You’re hard to love.

Those who have never heard those four simple words don’t know the pain, judgment, and neglect of feeling unlovable. Whether a partner says those jarring words in the heat of an argument or during a tearful breakup, believing that you’re unlovable cuts like a knife.

Questions fill your head: What do you mean? How am I hard to love? Do you think I can’t be loved at all?

You doubt yourself and your abilities as you analyze every single hurtful incident from your past. But here’s the truth about those whose partners have labelled them as “hard to love.”

You’re hard to love because you’ve walked through more than your fair share of painful experiences. You’ve used your painful past to build a wall to protect yourself from hurtful words.

Someone you loved betrayed your trust and left you alone. Your pain became a promise to yourself to never let partners get that close to you again out of fear that they’ll hurt you.

You’re hard to love because you’ve beaten yourself up over insecurities and negative self-talk.

You’ve always believed that you aren’t good enough for yourself, let alone for someone else. You fear falling short of others’ expectations.

Your anxiety never leaves you, especially because you believe that anyone else is a better match. You unknowingly let your self-doubt push you further into a sinkhole of despair with no sign of light.

Or, maybe you’re hard to love because you aren’t going to settle for less. You refuse to lower your standards, and you know what you deserve.

Your expectations may seem reasonable to you, but others may think that they aren’t realistic. You have a life plan, so you need to have a partner who meets your lofty expectations.

But regardless of your feelings or other’s words, you are not hard to love. And just because someone has painted you with a bad brush, does not mean that you don’t deserve happiness or will never find romance.

You aren’t “too broken” for someone to love you. You also aren’t “too selective” — you’re just protective and confident. You are easy to love, but you attract love from the wrong people.

The right people won’t care if you feel like you’re a mess. Instead, they’ll accept you, help you, and encourage you any chance they get. They’ll love you through your anxiety and misery and will always do their best to ensure that you won’t feel that low again.

If someone told you that you’re hard to love, don’t let those words torment you anymore.

There is no exact quality that makes someone hard to love; there are only excuses for people who don’t know how to care for others.

After all, someone who loves you will overlook your flaws. But please know that, despite your life story or emotional baggage, you deserve love and happiness.

Even if someone has told you that you’re unlovable, never forget that you are lovable and you deserve the best.