Do you often find yourself nitpicking and being extremely critical of yourself, looks, or efforts? Are you in the habit of comparing yourself to others and always falling short? Have you consecutively whispered words of hatred to yourself and found yourself unworthy of being loved? If you have ever felt this way, then you know how frustrating it can be to be plagued by self-hatred.
While it is normal that anyone can be drawn to compare one’s self with another person, self-hatred is beyond mere comparison or rare feelings of inadequacy. It is an intense dislike of oneself; a personal assertion that nothing good can come from you; or a conviction that you are not worthy of being loved.
This mindset is not only dangerous to your mental health, it is also intensely limiting to your growth. It gradually shreds every belief you have in yourself till you are left with nothing but paranoia, inadequacies, suspicions, and insecurities which you eventually project unto people around you.
Interestingly, the journey to self-hatred starts in a day. Yes, contrary to what many may think, no one was born with feelings of self-hatred. It all starts with one mistake, failure at a project, childhood experience, relationship gone sour, mental health disorder, or even a traumatic event; whose hurt and pain are allowed to fester until it becomes a full-blown disease eating deep into your skin.
Are you on this self-destructing journey? Or do you fear that you or someone close to you is at the precipice of self-hatred? In this article, we have listed 7 tips for conquering self-hatred. Read on to find out how!
1 – Forgive Yourself
The first foundation on which self-hatred blooms is unforgiveness. When we are too hard on ourselves, we tend to become our own worst enemy. So, you may have made a mistake in the past. Everyone makes mistakes. So, what is the big deal? Allow the past to remain in the past by forgiving yourself and moving on into a bright future. By all means, learn to show a little compassion to yourself.
2 – Look Beyond Your Imperfections
I have a friend who spent many years allowing what she termed ‘her imperfections’ to rule over her and limit her. Because she often stutters while talking, she made it a point of duty to become tight-lipped in public for fear of judgement. It took years of full realisation, acknowledgement, and constant practice at loving her voice for her to break free from her self-imprisonment. Today, she is the better for it as she keeps excelling in her career.
Many times, we let our dislike for certain attributes of ours rule and limit us. In some cases, these are even attributes that we have no control over. Think about it: you have no control over your physical features, the family you were born into, or even the experiences you had as a young helpless child. But you do have control over how you see yourself and how you let your background and experiences influence your future. So, look beyond your flaws and see how amazing you truly are. Leverage on your negative experiences and create a better life for yourself.
3 – Find Your Triggers
It is often the case that people battling with self-hatred may only know how they feel, but not what triggers their self-hatred. But knowing the root causes of your triggers is key to changing your mindset for good.
A good way to figure out your triggers is to keep a journal recording your daily reflections and feelings for each day; then look for obvious patterns that trigger your self-hatred and consciously avoid those situations.
4 – Practice Positive Thinking
The emotions and thoughts that follow your triggers are never positive. When you find yourself triggered and spiralling down into negative thinking, challenge it with positive self-talk. Stand before a mirror and tell yourself how amazing you are. In truth, your first positive self-talk will be weak and slightly inefficient, but with daily practice, your voice will become stronger until it can conquer your inner critic.
5 – Associate with Positive People
They say ‘bad communications corrupt good manners’. Likewise, good associations can influence good manners. Avoid friends, family, or colleagues that make you feel bad and unworthy of respect and love. Instead, associate with people that believe and see the good in you. No doubt their positivity will rub off on you in due time and help you to break the cycle of self-hatred.
6 – Take Up New Challenges
One good way to eliminate self-hatred is to derive joy and fulfilment from your actions and you can only do this by doing exactly what you have always wanted to do. Go after your dreams and aspirations. Record your successes, whether big or small. This will help you to regain confidence in yourself and ultimately help you conquer your self-hatred.
7 – Get Professional Help
The truth is that not everyone will be able to break free from self-hatred on their own. If all else doesn’t work for you, then seek the professional services of a therapist. This is most often advised for people whose self-hatred stems from traumatic events like accidents or death. By seeking professional help, you gain a new perspective to your past and hasten your recovery from self-hatred.