“I hate myself” is a thought that is more common than it should be.
There are many people walking around with feelings of self-hatred and unworthiness, making the phrase “you are your own worst enemy” ring true, unfortunately.
This is a painful reality, but what is the root cause of the feeling?
What is the real answer to the question, “why do I hate myself?” And how can you stop it?
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Why Do I Hate Myself?
“I feel like I am different from others and not in a good way.”
This was the most common statement when a group of researchers tested some subjects for their familiar self-critical thoughts. Most people see themselves as different but not in a positive way.
The number of likes and friends on social media didn’t mean so much, as there were still feelings of being an outcast. Each person has a critical inner voice. This voice expresses the anti-self part of us, which exudes self-hatred, suspicion, and paranoia.
This critical inner voice is ever-present to comment negatively on our lives, influence our behavior, and inspire feelings of low self-esteem. You find yourself being more accepting of negative thoughts such as “you can never be successful,” and “you are not good enough for anyone.”
This inner voice also encourages you to act in self-destructive ways while blaming you for it when you give in. You go from “eat as much cake as you want, you deserve it after a stressful week” to “this is why you will always be a fat loser, you can’t stick to a diet.”
As weird as it sounds, we all have this critical inner voice. It goes unnoticed most times as we hardly recognize it as a destructive enemy.
It has become so ingrained in our consciousness that we mistake its points for the real thing and believe all the negative words it says about ourselves.
How Self-Hatred Affects Your Daily Life
Your critical inner voice impacts you in several ways. When it repeatedly tells you that you are worthless, you decide to choose friends and partners who treat you like you are worth nothing.
If it tells you that you are stupid, you may lack confidence and make mistakes that you would not otherwise make.
If it tells you that you are not attractive enough, you start to resist the urge to go out in search of an excellent romantic relationship.
When you listen to your inner critic, you empower it over your lives. When these negative thoughts become overwhelming, you may start to project them onto others. At this point, you view the world through a negative lens.
This is where suspicious and paranoid thoughts come into the picture, making you question or criticize people who see you differently than your voices. In this scenario, you could find yourself struggling with positive recognition or feedback, as it contradicts how you perceive yourself.
You may have trouble accepting love since you cannot challenge your inner critic. While this voice is painful, it is also familiar and a huge pain.
How to Stop Hating Yourself
How can you stop the thoughts of self-hatred that creeps in? How can you reduce or eliminate the influence of self-hatred?
Here are some great ways to stop it.
1. Pay Attention to Your Triggers
The first step in addressing any problem is to understand its root. If you are struggling with severe self-hatred, it can be helpful to sit down with that feeling and try to identify where it comes from.
The first step is to consider what might have caused these feelings. Even though you have heard it a million times, a journal will be handy here.
Try to sit at the end of the day and take a mental walk through your day. Write about the people you spent the day with, how you reacted to your different activities during the day, and what you did.
If you prefer not to write, you can use voice recordings.
You can also just reflect for a few moments on the events of the day. Keep an eye out for the common patterns that occurred throughout the day. This will help you identify what triggers your negative thoughts.
Once you have identified this, you can work to find ways to avoid or minimize them.
2. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Sometimes, self-hatred comes when you’re not in a good place to reflect. When this happens, try to have an internal conversation with yourself.
When this thought creeps in: “I hate myself,” you can reply right away with “why?”
Whatever the answer is, try challenging that thought as well.
Say to yourself, “that is not true.” Then think about the reasons why this negative thinking is wrong.
Coping with your thoughts can be daunting. It can also be a great idea to imagine someone else combatting these thoughts on your behalf. Think of that constant figure in your life or your favorite superhero.
Then, imagine them going in and stopping those negative thoughts. Simply challenging these negative thoughts helps reinforce the idea that self-hatred is not an undeniable fact or truth; it is an emotion.
3. Practice Positive Dialogue
Self-hatred often comes at a time when you have no compassion for yourself. If you have a period when you feel good, try writing a list of what you like about yourself.
You may not be able to think of anything at first, but don’t panic. Start by thinking of things you don’t hate about yourself. Perhaps you have a meal you know how to cook best or take excellent care of your pet.
Keep this list somewhere you can have easy access to every day. When self-hatred thoughts arise, stop, take a deep breath, and say one of the items on your list out loud.
4. Reframe Your Negative Thoughts
This is a therapy technique that is quite common. It is used to address self-hatred and negative thoughts.
It is usually done simply by changing your thoughts to a slightly different perspective. It may involve thinking about the advantages even in a bad situation or considering frustration in a new light.
Here, you train your brain to focus only on the positive. Instead of saying a statement like, “I’m so bad at speaking publicly,” you could rephrase the statement to, “I don’t feel like I spoke well today.”
Yes, it is a small change. But it takes an all or nothing statement and reframes it as a single instance.
With this, the negativity would not feel permanent. This shows that messing up is only at that instance, and it means you accept that you can do better next time.
Anytime you feel like saying, “I hate myself,” shelve the thought and think of a little way that you can rephrase that statement to make it more positive.
5. Spend Time With People That Make You Feel Happy
Most times, self-hatred comes with the intense desire to isolate yourself. You may feel that you shouldn’t be around your friends or family, or you may feel that no one wants to be near you.
The negative internal dialogue encourages you to believe that withdrawing from social situations is the best action. However, this is counterproductive.
Connecting with others is a significant way to dispel negative thoughts as it helps you feel better about yourself. When you are with people you can easily share laughter with, you are more in tune with an environment that makes you feel valued.
You can combat negative thoughts of self-hatred by spending time with friends or relatives. Take a short walk together, watch a movie, or just go for coffee.
You have no one to contact? Consider talking to others who face similar problems online. There are several online groups for people dealing with a variety of problems.
6. Do Not Hesitate to Ask for Help
Remember, you are never alone on your mental health journey. There is always someone who has been where you are at one time or another.
Most people need a little help getting through tough situations of self-hatred. It is a good idea to seek the help of a mental health expert.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help from professionals. It is one of the best ways to learn to manage your self-hatred and negative internal dialogue.
I urge you to feel more confident in your body. As you pursue this goal of discovering your true self, an increase in critical inner voices and anxiety is a high possibility.
However, you must not give up on challenging this inner enemy. No matter how much the negative thoughts of self-hatred come in, be more resolute in confessing your love for yourself.
With time, this voice will become weaker, and you will be able to free yourself from these feelings. You can then open the door to a more fulfilling existence.
Learn to Love Yourself
- 30 Ways to Practice Self-Love and Be Good to Yourself
- 17 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself and Be Happy
- How to Love Yourself More
Featured photo credit: Allef Vinicius via unsplash.com