Love as an Action Verb: 50 Signs We Lack Self-Love



in many ways, i'm happy about how often "self love" is discussed in the media. i'm glad that men and women alike recognize the importance of taking care of their hearts. the lifelong educator in me hopes and prays that all young people can have access to these practices as early on as possible.

but is it enough to know about self-love? is it enough to claim we love ourselves? is it enough to nod our heads and snap our fingers when people discuss self love? is it enough that we can give our friends bomb ass advice: "you gotta love yourself first, girl." 

do we even know what love looks like?



if we saw the absence of self-love, would we be able to recognize that? 


1- we are constantly making excuses for others' lack of loving behavior towards us

2- we believe that we will like or love ourselves more "after" we reach whatever goal we've set

3- we still have self-deprecating, negative thoughts about our abilities or identity

4- we are most motivated by our self-deprecating thoughts or thinking we are not good enough "yet;" we confuse this with "ambition"

5- we have a chip on our shoulder (or several): we feel the need to prove ourselves to others or to the world at large

6- we often think about someone else's opinion of how we look when we get dressed

7- we lack boundaries and like to "go with the flow" in our relationships

8- we are afraid or uncomfortable saying no without explanation

9- we do not listen to our bodies when they ask/beg us for a day off

10- we feel jealous or envious of others

11- we believe others' advancements in life highlight our stagnancy

12- we identify with being a "savage" when it comes to relationships, it makes us proud

13- we believe nice guys/girls finish last - that we need an "asshole" or someone "rough around the edges"

14- we are still waiting for closure from someone else instead of creating it on our own

15- we are paralyzed by our pride: we find ourselves unable to act from a place of love because we are too prideful; we are proud of being prideful

16- we keep a guard up because we are afraid of getting hurt (aka. we are stuck on the defensive)

17- we feel guilt, resentment, regret or any other passive emotion that keeps us stuck

18- we lack connection to something larger than us; we believe god wouldn't accept us

19- we find it difficult to practice gratitude on a consistent basis, we think gratitude is reserved for when we are happier with our lives

20- we are waiting for "the one" to complete us or make us whole

21- we have formed any crutch or emotional dependency on anyone or anything

22- we still have fixed mindsets, saying things like "i'm not [insert self-deprecating adjective] enough," "i can't ever stop doing [x habit we want to get rid of]"

23- we are afraid to sit alone with our thoughts

24- we feel uncomfortable doing those things that have always been cathartic and therapeutic to us - like writing, painting, meditation, yoga, etc.  

25- we believe anyone (but God) is in control of our destiny

26- we are engaged with any toxic people, things, or habits

27- we self-sabotage potentially good things or relationships

28- we are a rebel with no cause; we believe it's us VS. everybody

29- we have issues holding ourselves accountable; we get defensive when receiving any constructive feedback

30- we take better care of our appearance than our spirit

31- we think we look unattractive without makeup or in our most natural state

32- we are afraid or uncomfortable being alone; we believe that we are single because something is wrong with us

33- we are arrogant, judgmental, lacking in humility, or condescending towards others

34- we crave attention, even from people we don't know

35- we are addicted - to anything

36- we have a "roster" of men/women and we're proud of it

37- we are emotionally unavailable yet engaged with people intimately/romantically

38- we are dependent on someone/something else for our happiness

39- we are constantly apologizing

40- we feel like an imposter often: we constantly feel less qualified or worthy even if our mind knows otherwise

41- our hearts and minds are often at war

42- we have not forgiven ourselves for something

43- we see the world as a hopeless, mostly negative place

44- we idolize anyone or anything

45- we are embarrassed/ashamed of who or what we come from

46- we behave as anything/anyone other than ourselves, even for a second

47- we talk/think about our weaknesses/growth areas more than our strengths

48- we gossip often; somewhere deep inside we crave drama and believe our lives are boring otherwise

49- we have issues letting go of the past

50- we suppress our emotions because we perceive emotional expression as a weakness


AND IF I GAVE IT SOME TIME, I COULD GET TO 1,000 CLEAR SIGNS THAT WE LACK SELF LOVE IN ACTION. THE TRUTH IS, MOST OF US WHO BELIEVE IN SELf-LOVE in THEORY don't really know what it looks like in action. self love in theory is not enough.



every single one of us identified with at least three of the points above. and no, i'm not putting you on blast - we are all works in progress. some of us identified with all 50. no judgment. the points above were not listed as a means to expose you (although if you are judging yourself, that is clearly a sign that you are lacking in self-love re: #33). all of us are in need of more self-love, and that's the point. self-love is an active, never-ending process. it is not a destination. we don't embark on this journey and someday "arrive" at "self-love." rather, self-love is the compass we use to get us to wherever it is we are trying to go. 

our hearts have a pulse. we need to monitor this heartbeat constantly. every new experience, every new opportunity, every new challenge, relationship, milestone requires that we love ourselves differently. many of us believe we have "arrived at self-love," when in reality, we are failing to see this process for the active, ongoing practice that it is. i hope the list above was humbling enough to get us to re-evaluate our passive approaches to loving ourselves and take on a more active approach to loving ourselves better every day. 

FOR YOU, FOR YOU, FOR YOU, in order for it to ever be for them, too.

i am a selfless person in many ways. so many of us are this way, and i think you are beautiful for being so generous with your love. but how can we be generous when we lack abundance? how can we possibly give something we don't have?  we cannot. and this is where the "you gotta love yourself first, girl" bomb ass advice comes from. a lot of us know to give this advice, but a lot of us also need to get better at taking our own advice. you gotta love yourself first, because, well, contrary to popular selfless belief, you come first. you really do. but for my especially selfless-types who don't even want to hear that, you especially gotta love yourself first if your intention is to ever love anyone else. let me tell you why.

as i mentioned earlier, love is an action verb. it requires constant, ongoing work. what if i told you that you are half-assing your love if you haven't learned to put your own self-love to practice? i bet that wouldn't sit well with my especially selfless types, and it shouldn't. when we don't learn to give ourselves the love we need, we are directly cutting off the level of love we are able to give our children, our friends, our lovers, our parents, our friends. we haven't taken care of our own hearts, so we are not strong enough to pour into the hearts of others. there are so many reasons to prioritize ourselves, but for my especially selfless readers, this one might be most impactful. you must do it for you, for you, for you in order for it to ever be for them, too. 


next week, i'll be posting a sequel to this post that includes simple things we can do to put our self-love to action. all of us can benefit from simple additions to our self-love regimen. all of us can benefit from intentional cleansing of all things lacking in love. 

it starts here, My love.


only love,


Rima FadlallahComment