- 9 Steps to Hating Yourself a Little Less
- Step 1: Learn how to say “no”
- Step 2: Stop masturbating all the damn time
- Step 3: Expose the hate
- Step 4: Forgive people, including yourself
- Step 6: Let yourself fail
- Step 8: Both your positive and your negative self-talk is bullshit, so stop engaging in it
- Step 9: Take the most important ambition or failure in your life and go ask a four-year-old what they think about it
- I Hate Myself: Why Self-Hatred Occurs and How to Stop It
- The Critical Inner Voice and Self-Hatred
- “How does self-hatred affect my daily life?” – The Effect of Your Critical Inner Voice
- “What can I do to stop hating myself?” –How You Can Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice
- Read about How to Stop Hating Yourself Once and For All
9 Steps to Hating Yourself a Little Less
I know what you’re thinking. You saw the title and said to yourself, “Who does this guy think he is? Hate myself? Does he know how good-looking I am? Has he even seen my bitching new haircut? Does he know I once trained for a half marathon and actually ran part of it? I’m totally in love with myself. What the fuck does he know?”
Look, I admit, your hair is pretty awesome. But let’s get real here. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we all have a little self-loathing going on from time to time. OK, maybe a lot of self-loathing going on, depending on the degree of trauma you’ve sustained, and how many episodes of Teletubbies you were subjected to as a child.
But here’s the good news, self-hatred is just part of the human condition. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with you because you intensely dis or feel ashamed of certain unsavory aspects of yourself.
Everyone does. Even Oprah has to hate herself some of the time, I’m pretty sure. And I’m no exception either, of course.
After all, I’m writing a listicle for a website — I must hate some deep, dark corner of myself.
We all have dreams we’ve failed to live up to, ideals we’ve failed to embody, actions we wish we had or hadn’t done, ways in which we wish we could be different. This is normal. And we all must deal with these parts of ourselves that we don’t exactly .
Some of us deal with it through avoidance — we sleepwalk through life, never making any serious decisions, following others, and avoiding all difficult tasks or confrontations. Some of us deal with it by numbing ourselves with sex or substances or obsession or distraction.
Others try to overcompensate by trying to save the world and bring about a utopia and maybe start another World War in the process.
The goal here isn’t to get rid of that self-loathing. The only way to do that would be to remove our consciences and/or become psychopaths. And we don’t want that.
I also don’t recommend suppressing your self-loathing, or else you might end up shooting up a nightclub in Orlando.
No, the solution is to merely minimize our self-hatred by first becoming aware of it, and then learning how to mold it and shape it and control it. The goal here is to manage our disappointments with ourselves, so that they don’t end up managing us.
That’s why this article is called “How to Hate Yourself Less,” not “How to Stop Hating Yourself Forever and Ever and Be God’s Perfect Fucking Snowflake.” There is no perfect fucking snowflake. I lived in Boston, I’ve seen a lot of snowflakes. None of them are perfect. And even if there was, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be it.
So, let’s get on with it. Here are nine steps to hate yourself less and learn how to manage your self-loathing better so that you don’t turn into a manic-depressive or, even worse, a religious nutcase that runs around with signs that say “GOD HATES FAGS” on it.
Step 1: Learn how to say “no”
The more you hate yourself, the more you will try to please and impress the other people around you all the time.
After all, if you secretly believe that you’re a rotten piece of shit, then it follows that you will overvalue what other people think of you, and you will unconsciously dedicate all of your efforts to manipulating them into thinking you’re not the awful person you secretly believe you are.
The word “yes” gets a lot of hype these days, but I want to bring back the power of saying “no.”
Saying no is pretty awesome when you know when and how to say it right. You say no to doing a bunch of meaningless shit that you don’t think is important in life. You say no to people who overstep their boundaries and make unfair demands of your time or attention. You say no to make it clear to others where you stand and what you will/will not tolerate in your relationships. No is awesome.
Saying these nos is difficult, of course. That’s because the ability to say a healthy no requires a certain degree of self-respect and self-care. But saying no to the people and things that harm your life rather than help is often the first step to learning how to love and care for yourself.
Oh, and of course, you learn to say no to yourself too, to discipline yourself and keep yourself in check, to remind yourself that you don’t, in fact, know everything or even know what the hell you’re saying or doing half the time. This is such an underrated skill, yet it seems to be lost these days in the “give me one of everything” age.
Oh, and while we’re saying no to ourselves….
Step 2: Stop masturbating all the damn time
No, I don’t mean stop diddling your special parts. Although, if you’re doing that 15 times a day, you may want to cut down on that a bit as well.
What I mean is masturbation in a more figurative sense — all of those superficial, self-pleasuring habits you indulge in on a regular basis.
Whether it’s eating eleven too many desserts, or staying up until 4AM trying to rank up in League of Legends, or lying to your buddies and telling them you totally banged that hot blonde last Saturday when really, you just got so drunk that you passed out in a fetal position in the backseat of your car.
These are all petty, insignificant self-indulgences. And it’s hard these days. No, not your cock — resisting giving into them is hard. Because they do feel good. For a little while. But their meaninglessness will eventually consume you.
There’s this really weird chapter in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich where he talks about how Thomas Edison refused to have sex or something and that’s how he came up with 10,000 patents. I don’t know, it made very little sense, but the idea was that sex releases energy that could otherwise be directed towards more productive and useful endeavors.
I’m not going to go that far, as I polishing the old knob as much as the next guy. But I think the real lesson here is to learn how to self-regulate your self-indulgences. Again, it comes back to knowing when to say no to yourself. Make these indulgences the cherry to your life’s cupcake. Not the cupcake itself.
(And no, you may not eat the cupcake.)
Step 3: Expose the hate
Usually the things you hate most about yourself are the things you hide from the rest of the world. They are the things that you believe will cause people to reject you and hurt you and point and laugh at you.
But these fears are often unfounded. Because often the things we hate about ourselves are the very same things everyone else hates about themselves. It’s a game of poker where everyone thinks they have the worst hand and is afraid to play because they’re convinced they’ll lose, so everyone just hides their cards because they’re embarrassed.
The irony here is that love is most often achieved by finding someone sexy that embraces and even adores those deepest, darkest aspects of you, and you embrace and even adore the deepest, darkest aspects of them. What I’m saying is, you gotta share that shit in order to heal it, son.
Opening up to the worst features of ourselves, and admitting and sharing them, brings about the best trust and intimacy.
That is, of course, assuming you’re willing and/or able to forgive people and/or yourself.
Step 4: Forgive people, including yourself
Forgiveness gets a lot of airtime, but in a culture as punitive as the US, it doesn’t feel as though many people actually, you know, practice it.
Forgiving means recognizing something sucks and still loving the person (or yourself) despite it.
How does one do that, exactly? Recognize the good intentions or at least the ignorance behind most evil/bad/undesirable actions. For instance, most people don’t do bad shit because they’re evil, they do it because they don’t know better or they wrongly believe they’re justified. Often it helps to remember your own failures and ignorance when forgiving someone else for theirs.
And this is why dealing with your own self-hatred is so important — the less you’re able to recognize and accept the parts of yourself that you don’t , the less you’ll be able to forgive and let go of the wrongs of others. And the more of a raging, judgmental asshole you will be.
Step 6: Let yourself fail
Your self-love is not proportional to how you feel about your successes; your self-love is how you feel about your failures. A person who loves and cares for themselves does not have an overwhelming need to do everything right or perfect or correct the first time.
On the contrary, they’re more than willing to get dirty and mess up because they understand that this is where true growth and progress comes from.
Step 8: Both your positive and your negative self-talk is bullshit, so stop engaging in it
Here was a big life-changer for me: realizing that if all of the nasty and horrible things I said to myself about myself were untrue, then all of the amazing, badass things I told myself about myself were probably untrue as well.
The fact is, you don’t really know what’s true about yourself or how you measure up to the world. The fact is, your brain sucks and it can’t be trusted. The fact is, you aren’t that special, and that’s probably a good thing.
Being special creates unreasonable expectations, and unreasonable expectations creates an extra special variety of self-loathing.
Step 9: Take the most important ambition or failure in your life and go ask a four-year-old what they think about it
They’ll ly giggle and ask you to pretend you’re a tree and play horsies with them. And their response will be totally appropriate and correct.
Because whether you’re trying to cure cancer, discover cold fusion energy, or make it to the bar when it opens to resume your downward spiral of day drinking, you’re still human, and you still have the ability to connect and empathize and play with the life given to you. And four-year-olds have an amazing ability to remind you of that.
Cindy doesn’t give a shit about your life plans.
I guess what I’m getting at with all these steps is developing a healthy practice of humility.
Yeah, humility. How often do we hear that word thrown around these days?
Because the common denominator of all self-hatred is an outsized sense of importance — you either think everything about your life is the worst thing ever, or everything you do must be the best thing ever in order to compensate. And none of the above are true.
Cindy, the four-year-old, gets that. That’s why she asked you to be a tree. But instead you’re hiding your flask and trying to explain to her how you’re going to solve global warming on the back of a cocktail napkin. But just shut up for a minute and be a tree.
I Hate Myself: Why Self-Hatred Occurs and How to Stop It
For most of us, the expression “you are your own worst enemy” holds a lot of truth. It’s a painful reality that much of what limits us in our lives is our own feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred. “I hate myself” is a fairly common thought.
But where do these feelings come from? How do they influence us? And how can we push past them to live a life free of the harsh attitudes of our inner critic?
The Critical Inner Voice and Self-Hatred
In their research, psychologists Dr. Robert and Lisa Firestone found that the most common self-critical thought among a diverse population of subjects tested is “You are different from other people.
” Most people see themselves as different, not in some positive or special way, but in a negative sense.
Even people who seem well-adjusted and well-d in their social circles have deep-seated feelings of being an outcast or a fraud.
This feeling about ourselves is common because every person is divided. As Dr. Robert Firestone has described, each of us has a “real self,” a part of us that is self-accepting, goal-directed and life-affirming as well as an “anti-self,” a side of us that is self-hating, self-denying, paranoid and suspicious.
The anti-self is expressed in our “critical inner voice.” The critical inner voice is an internal coach negatively commentating on our lives, influencing how we behave and how we feel about ourselves.
It’s there to undermine our goals: “Who do you think you are? You’ll never be successful!” It’s there to undercut our accomplishments: “This won’t end well. Sooner or later you’re going to mess up.” It’s there to sabotage our relationships: “She doesn’t really love you. You shouldn’t trust her.
” It’s even there to criticize those close to us: “Why does he even hang out with you? There must be something wrong with him.” Finally, this voice can seem self-soothing, coddling us yet encouraging us to act in ways that our self-destructive, then punishing us for messing up: “Go ahead, have that second piece of cake.
You’ve had a rough week you deserve it.” Later, it will fire with comments : “You’re such a fat loser. How could you mess up on your diet again?”
While it may seem unnatural to view ourselves through this outside lens, we all possess this critical inner voice. For many of us, this thought process is so engrained that we hardly notice when it arises. Instead of recognizing this voice as the destructive enemy that it is, we mistake it for our real point of view, and we believe what it tells us about ourselves.
“I hate myself” is a sadly common critical inner voice that people of all ages struggle with. Where then, do thoughts these come from? What Dr. Robert and Lisa Firestone have found in their research is that these thoughts originate in negative early life experiences.
The way we are viewed growing up and the attitudes directed toward us shape how we see ourselves. Harmful views directed at us by parents or other influential caretakers are internalized to make up our self-image.
Just as our parent’s positive attitudes toward us may lead us to develop self-esteem and confidence, their more critical attitudes can promote just the opposite.
The point here is not to blame parents. However, it’s important to realize that no parent, or person for that matter, is perfect. Parents face a difficult struggle when they have children, as painful feelings arise from their own past.
They may therefore react inappropriately or critically toward their children in moments of stress. Moreover, the critical feelings parents have toward themselves often come across to their children and are then internalized by the child.
For example, if we had a parent who often acted we were a nuisance, constantly quieting us or even just feeling tense in our presence, we may take on a feeling about ourselves that we are a bother.
We may become overly shy or apologetic in our adult lives, quieting ourselves in our careers or taking a submissive position in our relationships.
“How does self-hatred affect my daily life?” – The Effect of Your Critical Inner Voice
As adults, our critical inner voice impacts us in a variety of ways. We may adapt to it by treating it a coach and listening to its destructive advice.
When it repeatedly tells us we are worthless, we may choose friends and partners who treat us as if we are worthless. If it tells us we are stupid, we may lack confidence and make mistakes we wouldn’t make otherwise.
If it tells us we aren’t attractive enough, we may resist putting ourselves out there and seeking a romantic relationship.
When we listen to our inner critic, we give it power over our lives. We may even start to project these critical thoughts onto others. We run the risk of starting to perceive the world through its negative filter. This is where paranoid and suspicious thoughts enter the picture, as we start to question or criticize people who see us differently from how our voice sees us.
For example, we may struggle with positive acknowledgment or feedback, as it contradicts the ways we perceive ourselves. We may have trouble accepting love, as we fail to challenge our inner critic. While this voice is painful, it is also familiar. It’s been engrained in us since early childhood, and we therefore often struggle just to recognize it, much less challenge it.
“What can I do to stop hating myself?” – How You Can Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice
To stop our cycle of self-hatred and live free from imagined limitations, we must learn to challenge our inner critic. Overcoming our critical inner voice is the first step in a process of differentiation described by Dr. Robert and Lisa Firestone in their book The Self Under Siege.
The book describes the four steps of differentiation, starting with breaking with the destructive thoughts and attitudes you’ve internalized toward yourself. Voice Therapy is a process that can be used to help people identify and challenge their critical inner voice.
The process involves developing insight into the sources of these critical thoughts, then answering back to these attacks with a more compassionate and realistic point of view toward yourself. The next step is to challenge the destructive behaviors that the critical inner voice encourages you to engage in.
The second step of differentiation involves challenging negative traits in yourself that are imitative of your parents or other important figures in your development. If you had a bossy or demanding father, for example, you should try to challenge ways that you yourself are controlling in your life.
The third step of differentiation involves giving up the patterns of defense you formed as adaptations to the pain you experienced in your childhood. We may have formed these defenses as a form of protection as children, but these thoughts and behaviors can hurt us in our adult lives.
For example, if you felt intruded on as a kid, you may have grown up seeking isolation or keeping to yourself for fear that you will be intruded on by others. You may thus avoid close relationships or harbor fears of intimacy. When we hold on to destructive adaptations from our past, we tend to suffer from lower self-esteem. We may struggle to feel our true selves when our actions are so heavily influenced by our history.
Thus, the final step of differentiation involves figuring out your own beliefs, values and ideals. How do you want to live your life? What are your aspirations for your future? When we separate from our inner critic, we are far better able to get to know our real selves and to lead our lives with integrity.
We can take actions and steps that reflect our wants and desires, which gives our lives unique meaning. As we pursue this goal of becoming our true selves, we may experience an increase in anxiety or an influx of critical inner voices.
However, if we persist in challenging this internal enemy, it will become weaker and we can free ourselves further from feelings of self-hatred and start to live a more fulfilling existence.
Read about How to Stop Hating Yourself Once and For All
critical inner voice, self-critical thoughts, self-deprecation, self-esteem, self-hate, self-hatred