Nobody Loves Me

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If you’re a parent, perhaps you’ve had an angry toddler (or teenager) scream “you don’t love me!” in your direction. At some point in our lives, most people have probably felt like there isn’t another person on the planet that loves us. It’s a dark place to be and it can lead us to be more sensitive when interacting with others, isolate ourselves away from the world, and leave us feeling like we aren’t worth anything

To remedy these negative feelings we may seek attention, attempt to prove our self worth to others, or engage in self-reflection. Maybe you’ve seen people (especially children) engage in self-destructive behavior simply to see if the people in their lives love them enough to say “no, you can’t behave this way - I won’t allow you to do this to yourself.” Maybe you’ve attempted to work harder at your job to demonstrate your value to your employer and coworkers. Or perhaps you’ve spent serious time thinking about whether you need to grow as a person so you matter more to the people that matter to you.

While self-destructive behavior is obviously negative, working harder and self-reflection can be positive. But rather than sorting out how to react to feeling unloved, I suggest training yourself to evaluate your emotions in light of objective reality - because you may find that your feelings are unfounded in the first place. That is not to say your feelings aren’t valid - but emotions, while valid and important, may not always accurately reflect objective truths or facts about a situation. 

Emotions are subjective and personal experiences. They're influenced by individual perceptions, past experiences, biases, and interpretations of events. As a result, feelings can sometimes be based on personal perspectives rather than an accurate representation of external reality. Our emotions might distort our understanding of reality, leading us to see situations in a way that aligns with our emotional state at the time. 

One of my daughters, when she was 3 or 4, was especially prone to proclaim “you don’t love me,” to my wife and I when she was receiving correction. As a young parent, it’s tempting to respond to such an accusation with sarcasm, but I found that a more effective approach was to ask my daughter to evaluate the evidence around her and compare it to how she felt. I would ask her what it looks like when parents love their children then ask her if that’s how her mother and I were treating her. 

Many situations are multifaceted and complex, and our feelings might focus on specific aspects while overlooking others. This was certainly the case with our young children, but we are subject to this type of thinking error even as adults if we never learn emotions can be temporary, reactive to immediate circumstances and may not reflect the long-term reality or larger context of a situation. Even when my children were in an especially contrary mood and weren't answering my questions honestly, asking them to evaluate external evidence against their feelings taught them that emotions can deceive us. And, more importantly, it taught them how to think in a way that would keep them from living a life controlled by their emotional highs and lows.

It is, however, essential to restate that while feelings may not always align with objective reality, they are valid and important aspects of our human experience. Emotions provide valuable information about our inner state, needs, and responses to the world around us. Acknowledging and understanding our feelings can be crucial for self-awareness, personal growth, and navigating relationships and life challenges.

Therefore, while feelings might not always represent an objective reality, it's essential to explore and understand them, consider different perspectives, and evaluate situations with a balanced approach that integrates both emotions and critical thinking. A mental health professional can be helpful when it comes to a holistic approach that can lead to a more nuanced understanding of reality and guide you toward more informed decisions and actions.