Self-Hatred: Why We Hate Ourselves and How to Stop It
We all have something that we would like to change or improve about ourselves. Maybe it’s about the way we look or our appearance, the sound of our voice, or even our personality traits.
It is perfectly normal to dislike certain aspects of ourselves, but what isn’t is hating ourselves too much, to the point that it is making us feel worthless.
What is self-hatred?
Also referred to as self-loathing, self-hatred refers to the feeling or belief that you are not good enough. It is usually marked with extreme self-criticism, feeling as though that nothing you do is enough or you don’t deserve the good things in life.
Self-loathing can involve finding fault in everything you do and putting yourself down, or being your own bully.
Self-hatred can negatively affect the way you see the world, as it may cause you to ruminate about your failures and minimize the positives in your life. It can also cause mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. It can also be a symptom of the latter and certain personality disorders.
Video therapist can help you deal with negative thoughts, especially those that lead to self-hate, and learn to be kind to yourself.
Why do I hate myself?
Do you often wonder or ask, “Why do I hate myself?” Several factors, which could include your upbringing and experiences, can affect how you feel about yourself.
It is helpful to identify where these feelings are coming from, so you can get unstuck from thinking this way or get over some of these emotions.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Growing up in a toxic environment increases your likelihood of having self-esteem issues, anxiety, or depression. This is especially true if you are neglected, ignored, and rejected by your parents or the adults around you. These problems can persist in adulthood or even make you think that such behaviors are normal.
The same can also happen if you have uptight parents or those who make you feel that you’re a bother or a nuisance. If the people around you believe that there is something wrong or embarrassing about you, you can carry that belief into adulthood, which can also lead to anxiety or low self-worth.
Constantly failing to reach the standards you set for yourself can be due to your unrealistically high expectations. The sad part is setting the bar too high for yourself or for anyone else to achieve can only lead to disappointments or feelings of being not good enough. It can negatively affect your mental well-being and pave the way for self-loathing.
Comparing yourself to others
It is easy to compare your life to others, without realizing that we all have flaws and shortcomings. Social media have made it worse, due to the endless stream of content that reminds us that others are leading a “better” life than ours. The truth, however, is these are heavily curated and edited; they don’t necessarily reflect reality.
It can get a bit complicated with upward comparison, which refers to having the tendency to only value or notice those who are doing or performing better than you. This can then cause you to devalue yourself with self-loathing statements.
There are also cases where you may develop feelings of inferiority, which may lead to anxiety or depression.
We all have an inner critic that can aid with our survival and help shape our sense of self. But sometimes, this inner voice can be so harsh, causing you to highlight your faults and constantly put yourself down. If you mindlessly engage in negative self-talk and listen to that voice, you are giving it more power, causing you to believe that all those thoughts are true, even when they’re not.
Lack of social support
When you have no one in your life to support you in times of distress, it can only strengthen your feelings of self-loathing. The absence of meaningful and healthy relationships can also make it difficult for you to feel valued, loved, accepted, and cared for.
Having no one to depend on in troubling times can make you more vulnerable to feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and low self-esteem.
You may still be feeling guilty of or responsible for something that has happened a long time ago. The sad part is self-loathing or continuing to punish yourself cannot change the past. The only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and move forward.
How to stop hating yourself
If you feel like you’ve become your bully, you can still change your ways. Here are some things you can do to stop hating yourself and develop some self-compassion.
Find out what prompted your self-hatred
The first step to overcoming hating yourself is finding out why you feel this way. What triggers those emotions? When does self-loathing usually enter into the picture?
Journaling or writing down your thoughts and feelings can help with this process. This can also reduce anxiety and lessen feelings of distress while helping you find out the underlying cause of your self-hatred.
Journaling also allows you to examine your thoughts and emotions throughout the day. It can then help you find out what triggered feelings of low self-worth and self-loathing. Knowing what prompted those feelings can help you find healthy coping techniques.
Challenge your inner critic or negative self-talk
Taming your inner critic can be difficult, especially when your state of mind is generally negative. One helpful thing you can do is to identify and acknowledge those thoughts, instead of ignoring them. Then, ask yourself whether they are based on facts or whether your friends and trusted loved ones would agree with what you’re saying about yourself.
You can also give your inner critic a goofy name or persona. This will help you realize how silly and unwarranted most of these thoughts are, which can make them less threatening.
Another way to challenge your negative thoughts is by shifting your perspective or looking at things from another angle. The same is also true for talking to yourself the way a compassionate friend would speak to you.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
Self-loathing can make you feel unloved or that no one wants to spend time with you. The sad part is isolation can only fuel feelings of loneliness, negative thoughts, and self-hatred. This only makes it important to tap into your support system and surround yourself with compassionate people or those who lift your spirits.
You might be surprised how simply talking about your feelings can improve your mood or the way you think about yourself.
Having a strong social connection can also lessen feelings of distress, while also making you feel recharged, loved, valued, and accepted.
4. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion refers to accepting all your flaws, mistakes, negative thoughts, and failures. It also includes understanding that this messiness and imperfections are all part of being a human.
Self-compassion also means being kinder to yourself, which also brings the benefits of making you more compassionate towards others and improving your resiliency.
You can start practicing self-compassion by treating yourself the way a trusted friend or loved one will do. Would you reproach or criticize when they’re having a hard time or say words of encouragement?
It is also important to remind yourself that we all make mistakes, and those actions don’t define you. Cut yourself some slack and get better at understanding yourself.
5. Seek professional help
If you have been struggling with self-hatred for a long period of time, it is recommended to consider online therapy on such platforms like Calmerry or see a mental health professional in-person. The same is also true if you think that your self-loathing is due to trauma or painful experiences in the past.
A licensed therapist can teach you to challenge negative self-talk and feelings of self-hatred.
By seeking professional help through therapy, you can identify the root cause of the issue or where your self-hate comes from. This is beneficial in developing tools and strategies on how to stop hating yourself and managing those unwarranted beliefs and thinking patterns.
Talk therapy also helps guide you towards self-compassion, healing, and restoration. It’s also beneficial in navigating life’s challenges whether or not you have a mental illness.