How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted
**Please read the companion posts too: How to Recognize Love and Feel Loved by Others, and subsequent posts on What If God’s Love Isn’t Enough? and Recognizing God’s Love by Building Your Relationship with Him–Part 1 and Part 2.
Feeling unloved or unwanted is one of the 9 Common Causes of Insecurity that we previously discussed. When we feel loved, we tend to feel good about ourselves. The opposite is true too, and that’s why we can become insecure (click here to read more posts on overcoming insecurity and poor self-esteem and how to realize your true value/worth). There might be several reasons for someone feeling unloved. Below are some examples of the types of people who might sometimes feel unloved or unwanted.
People who might feel unloved–You might see yourself in one or more of these examples.
- Those from a family of divorce
- Those who have gone through a divorce themselves
- Those on the receiving end of infidelity
- Those who have lost a job
- Adopted children
- Those on the receiving end of a breakup
- Those living in a dysfunctional family
- Those from a family of absentee parents
- Those from an abusive home or situation
- Victims of sexual abuse
- Those who have made a lot of mistakes (or feel like they’ve messed up so bad they don’t deserve to be loved)
- Those who have difficulty finding a significant other
- Those who have experienced rejection in any form
An unloved girl in the bible
In the bible, Leah was married to Jacob, but she was not his first choice as a wife. Her father actually deceived Jacob into thinking that he was marrying Leah’s sister, Rachel. Jacob eventually did marry Rachel too, and he favored her above Leah. Leah felt unloved by her husband (and rightly so) which made her insecure and believe that if she gave her husband children then he might finally love her.
“So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”” Genesis 29:32 (NLT)
Come to the understanding that you are loved and wanted by God
People often try to overcome feeling unloved the same way Leah did—by trying to earn it. This didn’t work for Leah, and most likely it won’t work for us either. The best way I know to overcome feeling unloved and unwanted is to come to the understanding and realization that we are loved and wanted by God. No one could ever love or want us more.
When we truly realize that we are loved by God, it will make us love ourselves more. We will feel more secure.
Others should love us too. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter because God loves us! Back to Leah’s story—even though she wasn’t loved or preferred by Jacob, Leah (not Rachel) was chosen by God for the bloodline of Jesus Christ, our Savior. God loved and wanted Leah, and that was a greater love than Jacob could EVER give her.
I have felt unloved and unwanted too
There have been periods of time in my life when I was feeling unloved and unwanted. I didn’t “feel” or understand being loved by God. Fortunately, I grew up in a wonderful, Christian home and was in church all of my life. However, I still couldn’t tangibly FEEL or comprehend God’s love for me. I mean, it’s one thing to say or sing “Jesus loves me”. It’s a completely different story to recognize it. Maybe that was my problem. I KNEW I was loved. I just didn’t recognize it in my life. This happens even in our human relationships. (More on this here…)
Here’s what helped…
I think what helped me was the actual process of spending time with God. The more time I spent reading the bible, listening to podcasts, reading godly literature, the more I began to feel loved. It was a process over time. “Feeling unloved” gradually disappeared. I didn’t just magically wake up one morning and feel loved. Little by little I was recognizing that God really does love me, and He was showing me all the time if I just paid attention.
God will show His love for you in your environment
I see it now in nature. I’m a huge nature lover so this one is big for me. I can walk outside, lay in my hammock look up into the trees and listen to the soft sounds of leaves rustling in the wind, bird songs in the background, squirrels chasing each other and a breeze blowing gently. It’s perfect peace. It’s almost as if God created those moments just for me because I love them so much. I tend to have lots of “nature” moments like this. I feel like He’s showing me that He loves me in those moments. It’s like God knows what I love, and He’s giving me those things as a gift.
God shows His love when meeting your needs
I also see it when my needs are met at exactly the right time. I hardly believe in coincidences anymore. Additionally, I see it when things are going well and when I have favor. Some might call it “luck”. 🙂 I see it in the bad times too. Even when I’m in the midst of trials or sadness or just in a funk, I see God loving me and comforting me through scriptures that give me hope and peace and remind me of His promises. A lot of times He sends someone across my path at just the right time—a phone call, a text, a card. This should serve as a lesson in obedience too. You never know when that random thought about a person is God prompting you to call them or send them a message so that He can show His love to them through you!
God shows His love when He talks to you
The biggest way I feel loved by God though is when I hear Him. It sounds a little strange. I know God’s voice now. Now when I know that God has talked to me, it feels so amazing. Most of the time I feel like a measly peon, but when God takes the time to talk to me and show me things, I feel so significant, important and loved. I often wonder, why would God, the creator, want to talk to me?! It’s because He loves me. David must have had similar feelings…
“I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers. I see the moon and stars, which you created. But why are people even important to you? Why do you take care of human beings? You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalms 8:3-5 (NCV)
Take Some Practical Steps to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted:
- Start to recognize the little things. God orchestrates little things throughout your day—just for you (like my “nature” moments). The little things will grow bigger and bigger. You will feel more and more loved. Eventually, you will feel invincible (okay, maybe not all the time, but it happens—I promise).
- Ask God to show you that He loves you. The bible says “you have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). I asked God to help me recognize it. I think my first prayer might have actually gone something like this:
“Okay God, You know me—I’m a little slow sometimes. I know the Bible says you love me, but for some reason that’s just kind of hard for me to grasp. Can you like throw me a bone or something? I need a little help with this concept here, because I’m totally not getting it. I know you SAY it, but I think I’m going to need you to actually SHOW it to me in a more tangible way. Have you ever heard that song “More Than Words”? That’s an awesome song! That’s what I’m talking about…I think I need something more than words for my pea brain to actually get it. I just need help “getting it”. Can you do that? OK great! Thanks.”
- Pray Ephesians 3:16-21 for yourself. I actually learned about this prayer after my silly prayer above. Here’s what this prayer might look like:
“God, I pray that from your glorious, unlimited resources you would empower me with inner strength through your Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in my heart as I trust in him. I pray that my roots would grow down deep into YOUR LOVE and keep me strong. I pray that I would have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep YOUR LOVE is. May I know and practically and tangibly experience the LOVE OF CHRIST and be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from you. Now I say Glory to God who is able, through his mighty power at work within me to accomplish infinitely more than I might ask or imagine!”
- Keep reading your bible, having your quiet times, and listening for God’s voice. The more you’re in God’s Word and spend time with God, the more you will actually comprehend and recognize that you are loved more than you could ever know. Feeling unloved and unwanted will eventually become a distant memory.
- Lastly, try reading some godly literature to get an understanding of God’s love for you. You might start with this book by Joyce Meyer: Tell Them I Love Them: Receiving a Revelation of God’s Love for You
**Next, we’ll discuss feeling unloved in our relationships. Please read the companion post too: How to Recognize Love and Feel Loved by Others. I’ve also written a subsequent posts on What If God’s Love Isn’t Enough? and Recognizing God’s Love by Building Your Relationship with Him–Part 1 and Part 2.
What makes you feel loved by God? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.
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