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Combating Self-hatred

Self-hatred is described as a person talking to themselves in a hateful way. / Photo by: darkbird via 123rf

 

Most people would be familiar with the saying “you are your own worst critic.” For some people, their self-criticism may be harsher than others. Verywell Mind describes self-hatred or self-loathing as a person talking to themselves in a hateful way. It may also mean an intense dislike of one’s self.

A person who is experiencing this has a mind that keeps ridiculing them and shaming them. They may feel like they cannot escape from the cruel inner critic.

 

Causes

Several factors can trigger a person to feel self-hatred. These include:

Having impossibly high self-expectations

Due to the desire for acceptance, a sense of belongingness and to do things successfully, a person may place unattainable expectations on themselves. An individual’s inner critic may highlight one’s disappointments and setbacks, causing them to generate statements of self-hate.

Trying to fulfill others’ expectations

In order to relate to others, they realize that they may have to conform to other people’s expectations. Through socializing, they may have learned that the only way to keep themselves happy is to keep everyone around them happy. This is an unhealthy mindset that may cause them to develop dependent behaviors.

When they are unable to meet everyone’s expectations, they may feel disappointed in themselves. In failing to meet those expectations, they may feel like there is something wrong with them or that they are unworthy of being loved.

Being a perfectionist

Someone who is a perfectionist is a person who demands perfection from themselves, sometimes of others too, all the time and under any circumstance. This mindset was developed to shield oneself from pain and feelings of detachment.

Perfectionists believe that as long as they do things well, they can keep themselves from getting hurt and from feeling other negative emotions such as loneliness, shame, feeling judged and feelings of abandonment.

 

 

Traumatic experiences

People who have an intense hatred of themselves may have gone through physical, emotional and sexual abuse, or may experienced neglect as a child. Their self-hate statements may have been induced by a romantic partner or a parent who constantly told them degrading statements about themselves.

Upward comparison

When an individual experiences self-hatred, they may also be inclined to engage themselves in upward comparison, or the inclination to acknowledge or take note of those who are doing much better than them.

 

Signs of Self-hatred

According to Hack Spirit, these are the indicators that a person is experiencing

1. Not aiming too high to avoid failure

Someone who is suffering from feelings of extreme hatred may also be extremely afraid of failure. To be able to protect themselves from failing, they may set goals that are too low.

2. Apologizing too much

They may also feel that they have to apologize for the smallest errors that they commit. Excessive apologizing may be an indicator that they are uncomfortable with failure and makes them appear as if they think everything that happens is their fault. This also shows that they have low self-worth.

3. Using criticism as the only motivation

Motivation can come in many forms and “tough love” is one of them. An individual who loathes themselves too much may feel that if they do not use criticism to motivate themselves, they may not be driven enough to spring into action. For instance, to push themselves to lose weight, they may keep reminding themselves that they already too fat.

However, this kind of motivation is unhealthy because it causes them to worry excessively and develop anxiety.

4. Being jealous of others

They may constantly compare themselves to others and may always feel that they can never be as successful as others. This habitual comparison may lead them to having a low sense of self-esteem.

 

An individual with self-hatred may constantly compare themselves to others. / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123rf

 

5. Using social media as a way to validate themselves

They may also be regularly checking their social media accounts and emphasize all the best things they have.

“If you’re living your life for likes and views and forgetting about your real relationships, then you’ll be unhappy in the long run,” Lachlan Brown, author of 7 Signs You’re Self-loathing and Don’t Even Realize It, warns. Although social media helps people stay connected to each other, it may become a tool that merely feeds a person’s ego.  It can make them become too preoccupied with their appearance and constantly worry about their online reputation.

The increase in self-esteem that comes from getting a positive response from their social media is only temporary and they find themselves trapped in a loop of constantly seeking the validation of their online friends.

6. Being unable to accept compliments

Someone who has developed self-hatred may also have a hard time accepting compliments or believing them. They may feel that there are other underlying reasons for their compliments other than genuinely expressing appreciation.

7. Being afraid to fall in love

Those who have extreme feelings of self-hatred be scared of falling in love because it requires them to expose how vulnerable they are. Since they have difficulty accepting their imperfections and other weak parts of themselves, they may also be afraid of giving part of themselves to someone.

 

How to Overcome Self-hatred

A person may conquer their self-hatred by doing the following:

Learning self-compassion

Most of the time, an individual who is dealing with self-hatred may find it easy to be kind to others, but may struggle with being compassionate to themselves. To those who are used to listening to their inner critical voice, they feel that they could never be kind to themselves or be confused with the idea of self-compassion.

They are advised to face their failures and other shortcomings with a personal understanding and by being gentle to themselves.

Stop using statements that promote self-hate

When a person always bombards themselves with negative statements about their skills and their value, they may come to think that these are facts. To be able to fight against these self-hate statements, they must try to find where these stem from and challenge them. This should be done so that they could easily identify which statements are facts and which ones come from feelings.

They have to allow themselves to no longer use these statements. They must realize that even though they have been used to these self-hate statements, that does not mean that they need them or that they are helpful.

Identifying strengths

Individuals are also advised to take a moment to identify their strengths. If they struggle with determining their strengths, they may ask people close to them such friends and family members about their good qualities or use online tools like internet surveys to help them assess their personal strengths.

 

Accepting compliments is one of the ways that will help an individual overcome self-hatred. / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123rf

 

Accepting Compliments

Since a person experiencing self-hatred tends to have a negative perception of themselves, they may feel uneasy when someone else compliments them. They may negate the compliment by belittling themselves or try to downplay the compliment.

Rather than dismissing the compliment or responding to it by putting themselves down, replying with a simple “thank you” would be better.

Forgiving themselves

Those who have a profound hate for themselves may actually be living in the past. They may often dwell on the painful circumstances they experienced in the past, as well as keep replaying harmful emotions they have felt such as embarrassment, anger, guilt, and powerlessness. They would struggle to forgive themselves if they only keep focusing on their past.

They are advised to learn to live in the present, dwell on their achievements and how far they have come as well as to forgive and accept all their flaws. This will help in reducing their self-hatred and increase their self-compassion.

Overcoming one’s inner self-critic may feel challenging and may take time, but if they learn to release themselves from self-hatred, they may feel happier, more peaceful and have healthier connections in their life.

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