People who don’t truly love themselves usually display these 8 behaviors

Understanding oneself and fostering self-love are crucial elements of personal growth. I’m Lachlan Brown, founder of Hack Spirit, and I’ve spent years studying mindfulness and Buddhism to help people navigate these complexities.

What I’ve discovered is that sometimes, the signs of lacking self-love aren’t immediately obvious. In fact, they can be quite subtle, manifesting in behaviors we might not immediately associate with a lack of self-appreciation.

In my experience, individuals who don’t truly love themselves often exhibit certain behavioral patterns. I’ve identified eight such behaviors that are common among these individuals.

If you’re wondering whether you or someone you know is struggling with self-love, read on. This knowledge could be the first step towards fostering a healthier relationship with oneself.

1) Self-criticism

Mindfulness teaches us to observe our thoughts without judgement. However, individuals struggling with self-love often find it difficult to apply this principle to their own lives.

One of the most common signs of a lack of self-love is excessive self-criticism. This behavior manifests in a person’s constant second-guessing of their decisions, actions, and worth.

It’s natural and healthy to critique oneself as a means to improve and grow. But when self-reflection morphs into relentless self-judgment, it can be a sign of a deeper issue.

This is because self-criticism often stems from an internal belief that we’re not good enough or deserving of love and respect. This negative self-perception can lead to a downward spiral of mental and emotional distress.

By observing your thoughts without judgment, you can start to break the cycle of self-criticism and cultivate a more loving relationship with yourself.

2) Difficulty accepting compliments

During my journey in mindfulness and Buddhism, I’ve had the privilege of learning from some truly wise individuals. One of my mentors once shared a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist. He said, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

This resonated deeply with me and it’s a sentiment I often share with people who struggle with self-love.

One behavior that signals a lack of self-love is difficulty in accepting compliments. When someone compliments us, it’s a recognition of our value or achievements. However, those who struggle with self-love often dismiss these positive affirmations instead of accepting them graciously.

This could be because they don’t believe they deserve praise or because they’re uncomfortable with being the center of attention. But at its core, this behavior often stems from not fully accepting oneself.

Remember Thich Nhat Hanh’s words. You are beautiful as you are, and you deserve recognition and praise. Accepting compliments graciously isn’t about feeding your ego; it’s about acknowledging your worth and embracing the love others show towards you.

3) Neglecting personal needs

Buddhism wisdom teaches us about the Middle Way, a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. This principle applies perfectly when we consider our personal needs.

A clear behavior exhibited by those who don’t fully love themselves is a tendency to neglect their own needs. This can manifest in various ways, such as ignoring physical health, disregarding emotional well-being, or continuously prioritizing others’ needs over their own.

Why does this happen? Often, it’s due to a belief that they aren’t deserving of care or that their needs aren’t as important as the needs of others.

This isn’t just unhealthy—it’s unsustainable. Like a car without fuel, we can’t function if we don’t take care of ourselves.

Buddhism teaches us the importance of balance in all things. If you find you’re neglecting your own needs, remember the Middle Way. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself; it’s necessary for your overall well-being and to be able to genuinely care for others.

4) Living in the past or future

Mindfulness is all about staying present and fully experiencing each moment as it unfolds. Yet, those who struggle with self-love often find themselves trapped in the past or anxiously anticipating the future.

This behavior is particularly damaging because it prevents individuals from fully living in the present moment. They may constantly revisit past mistakes or dwell on future uncertainties, leading to feelings of anxiety, guilt, or fear.

Being stuck in the past or future often stems from a lack of self-acceptance and forgiveness. It can be a sign that they’re holding onto past regrets or feel unworthy of a positive future.

Remember, mindfulness teaches us to focus on the now. The past has already happened and can’t be changed. The future isn’t here yet and worrying won’t influence it.

So if you find yourself constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, take a moment to ground yourself in the present. Practicing mindfulness can help you to cultivate self-love and acceptance, allowing you to fully embrace the here and now.

5) Struggling with self-identity

In my journey of understanding self-love and mindfulness, I’ve delved into the complexities of self-identity. In fact, in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I discuss at length how our self-perception plays a critical role in our overall well-being.

A common behavior among those who don’t truly love themselves is a struggle with self-identity. They may have trouble recognizing their unique qualities or value, or they might constantly compare themselves to others.

This struggle with self-identity can be a significant obstacle in the path towards self-love. After all, how can we love ourselves if we don’t truly know who we are?

If you find yourself grappling with your own identity, consider investing some time in self-reflection and introspection. My book might be a beneficial resource to help you navigate this journey. Understanding your own worth and potential is a crucial step in cultivating genuine self-love.

6) Difficulty setting boundaries

A crucial aspect of self-love that’s often overlooked is the ability to set healthy boundaries. Those who struggle with loving themselves may find it difficult to assert their own needs and stand up for themselves when those boundaries are crossed.

This behavior often stems from a fear of rejection or a desire for approval, which can result in allowing others to take advantage of them or disrespect their space and time.

From a mindfulness perspective, setting boundaries is about acknowledging your worth and respecting your own needs and feelings. It’s about being present with your emotions and standing firm in your decisions.

Buddhism teaches us the importance of compassion, not just for others, but for ourselves as well. Setting boundaries is an act of self-compassion, a way to protect your peace and well-being.

You have the right to set boundaries and ensure they’re respected. It’s not selfish, it’s a fundamental aspect of self-love.

7) Constant need for validation

One of the most telling signs of a lack of self-love is a constant need for validation from others. Those who struggle with self-love often seek approval and praise to feel valued or worthy.

This can be an emotionally draining and unfulfilling cycle, as external validation is fleeting and often unreliable. It’s like trying to fill a cup with a hole in the bottom – it will never truly be full.

Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön once said, “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” This quote beautifully illustrates the concept that our worth isn’t defined by external factors, but is inherent and unchanging.

If you find yourself constantly seeking approval from others, remember Pema Chödrön’s words. Your worth isn’t determined by what others think of you. You are enough just as you are. Cultivating this understanding is a significant step towards self-love.

8) Avoidance of alone time

One might think that those who don’t love themselves would prefer to be alone, but in fact, the opposite is usually true. A common behavior among such individuals is a persistent avoidance of spending time alone.

This might seem counterintuitive at first, but when you delve deeper, it makes sense. Being alone often means confronting our own thoughts and feelings, which can be uncomfortable if we’re struggling with self-love.

From a mindfulness perspective, alone time is a golden opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. It provides the space to observe our thoughts, understand our emotions, and ultimately foster a deeper connection with ourselves.

If you find yourself constantly seeking the company of others and avoiding solitude, consider taking some mindful moments for yourself. Spending quality time with yourself isn’t lonely; it’s a chance to nurture your relationship with the most important person in your life – you.


Recognizing these behaviors is the first step towards fostering self-love. It’s important to remember that we all have moments of self-doubt and struggle. But it’s how we acknowledge and respond to these feelings that truly matters.

Our journey towards self-love is a personal one, and it’s okay to seek guidance along the way. If you’re looking for a resource to help you navigate this journey, my book “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego” might be what you need.

Self-love isn’t just about feeling good about ourselves. It’s about acknowledging our worth, setting boundaries, accepting ourselves fully, and understanding that we’re enough just as we are.

Love yourself – not just for who you are, but for who you can become.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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