4 Common Barriers to Self-Love

Let’s get honest and transparent—sometimes it’s not as easy as we think it is to practice self-love. Despite our best intentions, it’s hard to shake old habits, mindsets, and belief systems that we’ve normalized and adopted for so long. Like any goal we work on achieving, self-love comes with its own set of barriers. However, what happens is we often fail to identify and overcome those hurdles in order to show ourselves the genuine care and affection that we’re deserving of.

So, while each person might have their unique set of challenges when it comes to self-love, there are a few challenges that tend to be more common on the self-love journey. Hopefully, by identifying them, you can begin to recognize when they show up and unpack how each may affect you so that you’re set to be both proactive and intentional about choosing to be more self-loving.

4 Common Barriers to Self-Love Include:

1. Comparison

How many times have you found yourself scrolling down your timeline and looking at a friend—or even a complete stranger’s status update or latest photo and feeling a sense of longing, insecurity, or personal discontent? No matter how strong these feelings are when they stem up, they usually tend to surface whenever comparison enters the picture. Though it might be a natural tendency to see ourselves in relation to others, it can definitely be an unhealthy practice—especially when envy is at play. When we start feeling adversely about what we do or don’t have or desiring what isn’t ours, this ultimately affects how we view ourselves—leading us to experience a lack of contentment, confidence, and appreciation of self.

2. People Pleasing

Those who are extremely kind-hearted or seeking acceptance or validation externally from others will likely run into this challenge at some point. That’s not to say that being kind or caring about what others think is entirely an issue—but when a person is overly concerned with the opinions of others or is worried that they may not be accepted, that person may overextend themselves and try to find a sense of fulfilment from doing what they believe makes others happy or comfortable, and in most cases, at the expense of their own well-being. 

3. Being Overly Self-Critical

Being our own biggest critic is something many of us struggle with. Some of us have viewed or continue to view ourselves from this lens because of things we’ve experienced as early as childhood that fostered low self-confidence, shame, guilt, and unforgiveness toward ourselves. Some of us have lived being overly self-critical most of our lives, it can be a major obstacle when it comes to trying to be more self-loving and self-compassionate. This challenge is apparent mainly when a person finds it easier to offer those intangible gifts to others while having a rough time offering the same for themselves.

4. Lack of Boundaries

Your time, space, and energy should be treated sacredly. Nevertheless, when self-love is absent, a person might find themself lowering their boundaries or not having any at all after they’ve placed a negative value on themself that has shaped how they view the importance of their time, space, and energy. If you can relate, you may find yourself neglecting these areas and giving others more privilege and access to those things if self-love is not considered in the equation.

Regardless of whether you’re at the beginning of your self-love journey or if it’s been one that you’ve embarked on for years, being able to identify the things that can get in the way of you practising self-love is extremely important. If you’ve found yourself experiencing any of the 4 barriers, list each one that applies to you and write one thing that you plan to do to show yourself more love in that area.

If you’ve identified a barrier to self-love that wasn’t included here, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!

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