Why Do I Hate Myself and How to Love Myself Instead?
You fail an exam, your career takes a nosedive, or you ruin your relationship. The first thought that comes to your mind is: “I hate myself!” You forgot to buy milk, so now you cannot make pancakes for your children. Of course, you prescribe another dose of self-loathing to yourself.
Most of us go about our lives without realizing how much self-hate we bear. However, not being aware of it does not mean it does not debilitate you. It is our beliefs that shape our reality—and hatred is never a good foundation for anything. We will answer the “Why do I hate myself” question, show you how to stop hating yourself, and fall in love with yourself instead.
Read on to learn:
- Where self-hate and self-loathing come from
- How self-loathing affects your life
- How to stop hating yourself
- How to fall in love with yourself
How I Came to Hate Myself
The matter of self-hatred is not a straightforward one.
It is also not new, although social media presents an added source of insecurity.
The most probable reason for why you first came to dislike yourself lies in your earliest experiences.
In the majority of cases, something in one’s childhood made them believe they were unworthy of love.
Most parents try their hardest to provide the best outlook for their children. However, sometimes it does not work out. How you feel about yourself today was impacted by your parents’ words and acts.
If you perceived your parents as rejecting, you would most likely interpret it as: “Something is wrong with me.” It might have been an overt rejection or a very subtle one. In any case, the message that gets embedded into the developing mind is: “I am unlovable.”
The child would then try harder to please the parents and gain their approval. Those attempts would fail every time. It was never the child’s fault in the first place. Nonetheless, with time this belief gets ingrained deeper and deeper into one’s psychological makeup.
Overprotective parenting might cause a feeling of inadequacy, too. Do you keep hearing the phrase “I hate myself” in your mind? It might be because your parents never gave you a chance to prove your aptitude to yourself.
They meant well. However, it resulted in a belief that you are incompetent. Peers often tease and bully children of “helicopter parents.” That does not help the situation either.
However, there is good news. No belief is set in stone. You are no longer that child. You can choose what you will believe now. You can pick self-love instead of self-hatred.
What Does Self-Loathing Do to Your Life?
Regardless of different theoretical approaches or different reasons for feeling self-hate, there is one thing everyone agrees on. When you don’t like yourself, it is an all-encompassing and ever-present attitude. It colors all your thoughts and actions. It will, without a doubt, make you underperform in many areas of life.
The Pygmalion effect is at the roots of the vicious cycle of self-loathing. Our minds seek to find confirmation of our beliefs. It is a psychological phenomenon called confirmation bias. When you hate yourself, you will, unfortunately, search for validation of your unworthiness.
You might not be aware of this process. Yet, it is everywhere.
Take a closer look at your life. How many aspects of it work against proving your self-worth?
What kind of messages do you hear from your friends on a daily basis? Are people in your life supportive?
How often do you end up in relationships that are codependent, abusive, or demeaning?
How often do you withdraw from opportunities out of fear of failing?
Are you self-sabotaging? How many chances to succeed did you miss?
“I hate myself” attitude can lead to serious issues
Studies have revealed that adverse early experience echoes into adolescence.
Teens high on self-loathing often end up self-injuring or succumbing to addictions. They also underperform academically or misbehave to the point of vandalism or delinquency. This, in turn, severely hampers one’s chances of success later on.
Self-loathing is closely linked to depression and anxiety, as well. It is only logical. When you feel you are of little worth, it is hard to have a positive outlook on life. “I don’t like myself” easily translates into “Life is not worth living” or “I cannot cope.”
You do not need to let it get this far. It is in your power to use the Pygmalion effect to your benefit. You can initiate a virtuous cycle as well.
How to Stop Hating Yourself
What to do when you hate yourself but do not want to live a miserable, self-debilitating life anymore? Here are a few methods to try.
Bring your automatic negative thoughts to light
Self-hatred and insecurity are entrenched into your mind so profoundly that you probably do not notice them most of the time. Diffidence influences you just the same. It is reflected in those instant, fleeting thoughts that come to your mind in challenging situations.
The first step to stopping hating yourself is to become aware of these negative automatic thoughts.
You can try journaling about your emotional reactions to a situation.
When you think about the feelings it has evoked, ask yourself what thought was at the root of those emotions. Critically examine those beliefs. Are they based on real-life facts or just your perceptions of yourself? For example, are you really not capable of accomplishing the task or are you just afraid of failing?
Work towards replacing “I hate myself” or “I’m such a fool” with “I choose to be kind to myself today” and “I am able to accomplish anything because I can learn.” This is how you can start regaining control over your convictions about yourself.
Use the power of affirmations
Affirmations are much more than you reciting some cliché lines. How you speak to yourself becomes a reality. Remember the Pygmalion effect? It is powerful because our beliefs become our reality. Now you can use that to your advantage.
Take some time to come up with a few affirmations tailored to your needs. There are a couple of rules for making them effective.
First, they need to be in the present tense. Instead of: “I will be happy,” you need to think: “I am happy.” Additionally, do not use negative forms. Instead of: “I am not insecure,” say (or think): “I am confident.”
The trick is in making your affirmations present the desired outcome as if it were happening already.
Repeat them whenever you remember to do so. Ideally, whenever you notice an automatic thought from our previous advice. With time, your mind will reprogram, and eliminate the outdated version of your beliefs.
We spend half of our waking time on auto-pilot. This is an unfortunate state to be in, in general. When your auto-pilot is one that will fly you straight into a wall, it is of the essence to turn it off.
Mindfulness is a great tool when you want to grasp what is going on within yourself. Mindfulness is a practice through which you learn to be in the present moment. You stop dwelling on past mistakes or fearing the uncertain future.
It also teaches you not to be judgmental of yourself and your experiences. Overall, mindfulness is a practice with a positive impact on well-being and health.
Through practicing accepting awareness, you will learn to recognize self-hatred. You will start noticing where it leads your mind and body. Mindful non-judgment will help you get out of the self-criticism loop.
You do not need to commit to a formal meditative routine. Learn a few simple exercises you can do anytime and any place. They will take you a long way toward abandoning the relentless self-condemnation.
Give yourself plenty of self-compassion
Your parents might not have been warm enough. Or, your classmates were very mean, so you came to hate yourself. For one reason or the other, you did not learn to be kind to yourself. It is never too late to start being considerate to yourself, though. You can be your own parent now. You can teach yourself a new self-image.
All people with low self-esteem are fairly unsympathetic towards themselves. However, nobody is perfect. Practice self-forgiveness. Beating yourself up and feeling horrible because of your mistakes has little point. Instead, learn from them.
Become your own cheerleader. Treat yourself as you would a loved one or a small child. Mind your language, and do not speak harshly to yourself. You would not say to your child that they are a failure, would you? Provide yourself with some constructive criticism instead of self-loathing.
Surround yourself with reminders of your worth
When we firmly believe in something, we are blind to the evidence of the contrary. Now it is time to use the confirmation bias to your benefit. To reprogram your mind, display the proof of your worth.
Surround yourself with things that remind you of your accomplishments. You can sprinkle them around your home. Alternatively, dedicate a special corner to a presentation of everything you did right in your life. Think of things great and small. You will be amazed by how many such things you will think of, once you get rid of the old mindset.
It can be your diploma or the first job contract you signed. Do you have friends who are appreciative of your presence? Put photographs of them on your desk. Ask them to write a note to remind you how great you are. If you have children, you are achieving great things daily. Acknowledge that.
Search your childhood memories. You are bound to find many achievements there. If your mind is too set on finding the negatives, go back to the basics. You did not give up on learning to walk, swim, or ride a bike, did you? You were persistent. Recognize that.
You can also make a scrapbook with snippets of your achievements. Go back to it whenever you catch yourself fault-finding. Celebrate how well you did in life.
Commit to a greater cause
A powerful way to beat self-hatred is to move your focus away from yourself for a while. Committing to a greater cause has manifold rewards. First, you are making a difference in the world. Your actions could end up changing someone’s life for the better.
Does your mind instantly go to harsh self-criticism when you think about yourself? Then, it is for the best to focus on something else. Temporarily, at least.
The psychiatrist Carl Jung extensively explored the paths towards healing neurosis. He suggested that the key is in stepping away from the painful preoccupation with oneself—and what better way to do that than to contribute to a collective good?
Finally, there is a (desirable) side-effect of volunteering or contributing to your community. Self-gain is, by definition, not the primary motivation for any kind deed. Still, it does not miss to show. The healing potential of giving is not to be disregarded. You will start seeing the results of your dedication. It will become hard not to see your worth and continue hating yourself.
Speak to a therapist
Many of the causes of your self-hate might be evading your attempts to comprehend them. So, speaking to a psychotherapist might help.
A skilled connoisseur of the human psyche will lead you through the process. You will understand the causes of your insecurity, and see its consequences clearly. Ultimately, you will heal from self-loathing.
A Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®) therapist can help you quickly and permanently get out of the “I hate myself” mindset.
RTT® is endorsed by the National and International Council of Psychotherapists and the International Association of Complementary Therapists, plus the International Institute of Complementary Therapies.
You can book a call to connect with one of the RTT® experienced and effective therapists who specialize in healing self-hatred. RTT® is globally recognized as a form of therapy that delivers fast and permanent results for a myriad of issues, including self-hatred.
I Am Enough
A concept developed within RTT® that is vouched to transform the way you see yourself is I Am Enough. Marisa Peer has noticed that almost all her clients’ issues stem from their belief that they are not good (smart, capable, beautiful) enough.
Over three decades of working with clients all over the world, she concluded the number one thing that blocks us from happiness and success is the belief or feeling that we are not enough.
She designed a ground-breaking technique. It helps people suffering from anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, weight issues, or simply feeling low about themselves.
Marisa utilizes hypnotherapy aimed directly at changing your “I hate myself” belief into “I am enough!”
During hypnosis, you will slip into a state of profound relaxation. Your defenses will loosen. Thanks to that openness of your mind, the root cause of your self-hate gets revealed. You can then let it go, and adopt a new, empowering self-image instead. This approach has proven to be successful even when all else has failed.
Fall in Love With Yourself—Right Now
Your self-loathing was not built in a day. You probably spent your entire life focusing on (and seeking confirmation of) the misconception that you were not good enough. “I hate myself” has been your mantra for decades. However, it is within your reach to eradicate this inner enemy of yours. You can live any kind of life you choose. So, why keep choosing a mediocre or a miserable one? Change, and do it right now to wake up a new person tomorrow.
Alternatively, book a call with an RTT® certified therapist who specializes in healing self-hatred.
And remember—you are enough!