How To Be Worthy Of Love

“Love is happiness”, a lonely young woman once told me. “Nobody loves me, and I will never be happy until I am loved”.

Do you feel unloved? Do you feel you are  unworthy of being loved?  Have you been abandoned or rejected? Did one or both of your parents leave you? Are you an orphan? A foster child? Or maybe a loner?

Do you feel like you do not qualify to be loved?

I felt this way. I was the middle child in our family. I compared myself to my older brother, who’s a doctor. I went to school to study writing, and felt like a loser. I felt unworthy of love.

When you feel unworthy of love, you reject the love that comes your way. Your emotional sense is ‘I am unworthy of being loved, therefore if you tell me you love me, you are lying’. This becomes a ‘limiting belief’—it blocks out love, denies love to its’ face, says No No No, don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind: I am unworthy of love.

I wanted to be loved, but I didn’t feel worthy. So I set some goals, thinking that when I achieved those goals, THEN I would be worthy of being loved, THEN I would be lovable, —and then I would be happy.

And so then guess what:

  • The stakes for achieving my goals were enormously high—‘succeed or be unloved’. The pressure was suffocating.
  • I was miserable during the journey—because I would not be worthy of love and happiness until i achieved the goal.
  • My rules for success were irrational. I would achieve a goal but then, still feeling unloved, I modified the rules, set a new goal, and slogged on.

‘The joy is in the journey, not the Inn.’ -Cervantes

For most of my adult life, I believed my Dad, who passed away years ago, had never really loved me. I felt he just sort of didn’t really care for me.

Then I found a journal from when I was 19—and guess what? One day, at home, my Dad asked me to hit some tennis balls with him—I said no. So off he went on his own. Later that same day, he asked me to take a walk with him—I said no.

When he left, my Mom confronted me (I’m reading this in my own journal, with no memory of this ever occurring)—my mom confronted me and demanded, “What is wrong with you?!? Your father is so sad. He is depressed, he feels rejected—he keeps trying to reach out to you, and you keep rejecting him, This is affecting his work. What is wrong with you?”

Written in my journal was my defense:  sure he could love my older brother, the Doctor, but not me, the lowly unpublished writer. To my face, my Mom flat out declared that she & Dad LOVED me very, very much, that their love for me had nothing to do with my worldly success, that they loved me just as I was, just for who I am—me—(and besides, she said she’d thought i should be a writer since I was in third grade).

So there was my mom assuring me they loved me. You know what I did as a 19 year old with that information? Wrote it down, forgot about it; and lived several decades feeling unloved. For some reason, my emotional center would not receive that love, receive that truth. I denied the truth to its face and limped off into the lonely sunset.

I found that journal entry just a few months ago, read it and wept. How could I not have received his love? How is it I did the rejecting, then called myself rejected??

Somehow I missed the foundational truth: There is value in each of us, just as we are, we are worthy of love right now—not for ‘what we do’ but for Who we are. We are objects worthy of Love.

What you do is not who you are. Your worth as an individual is INTRINSIC—indelible, integral, built in. It’s YOU.

You are one-of-a-kind, absolutely unique individual. There is literally only ONE of you (see fingerprints for details). God loves his creation, and He loves you very, very much. You may not comprehend that yet. But you can grow to understand it, yes.

The Greatest thing in the world is love. There are people who LOVE you. They may not know how to express their love—or you may not know how to receive it– but believe me, you are loved. You are loved, you are worthy of love. And you are called to love.

If you tried to convince me that no one loved you:

  • First, I would say I don’t believe you.
  • Second, I would point to God and say HE loves you, and you need to know that and receive His love;
  • Third, if you said you didn’t believe me, i would say: Then Go Love others. Be a lover (not sexually, but spiritually). Be a contributor.

Why would I say Go Love others? Because, as Tony Robbins points out, we have 6 needs, and the top three are: Love/Connection, Growth, and Contribution.  By loving others you will fulfill those needs in yourself.

Matthew Barnett says, “Find a need an fill it. Find a hurt and heal it.”

Don’t know how to do that? That’s ok—you will learn. Be a Giver. Find a cause! Help people! Love them! Give to others the love you wish you felt. By doing so, you will be deeply fulfilled. And by the way—you’ll discover that you are deeply loved, too.

Which will make you very, very happy.


Dirk Mullenger

Raised in NY, college at University of Iowa, year abroad in Paris. Tight with my wife and 4 children. Business, writer, guitarist, skier, drives a convertible. One person’s hindsight is another person’s foresight.

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12 Discussion to this post

  1. Rebecca says:

    This is such a great and honest post. I love it. Everyone is loved, sometimes we are just blind to see it. I use to feel unloved when I was really unhappy with myself, but since Ive started having more confidence and started loving myself I have discovered that actually I am loved and have always been loved. X

  2. Sarah-Beth says:

    Dirk, your story brought me to tears. It is just simply so relatable, and so common in all people, no matter the situation. We are so hard on ourselves that we completely miss what we have been aching for. And my gosh, you are such a talented writer. You truly have the ability to make others feel. The arts deserve so much more credit than they are given, and I’m so glad you shared your story!


  3. Dirk says:

    …sorry i made you cry, Sarah-Beth! –thanks so much for your good words & compliments. Coach John Wooden once got a very complimentary introduction as a speaker. He stood up and said to the guy who introduced him, ‘I trust the Good Lord will forgive you for exaggerating, and forgive me for enjoying it so much.” And you’re right–we are hard on ourselves. …i’m still trying to accept your compliment. :}

    Thanks Sarah-Beth! love & hugs to you!

  4. Courtney says:

    this story is so relevant to me right now. My family is really hurting right now and its hard on 3/4 of us. My brother the other 1/4 doesn’t show his emotions until it all comes pouring out, which makes it really hard because he doesn’t know how to handle it. I try when this happens to stay out of it because it will create conflict but somehow I in trouble for not helping. Then I get called stupid and idiotic and it makes the burden bigger and bigger until I cant hold it any more and then I just want to give up. But God being a provider helps me and strengthens me!
    I went on a Christian camp for 5 days about 2-3 weeks ago and I went in expecting God to show me something because 3 years before that God did and I got baptised. During the worship sessions I found God but I couldn’t focus on him. One day our speaker said he was going to let us worship God and he had sectioned off the room with a prayer area and Gods area. Although I didn’t go in Gods area his presence was still strong in me. I found myself crying because of Gods strength opposite from where I sat 3 years before that. God showed me he is good and I am forever thankful for his love.

    • Dirk says:

      Courtney thanks for your note and sharing your heart, I’m so sorry you’re going thru challenging times, but so glad you have God in your life. You’re right–He is good, He is your Father, He loves you and by keeping your eyes on him and your heart open to His love, he will fill you with his mysterious peace and guide you in your relationships. I’m praying for you right now, Courtney. Stay grateful and keep your eyes on Him. Hugs & Love to you & your family.

      • Courtney says:

        Thank you so much.
        Just yesterday we got a text message from my grandma to say my uncle has passed away.
        Thank you for your prayers
        please also pray for my aunty as she is now a single mother with 1 toddler a baby and a little girl who has just start school.
        Blessings Courtney

  5. brit says:

    Screw publishing (Pardon my Swiss ;)…)!!
    Ever since that article about how you raised your daughters, I check back here at LEAST once a week to see if you’ve posted anything new.
    Anybody can write. Pretty much anybody can write a half-hearted, interesting post. Very, VERY few people can take their soul, their “essence”, and manage to have their fingers spit it out into words. Not many of those people are given the gift of taking something as ordinary as words, set them on fire, and have their every emotion, their every thought, and take the readers back in time to allow them to experience the memory first-hand.
    You have that gift.
    Keep writing, Dirk. Eventually someone (with the power to make those unfulfilled dreams come true) will find you.

    • Dirk says:

      Oh Brit, whew….i’m kind of choked up here reading your words, thank you so much –i do love writing, i do feel ‘called’ to write, and with similar fervor Nikki told me the same thing–…and yet your saying so with such strength and passion really wove thru my ‘compliment defenses’ and touched my heart….thank you very, very much for your encouraging words. :}

      if there’s anything i can do for you, feel free to ask. [and sorry it took so long to respond here, i just now saw your comment]

  6. Memoona says:

    Superb . Thank u so much drik for letting us realize we were,we are and we ll alwaz be worthy of love. I really appriciate 🙂

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