Dear Charlotte, 

Self-love matters but I don’t feel like I can get there. Why is it so hard for me? It’s a struggle. Why?

Dear Struggle,

We’re often afraid to really love ourselves. We think it will make us egomaniacs, or we’ll discover we’re wrong to approve of ourselves, and we’ll feel foolish. We think we need proof of our lovableness from others before we can let ourselves love fully. 

One of the best things I can do as a psychotherapist is hold space for the ways we don’t love ourselves. It’s a problem to think we must be lovable all the time. We can also realise that we love people who have failed us, betrayed us, hurt us. When it comes to loving yourself, consider that you can be generous and try to notice the best, and appreciate your strengths. 

You can see the flaws too and, without knowing your story, I can only assume that you’ve been somewhat shaped by previous experiences of feeling loved and unloved. Clarify where your struggle comes from and really make a point of intentional generosity. You’ll be keeping yourself company for the rest of your life so you might as well be generous in your attitude! 


Do you have a question for Dear Therapist? Send it to [email protected] with Dear Therapist in the subject line and Charlotte Fox Weber or Kelly Hearn will get back to you.

Further reading

5 mindfulness meditation tips for self-love

Moving from self-criticism to self-compassion

Why we feel shame and how to let it go 

Why self-compassion is key to success