8 signs you were loved as a child, even if it doesn’t feel like it

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It’s one of the most difficult puzzles in our lives:

You grew up, and you’re not sure if you were truly loved as a child or not.

You’ve looked back on your childhood, you’ve tried to piece together all the memories but it’s just not clear.

Sometimes it’s not even about traumatic events.

You may just have this nagging doubt that you weren’t loved, even when your mind, gut or heart insists otherwise.

Here’s how to recognize the signs that you were indeed loved as a child, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Now let’s explore the subtle cues that indicate love, often overlooked or forgotten in the chaos of growing up.

1) You have a strong sense of self

In the journey of life, self-identity plays a crucial role.

It’s the anchor that keeps us grounded, and it’s often formed during our childhood years.

If you have a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for, this could be a sign that you were loved as a child.

This sense of self often stems from the validation and acceptance we receive from our parents or caregivers.

They might have encouraged your interests, listened to your ideas and opinions, and accepted you for who you are – all signs of love.

Even if you didn’t feel it then, this kind of support in your formative years is an indication you were indeed loved.

2) You’re not afraid to express emotion

In my own life, I’ve found expressing my feelings openly and honestly to be a challenge at times.

Growing up, we’re often taught to hold back our tears, to keep a stiff upper lip. But I look back and realize that my parents always encouraged me to share my feelings, even when they were messy or complicated.

They never made fun of my fears or dismissed my happiness as trivial. Instead, they taught me that every emotion is valid and that expressing them is not a sign of weakness but strength.

In hindsight, it’s clear this was their way of showing love – creating a space where I could be myself, emotions and all.

3) You were encouraged to explore

For me, this sign really hits home.

As a kid, I was always curious and eager to learn. I remember my parents indulging my interests, no matter how fleeting or seemingly unimportant they might have been.

There was this one time, I developed a sudden fascination with dinosaurs. Instead of dismissing it as a childish whim, they took me to the local museum which had a great dinosaur exhibit.

They bought me books and spent hours listening to me talk about the different species and their characteristics.

Looking back, I realize that this encouragement to explore wasn’t just about indulging my interests, it was about showing love and care.

They nurtured my curiosity and supported my growth – subtle signs of love that might not have felt like it at the time but are clear as day now.

4) You have a healthy attachment style

In the field of psychology, it’s widely accepted that our early experiences with caregivers shape our attachment styles in adulthood.

If you find yourself able to form secure, trusting bonds in your relationships, there’s a good chance this started in your early years. Secure attachment styles usually develop when a child feels consistently loved, cared for, and responded to by their parents or caregivers.

Even if it didn’t feel like love at the time, being able to trust and rely on the people around you today is a testament to the love you received as a child.

5) You can manage conflict constructively

Managing conflict is a skill, one that’s often learned during our early years.

As a child, you might have witnessed disagreements between your parents or other family members. How those disputes were handled can significantly impact how you deal with conflict today.

If you find yourself able to navigate disagreements with empathy, open communication, and a willingness to find mutual resolutions, it’s likely because you witnessed similar patterns in your childhood.

Your parents or caregivers probably modeled healthy conflict resolution, showing you that disagreements are natural and can be worked through constructively.

After all, love isn’t just about comfort and joy – it’s also about learning how to navigate the rough waters together.

6) You value yourself

Self-esteem is a tricky thing. It fluctuates, ebbs and flows, but the foundation of it is often laid down in our childhood.

If you find that you have a strong sense of self-worth, that you value yourself and your contributions, it’s quite possible this was nurtured in your early years.

Your parents or caregivers may have shown you love by praising your efforts, not just your achievements. They may have made it clear that your worth wasn’t tied to your performance or how well you lived up to others’ expectations.

This kind of unconditional love and acceptance can be incredibly powerful in shaping our self-esteem.

Even if you didn’t realize it at the time, this confidence in your own worth is a significant sign that you were loved as a child.

7) You’re comfortable with intimacy

Intimacy, both emotional and physical, is a fundamental part of human relationships.

If you tend to form deep, meaningful connections with others and are comfortable sharing your emotions, this could be a reflection of the love you received as a child.

Your parents or caregivers may have demonstrated love by being open and vulnerable with you, teaching you that it’s okay to let your guard down and share your innermost thoughts and feelings.

They may have shown affection, giving hugs or saying “I love you,” creating a safe space for emotional expression.

The comfort and ease with which you navigate intimate relationships today is a strong indication that you were loved as a child – even if it didn’t feel like it at the time.

8) You practice self-love and self-care

This, I believe, is a crucial point.

The ability to love and care for yourself is often a reflection of the love you received in your early years.

Your parents or caregivers might have shown you how to take care of your physical and mental health, encouraging good habits like eating well, getting enough sleep, and taking time out to relax and enjoy life.

They might have taught you that it’s okay to prioritize your own needs and that doing so doesn’t make you selfish – it makes you human.

Practicing self-love and self-care isn’t always easy, but if it’s something you naturally gravitate towards, it’s a strong sign that you were loved as a child.

The fact that you can show love to yourself now is a beautiful testament to the love you received then.

The final reflection

If you have found resonance in these signs, it’s likely you were loved as a child, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time.

Acknowledging this can be a transformative experience. It infuses your past with a sense of warmth and understanding, helping you appreciate where you are today.

Begin by revisiting your memories with this newfound perspective. Spot instances where love was subtly expressed in ways you didn’t recognize back then. Understand that love isn’t always loud or grand; sometimes, it’s in the quiet moments, the steady support, the freedom to be yourself.

This isn’t about rewriting your past, but about reframing it.

Take comfort in the love that was given, even if it was not in the form you expected. Appreciate those who showed up for you in their own ways. And most importantly, carry forward this love into your present and future.

As Leo Buscaglia once said, “Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.” So, let’s not miss out on recognizing the love that has shaped who we are today.

In this journey of self-discovery and reflection, remember to be kind to yourself. Trust that every step forward is a step towards embracing your past, understanding your present and nurturing your future.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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