Causes of Self-hatred
Could it be possible you hate yourself too much?
Self-hatred is more than simply not liking yourself. When you suffer from self-hatred, you’ll constantly put yourself down and feel like you aren’t good at anything. Self-hatred encompasses continual feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and low self-esteem.
My friend, Emma, confided in me that she felt like she never got what she wanted out of her life. She always felt as if she had to beg for affection and had to do what those around her wanted, to feel worthy. As a result of this thinking, Emma often found herself in situations that made her deeply unhappy. She had a dysfunctional relationship with her mother-in-law. She picked fights with her husband. She hated her boss and her job and was quick to lose her temper with her two young boys.
Finally, Emma decided to see a therapist. Her therapist suggested that perhaps Emma was in these situations because she had never learned how to truly love herself. At first, Emma scoffed at the idea, but her therapist encouraged her to explore her relationship with herself before she began trying to fix her other relationships.
When it comes to thinking about relationships, you might immediately think of your relationship with your parents, your spouse, or your children. I’ll bet you never think of having a relationship with yourself! The following reasons tell you why you must have a relationship with yourself so you can live your most fulfilling life.
Now, let’s take a look at what self-hatred is, the impact it can have on your life, and how you can stop it in its tracks.
Self-hatred is basically like having a little bully sitting inside your head. You will experience constant criticizing thoughts, pointing out your flaws and mistakes. Self-hatred tends to develop over time and is triggered by more than one event.
- I’m a loser: When you don’t love yourself, you don’t deem yourself worthy of defending. Maybe this means that you didn’t stand up to the co-worker that lied to you, or you’ve accepted years of your spouse’s verbal abuse. Perhaps you haven’t said no to a “friend” that keeps borrowing money without paying it back or you tolerate a relative that says vicious things behind your back. By contrast, when you love yourself, you rise to your own defense. You’re not afraid to put up boundaries that protect you against your verbally abusive spouse or allow you to stand up to your lying co-worker.
- I’m stupid: Everyone has the occasional off day where they think that they’re stupid, fat, ugly, or worthless. But if these thoughts are on repeat throughout your day or if you’re thinking other unkind things, you aren’t practicing self-love. Instead, you’re creating a neural pathway of hate that becomes reinforced each time you think these thoughts. It’s normal to feel embarrassed or stupid from time to time. But if you’re always replaying all of the ways you messed up, you might struggle with self-forgiveness.
- I’m not as good as…: People who struggle with self-love often compare who they are to who someone else is. Maybe you pass someone on the street and think she’s prettier, smarter, or more put together than you. You see all of her great abilities or strengths and none of yours. As a result, you feel poorly about yourself. Constantly seeking approval and validation from others for your life choices is often a loud warning sign that you don’t love yourself. You already know what you need and want. You must trust that your loving heart is guiding you on the best path.
- I’m Always Wearing Over-size Clothing: Often when you struggle with self-love, this affects your relationship with your body. If you hate yourself, it’s hard to care for your body which is an extension of you. As a result, you may move too little and not regularly exercise or you might subject yourself to a grueling exercise routine. For others, this might look like making lifestyle choices that harm you long-term while giving you short-term relief. These lifestyle choices could include drinking excessively, smoking, or overeating.
- I Let Others Dictate For Me: You’re always worried about what others think. You can’t seem to make a decision unless you’ve checked in with your spouse, best friend, co-workers, in-laws, and a host of other people. While waiting for approval, you don’t let yourself take that dance class or pursue that business degree you’ve always wanted.
- I Don’t Get Enough Sleep: You might be wondering what getting enough sleep has to do with self-love. But if you’re always pushing yourself to the edge of exhaustion and you don’t let yourself rest, pause to ask why. Do you think you have to be worthy of it? Are you trying to “earn” the right to get enough sleep?
- I Never Forgive Myself: You laid awake last night remembering the silly thing you said to the cashier. You thought it was a joke, but she didn’t laugh. Now you’re thinking that you’re so stupid. You forgot to pay the bills again and the water was shut off for a few hours. You forgot your co-worker’s husband’s name at the party last week. If you don’t love yourself, you might struggle with forgiving yourself.
- I Don’t Believe Anyone Can Love Me: When you’re in a relationship with someone you love, forgiveness must be a natural part of it. Forgiveness should be like a river between you, allowing love and compassion to flow freely. If it’s not a healthy relationship based on a foundation of love, chances are high that you will find yourself deeply unhappy in multiple areas of your life.
- I Don’t Eat Healthy Foods: It’s normal to binge on junk food once in a while, and if you’re going through a stressful time, you might find yourself hitting up the drive-thru more often than usual. But if poor eating choices are routine, consider what message you might be trying to send to yourself.
Are you telling yourself that you’re not worth the effort of preparing a delicious, healthy meal for yourself? Are you saying that you can’t choose foods that give you energy and make you feel as if you can accomplish your goals? Are you so convinced there’s simply no time to care for you?
- I Never Treat Myself: When you love someone, you want to do nice things for them. Maybe you always give your spouse a massage after a hard day at work or you put little notes in your child’s backpack. Perhaps you always pick up the phone to listen to a friend when she calls you or you don’t hesitate to step in and help a co-worker who’s running behind on a deadline.
But ask yourself when was the last time you did something nice for yourself. Do you ever simply treat yourself to something lovely for no reason?
If you don’t remember, start thinking about nice things for yourself that you would like. Perhaps you would enjoy a massage at the mall or spend an hour at the beach reading. Maybe you would like a mani-pedi or an evening to binge-watch your favorite TV show. It doesn’t matter what the activity is. All that matters is it feels good to you.
Don’t be afraid to spend time or money on yourself to show love. You’re worth taking care of too and you deserve to be pampered.
- I Never Take Time to Relax: You don’t have to devote hours of your day to a practice like meditation or yoga. But do consider how often you permit yourself to relax. When was the last time you left space on your calendar just for you? How often do you get home from work only to start on another list of tasks? These choices could be caused by overwhelm but, they may also point to the fact that you don’t feel like you can relax.
If you struggle to love yourself, you might be tempted to believe you’re worthy of love only if you’re doing something. You derive your sense of self-worth from your to-do list so the idea of slowing down feels overwhelming.
How Can Self-hatred Impact Your Life?
Although self-doubt is healthy, self-hatred is not. If you struggle with self-hatred, it can have a devastating impact on your life. Often the feelings of self-hatred worsen over time and can lead to destructive behaviors as you try and numb the negative self-talk.
Many people who suffer from self-hatred go on to develop destructive behaviors such as cutting themselves, develop eating disorders or turn to drugs and alcohol. It can impact every aspect of your life including your relationships, your career, and the friends you include in your life. You may also stop caring about the things you used to enjoy and avoid things that make you feel better.
The impact itself-hatred can have on your life makes it important to treat it as soon as you recognize it, rather than ignore it. The question is, how can you eliminate self-hatred?
Ways To Eliminate Self-hatred From Your Life
There are a variety of ways to eliminate self-hatred from your life.
- Learning how to tame your inner bully is a great first step. So, when you notice that inner voice telling you negative things about yourself, switch it around. Stop those negative thoughts in their tracks and turn them into positive ones. So, if your inner bully says, “you aren’t worth anything,” switch it to “I may feel like I am not worthy, but I know that I am.” The more you counteract the negative with positive thoughts, the more positive your mind will become.
- You can also make a list of all your strengths. If you struggle to come up with some, ask those closest to you. When you focus on your strengths, you won’t be too caught up in your weaknesses.
- Finally, you can work on building up self-compassion. That is, treat yourself the exact same way you would treat a good friend. Would you beat them up for making a mistake? If not, why do it to yourself?
Overall, self-hatred can be a powerful thing to overcome since it builds up over time. But, learning how to go from “I hate myself” to “I will do better tomorrow,” is one of the most beneficial life skills you can have.
So, if you recognize yourself in the signs above, it’s OK. Things don’t have to be this way anymore. You can learn to love yourself. It won’t come easily, but when you do learn to love yourself you’ll be well prepared for whatever else life puts in your path.
“If you don’t love yourself, nobody will. Not only that, you won’t be good at loving anyone else.
Loving starts with the self.” – Wayne Dyer
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I’m Donna SLam, who loves to blog about how meditation brings self-compassion, peace of mind, and clarity to my life and others by sharing tips and strategies to live a fulling and purposeful life. I enjoy championing others to lead a healthy and happy life through meditation, walking, self-development, and spending time with loved ones.
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