life or wonder if you'll ever be loved how you deserve. You need to learn to tap into who you are and accept yourself fully.

RELATED: 6 Signs You Love Yourself Enough To Love Someone Else

Katie and Gay Hendricks are experts who have written over 30 books, trained thousands of coaches, appeared on Oprah, and hosted seminars around the globe.

This article was originally published at Hearts in True Harmony. Reprinted with permission from the author.