LOVE...we all desire this basic, fundamental need. Feeling a lack of it can cause a myriad of negative emotional effects...depression, anger, resentment, bitterness or a lack of self-worth. This is because we often search outside ourselves for love. From the time we are born, we feel love or lack there of. Scientific research has shown that growing up with a deficit can lead to developmental problems and health issues. But, even children growing up in loving families may feel unloved. If you don't love yourself, you don't have the capacity to fully love others.
We may not be able to control our childhood and upbringing. But, we can begin to take control as soon as we realize it is possible. Love is a lot like water filling a bucket. You must continue to fill it because of evaporation; and, if you have holes in your bucket, you need to replenish even more.
So, the first step is figuring what's causing the holes in your love bucket and then working to plug those holes. The second step is identifying ways you can fill your bucket. And, while being around people who make you feel loved is wonderful, I encourage you to find ways to love yourself, without outside influence. Some ways you can work on self-love:
Write a list of what you like about yourself. You can take this a step further and write a love letter to yourself.
If something negative comes up, say to yourself, "Even though I don't care for _________, I still love you."
Think of something or someone who makes you happy and what about them or the situation make you feel good. It could be a song, a movie, a place you've been, etc.
Get moving...doing something as simply as some arm circles or stretching changes your brain state and makes you feel good about yourself.
Get creative...this is another way to change your brain state. Color, doodle, make a snowflake...anything to get those creative juices flowing.
Taking these small steps allows your conscious to re-teach your sub-conscious, which is where self-love comes from. It's essentially a program running in the background. If you think of how a computer program runs, you can't just say, "I want that to be different." You must re-write the program. So, you're essentially working to re-write your program of lack of self-love to be one of an abundance of self-love. It takes practice. But, over time, you can change the way you feel about yourself, loving yourself MORE, which also allow you greater capacity to love others.