How to Be Lovable
Making yourself open to other people, learning to be vulnerable, and validating yourself rather than seeking validation are all key components to drawing the love of other people. This is not something that's going to happen overnight, but the more you practice accepting and loving yourself and loving other people, the more people are likely to love you!
Learning to Love Yourself
Understand that you determine how other people will see you.If you see yourself as ultimately unlovable that's going to influence people into thinking that you're unlovable. It's important, first and foremost, to see yourself as lovable, because you are lovable.
- Expecting people to find you lovable if you don't find yourself lovable is putting way too much pressure on other people. It also takes the control out of your hands and puts it into the hands of other people, who may or may not be good enough for that.
- Because you determine how you see yourself, if you act with confidence in your own lovableness, other people are more likely to see that and respond to that, even if they are only doing so subconsciously.
Be compassionate with your feelings.The more you tell yourself that you're wrong for having those feelings, the more you try to suppress your feelings, or change them, you're going to make yourself feel rejected and abandoned. That's not a kind way to treat yourself.
- Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel down about something, ask yourself why you feel that way? What caused it? Is it related to something bigger than just one specific incident?
- Emotions alert you to the fact that something could be wrong. For example, if you're feeling upset about something, it acts in a similar way to physical pain. It's telling you that something is wrong (a situation is unhealthy for you, a person is not healthy for you, the way you've been treating yourself is unhealthy, and so on).
Learn to recognize the negative things you tell yourself.Everyone has an inner critic that tells them all the awful and bad things they're doing. You can never fully get rid of that inner critic, but you can help shed light on those negative thoughts, giving them less power to control you.
- Consider why you feel like you're not lovable. Is it because someone recently broke up with you? Is it because you tell yourself that you're ugly, or that your personality is too weird?
- Pay attention to these thought processes. When you do find that you're having a negative thought about yourself, acknowledge that you're having a negative thought, and replace it with a positive or neutral thought.
Validate yourself instead of seeking validation.Putting the pressure on other people to validate you and make you feel good about yourself puts you in a completely powerless situation. Instead of looking for other people to validate you, practice validating yourself.
- Set up a gratitude journal that is focused on the things you appreciate about yourself. Record at least three things every day that you're grateful for about yourself.
- Before you come to someone with a painful story that requires validation, give yourself the validation that you need. This doesn't mean that you stop reaching and connecting with others, it means that you are first off there for yourself.
- Ask yourself what sort of validation you need right now. Ask yourself what will make you feel better, feel more balanced, healthier, and then give that validation to yourself.
Avoid taking yourself too seriously.It's hard to deal with life when every single thing that happens makes you feel the weight of the world. If you have a tendency to talk too much with a person that you're romantically into, don't get down on yourself about it. Instead make a joke out of the situation.
- Things like being a little clumsy, doing something horrifically embarrassing can be a chance to laugh at yourself (kindly).
Let yourself be imperfect.At no point in life are you going to be perfect. That's okay! No one else is either. If you're thinking that you have to be perfect to be lovable, cease that thinking right now.
- You deserve love no matter how imperfect you are, no matter if your hair has a tendency to frizz at the slightest hint of moisture, or if you have a goofy laugh, or braces. None of those things makes you the slightest bit less lovable.
- Also, when you create the expectations of perfection for yourself, you tend to begin applying those expectations to other people, to relationships. It's hard to love someone who is constantly making you feel like you aren't good enough (and that includes you making yourself feel like you aren't good enough).
Enjoy your life.People tend to be drawn to those who are happier and are having more fun with their life. Instead of trying to make yourself or your life "perfect," start to enjoy the things that are already in it.
- Being lovable is about being open and when you're open to the vagaries of life you're going to be happier than if you shut yourself off or focus completely on trying to make things better.
- Try to find ways to enjoy your job. If it isn't a job that you specifically enjoy, then do your best to build fun things into your workday so that you don't feel so down about it. Make yourself a delicious lunch that you can look forward to, go for a walk in the sun on your break.
- Spend time with your friends. You don't have to do anything particularly exciting, but just hanging out and drinking tea together can rejuvenate you and make you feel happier about yourself and your life.
Learn to be alone.No one is guaranteed a relationship and that's okay, because you don't need a relationship to be happy. Being lovable is all about being okay on your own, loving yourself so that you don't depend on other people to do so.
- Have dates with yourself. Take yourself out for a picnic with a lovely book, or treat yourself to a fancy dinner.
Cultivating Lovable Tendencies
Avoid walling yourself off from love.It can be really easy to wall yourself off from loving other people, especially if you've been hurt in romance or friendships in the past. Being open tends to cause people to be drawn to you.
- The more you love people, the more love you’ll attract to yourself. This doesn't mean that you need to love every single person you come across, but it means not shutting yourself down even after experiencing a difficult romantic or friendship betrayal.
Choose who you love carefully.While you don't want to shut yourself off from love, you should be careful about who you love. Lovability doesn't just come about because you make yourself lovable. It comes about because you pick the people who can love you best.
Set boundaries.It may seem counter-intuitive to create boundaries when you're talking about love, but it's incredibly important. You need to be clear about what you need from a relationship with someone, and you need to be clear about your own needs.
- Put your own needs on the same level as other people's. Your needs aren't more important than theirs but you shouldn't feel like your needs are less important than the people around you.
- If someone cannot give you the emotional support and love that you need, then you have every right not to make them a close, particular friend or lover. Not everyone is going to give you love and you're allowed to need that in a relationship.
Learn to express your need for love in a positive way.Everyone needs love, everyone. Some people might pretend that they don't, it's simply a pretense. Because of this you need to learn to express your need for love in a way that isn't needy, or whiny, or demanding, or controlling.
- Do your best to make the life of the person you are loving life just a little bit easier. Offer them help or a little gift without expecting anything in return.
- Tell people that you love them freely and without expecting anything in return (if they aren't giving you any reciprocity then they aren't worth your time).
Practice kindness towards others.You shouldn't just practice kindness towards people you hope will love you. Make kindness your default way of dealing with everyone, including people who are difficult. Kindness isn't rolling over and taking everyone's ridiculousness, but it does mean that you see people as human beings and worthy of kindness and empathy.
- Practice the “Loving Kindness” meditation. Sit with your eyes close and imagine what you'd wish for your life. Pick three or four phrases to demonstrate your desires (May I be healthy and strong. May I be lovable. May I be happy.). You will repeat these desires, directing them at different people. Start with yourself, move on to someone who has helped you, move on to someone that you feel neutral towards (neither like nor dislike), move on to someone you dislike or have issues with, finish by focusing on everyone.
Take loving action for other people.Being lovable means being kind and one aspect of kindness is helping other people. You can help someone by holding a door for them, offering to carry their groceries, driving your grandmother to a doctor's appointment.
- It also includes speaking out against unkindness. When you see that someone is being bullied, or talked down to, or treated poorly, take action. Step in and explain to the bully why their behavior is inappropriate.
Cultivate gratitude.Being appreciative of the world can open you up in more positive ways than if you shut yourself down. This is especially true when you’re feeling less than happy with yourself or with the world. People are more attracted to people who are positive in their habits.
- Focus on the small things in life. Be grateful for the little things like getting a parking space, and having a few moments to yourself in the morning while you finish your tea. This will help you feel more positive about yourself and appreciative of the world around you.
- Challenge yourself to come up with three things you’re grateful for every single day. If the sun was shining, write that down, if you had a delicious meal with a favorite friend, that's something to be grateful for!
Cultivating Lovable Qualities
Make eye contact with people.Making eye contact with people shows that you see them and acknowledge them as a person. Don't just do it with that really attractive person at the other end of the bar. Acknowledge the checkout person at the grocery store, the person standing in line behind you for the bus, and so on.
- People respond to acknowledgement and it makes them feel good about themselves. The more loved and appreciated you make other people seem, the more love and appreciation you'll be offered.
Smile.There's nothing like having a bad day and seeing the smile of someone you don't even know, or even the smile of good friend. Like eye contact this is acknowledgement and kindness.
- It also makes you seem more approachable when you smile. People often pair approachability with lovableness.
Be social.You don't have to be the center of every single party, but cultivating some good social skills will help you be successful when you're out in the world and meeting people. Eye contact and smiling, obviously go along with this.
- Talk to people at parties. Introduce yourself if you don't know someone and ask them about themselves. People love to talk about themselves and they'll think fondly of you if you seem interested in them.
- Remember that, even if you feel awkward, not only do most other people feel the same way, but they're probably not going to notice your seeming awkwardness.
Listen to people.True listening is a skill that's gone out of style. So often people don't feel like they're being heard by the people in their own life and it's something that most people desperately want.
- When someone is talking to you, make eye contact. Ask questions to show that you're listening, or if you space out for a moment or get distracted, ask for clarification.
Be the kind of friend or significant other you would want.The Golden Rule is a big one here, whether you're religious or not. Doing to others what you would want them to do to you is a great way to live your life.
- Be the friend who is available to help out if needed. Offer your help to move them, drive them to a doctor's appointment or a job interview, and so on.
- Invite your friend or significant other out for something fun. Make them dinner, take them to the movies, and so on.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable.You don't need to make every feeling you ever have clear as a bell to each person you meet and definitely don't bottle it all up because that only makes things harder! Instead, you need to be open to letting the people you care about and trust into your heart and your emotions.
- This is especially important to do if you've been hurt previously. The knee-jerk reaction is to pull away from any possibility of vulnerability due to previous hurt be it emotional or physical, but shutting yourself down and hiding away from this is not going to make you lovable, because you won't be able to let people love you or know you properly.
- The desire to be loved initially may direct you to be subservient to others for them to like you. But being nice to be loved is different from being emotionally available to be easily hurt by others, don't let it all out at once try braking it down only when you feel you need to let something out. Let no one have the audacity to take advantage of your niceness for which you will need to strengthen your defenses, being nice is not weakness it means you care and you have a kind heart. Be witty, have a sense of humor while dealing with imbecile or ignorant ones and free yourself from being used, controlled or influenced for things unnecessary.
To be lovable, put yourself out there and don't be afraid to talk about your emotions. Allow yourself to be vulnerable by being emotionally available and letting the people you care about into your heart. In a relationship, try asking your partner open-ended questions, like “what was your day like today?” Additionally, in any situation, you can be lovable by smiling often and making eye contact, showing them acknowledgment and kindness. The more loved and appreciated you make other people feel, the more love and appreciation you’ll be offered.
- All of these steps take time and effort to put into practice. Don't beat yourself up, because you don't end up being instantly lovable.
- Be a good listener.
- It's okay to say no to something you don't want to do. Just let people down gently and offer an alternative plan if you could.
Sources and Citations
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Video: How to love and be loved | Billy Ward | TEDxFoggyBottom
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