Do you love the person that you see in the mirror?
Can you view that person with empathy for the bad decisions that they’ve made?
What about kindness for their shortcomings and when they didn’t do their best?
These aren’t easy things to do.
So many of us enter adulthood with this mental image of what we want our lives to look like. We have goals that we want to accomplish to build our dream life. But life is hard, and it doesn’t always work out the way we envisioned.
Maybe the opposite is true. Perhaps you grew up around unkind people who regularly made you feel small or not good enough. And because of those feelings, you can’t treat yourself with much kindness or compassion because they made you believe that you don’t deserve it.
Far too many people hate who they become. They look in the mirror and don’t see a person doing the best they can with the hand they were dealt.
They see someone who is a failure who messed up big time and let opportunities pass them by. Maybe they didn’t take as good care of themselves as they should have. Maybe they let their mental or physical health slip. It could also be that they did make all the right decisions but didn’t like where that road led them.
You don’t have to live in that mental space if you hate yourself. There are ways to push back against those negative feelings, so maybe you can see the person in the mirror with more loving eyes.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you work through the hate you have for who you have become. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. Ask yourself, “Do I actually hate myself, or do I feel this way because of circumstance?”
Self-hatred can have several root causes. Typically, it’s not something that arises solely from a person’s perspective of themselves. It’s usually rooted in other circumstances that may have affected self-esteem or caused one to question themselves. It may also be rooted in past trauma like surviving child abuse or abusive relationships.
You can better form a strategy to handle your self-hatred if you can pin down where it started. Let’s look at some examples.
Your partner cheated on you.
A partner cheating on you can be devastating to your self-esteem and self-worth. People who are cheated on often blame themselves for not being enough or too much. “If only I wasn’t this, if only I wasn’t that, they wouldn’t have cheated on me.”
Well, maybe, or maybe the person who cheated made a bad decision to be dishonest. They could have broken up with you first, but they didn’t, and that has nothing to do with how good of a person you are.
Your parents abused you.
Many people don’t realize how devastating child abuse can be as the child grows into an adult. Parents who were unkind to you, forced you to earn their love, or constantly told you that you weren’t good enough can severely damage your self-esteem.
You may hate yourself because you were constantly told you weren’t good enough or worth loving. But, again, that’s not your fault. They weren’t healthy people, not that you weren’t worth loving and accepting.
Your mental health complicates things.
Mental health issues are hard to deal with. They make it difficult to achieve the kinds of things you want to have in your life. Even worse, they can severely impact or completely derail your plans for yourself. As a result, it is so easy to fall into the trap of hating yourself for what you couldn’t do.
People often need to mourn the person they thought they were or wanted to be but lost because of their mental illness.
The good news is that you can always plot a new course, find better people to surround yourself with, and accomplish bigger and better goals.
2. Accept yourself. Love yourself for who you are.
“Oh, it’s just so simple! Just accept and embrace who I am!? Why didn’t I think of that!?”
It’s not simple or easy. Accepting who you are is to love all parts of yourself equally, including the parts of you that you don’t like. People often get confused by such statements because so many people equate love to positive, bright, happy feelings. But love is so much more than that. Love also encompasses the negative within reason.
It’s easy to love someone when things are going well, and they’re all bright and shiny. Much more challenging when life is kicking you over and over again.
You don’t have to like negative qualities about who you are. Instead, love them. Embrace them. Tell yourself, “These are a part of me, and I can do better with them.” Whatever those things may be. Don’t deny it. Don’t run from it. Instead, sit with it and embrace it.
Everyone has things about them that they don’t like. What you do about it is what matters.
3. Start doing the best that you can with what you have.
Are you doing the best you can with what you have? Unfortunately, most people don’t just start out being great at doing what they want to do. It doesn’t matter if that’s playing the piano or loving yourself. Sometimes we need to learn the skill and develop it to improve.
Loving yourself and dispelling self-hatred is a skill. And the only way you’ll get better at it is to start with what you have and look for a way to move forward.
Of course, you will not be good at it at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. The important thing is that you start trying to do the things that will help you put your pieces back together.
4. Avoid or replace negative self-talk.
We are often our own worst critics.
Make a mistake? I’m such a dumbass. Why would I do that!?
Not meet a goal? Of course, I didn’t. I’m not good enough to accomplish my goals.
Lose a relationship? I’m unlovable. That’s why everyone seems to leave me.
Negative self-talk is one of the quickest ways to drive down your opinion of yourself. But it’s kind of a chicken and egg situation. Which came first? Is my negative self-talk the result of the way I perceive myself? Or is the way I perceive myself the result of my negative self-talk? Whatever the answer, it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is changing that habit.
Listen, many people go on and on about how it’s important to be positive. They’re not entirely wrong. However, suppose you’re the kind of person who sees life and yourself through a negative lens. In that case, you’re having a hard time finding the real positive. If you can’t be positive, just try to not be negative. If you find yourself tearing yourself to pieces, try to disrupt the thoughts by replacing them with more positive affirmations.
Instead of, “I can conquer the world!” you can use something less intense like, “I am a capable person.”
5. Learn to identify and disrupt negative spirals.
Negative thoughts and self-hatred can easily spiral out of control if they are left to their own devices. All it takes is one little thought, then you start focusing on that thought, then those thoughts start spiraling further and further. You may find yourself dwelling on that negative thought, looking for more reasons to confirm it, and just riding that rollercoaster straight down into the hole of depression and self-loathing.
Instead of doing that, you want to try to disrupt the process before it really takes off. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, find something else to distract yourself with for a little while. Do something that will require your mental attention. Do puzzles, play a game you like, watch some comedy, or anything else that will pull your mind onto a new track.
Don’t worry if you don’t get it right immediately. It may take some time to realize that you’re having negative thoughts about yourself. You may not be able to totally break the initial response of negative self-talk. But the sooner you identify the situations where you have those kinds of thoughts, the easier it gets to stop them.
6. Identify and work on the parts of yourself that you dislike.
Self-improvement is a worthwhile long-term goal. Everyone has things about them that they dislike that can be improved upon. It might be eating healthier, getting more exercise, setting some goals, or whatever else you can find that would help you feel better about yourself.
The great thing about this method of self-improvement is that you don’t necessarily have to make massive gains to feel better about yourself. Instead, just the effort can reaffirm that you are worthy and capable of good things.
Don’t let limiting beliefs dictate what you can and can’t do. Instead, dig into it, try it, and see what you can do with it. And if it doesn’t work out at first, try again. Try different things. Look for a way to pivot with the new knowledge and experience you’ve gained.
7. Replace self-punishment with self-care.
One way you can shift your self-perception is to replace self-punishment with self-care. When you realize that you are being unkind to yourself, immediately replace that behavior with some acts of self-care.
So, for example, a person who self-harms to punish themselves may instead want to go out and get some exercise or use an ice cube to try to mitigate those feelings.
Any self-punishment you can replace with self-care will help you shift your mentality and coping abilities.
8. Spend more time with positive people.
The people we spend the most time around dramatically affect our mental health. Try to spend more time around positive people.
The more time you spend around negative people, the further down it can drag your own mental health. Negativity is infectious, so spending a lot of time around negative people will put you in a worse mood, translating into more negative thoughts about yourself.
The time you spend with positive people can help lessen those negative thoughts. Being able to smile, laugh, and have a good time helps boost the feel-good chemical production in your brain. Of course, it won’t be a singular fix, but it can help.
9. Journal out your thoughts and feelings.
Journaling is a powerful tool that can help you process your thoughts and feelings. Getting them out of your head and onto a page can help you stop ruminating on them. Unfortunately, for some people, those negative thoughts will stick in their heads and circle unless they do something to break the cycle. Journaling is that thing.
There are a lot of different ways to journal. We recommend a pen and paper. Handwriting forces you to slow down and analyze your thoughts as you put them to paper. That forces you to activate different parts of your brain that you wouldn’t normally use while talking or typing. Plus, when you talk or type, you can move much faster than your thoughts, so you’re not getting as much opportunity to process those thoughts by themselves.
It’s a bit different when talking to another person and processing that way. But journaling is something you can do in the privacy of your own home on your own.
10. Look for a way to pivot with what you’ve already learned.
Firstly, what is a pivot? To pivot is to continue on a general path but choose a different direction, building on the knowledge and skills that you already have. It’s a commonly used term in entrepreneurship and small business. Sometimes, an initial idea doesn’t work well, but some other idea is working.
For example, let’s say you were to start a general restaurant serving various food. Still, you find that your cheeseburgers do exceptionally well. In fact, they’re doing so well that they make up most of your sales. In that case, you could drop the other items from your menu, add some more burger offerings, and pivot to being a burger joint. You’re still a restaurant, you’re still using the same skills required for running a restaurant, but you’ve pivoted to where the profit is.
The same thing is true for finding greater happiness with yourself. Maybe you went to college for a career that you did not like. Well, what other ways can that education be used? There are many ways you can pivot with a college degree into other related jobs. For example, philosophy is a common undergraduate degree for law school because it contributes to looking at information from multiple angles and formulating arguments.
You don’t necessarily have to abandon all the work that brought you to where you are. However, a pivot may help you get closer to losing that self-hatred and finding something that will bring you some more peace and happiness.
11. Realign yourself with your own values.
There are times when we inevitably get pulled from the path we want to walk. One way to become easily dissatisfied with yourself is to try to live following the values of others. You may not view life in the same way that others do. If you have a different moral compass or values, you will have a hard time liking yourself if you don’t respect them.
Consider what’s important to you. Are you living in alignment with those values? Why not? And if not, what can you do to better bring yourself back into line?
A common way for people to get pulled off course is through relationships. There are many people out there who are afraid of being alone. To not be alone, they sacrifice important parts of themselves to be in that relationship. Sacrifices in relationships inevitably happen. Both partners need to accommodate and compromise to make the relationship work.
However, some compromises can’t be made. For example, you can’t really compromise on values and life perspectives. That doesn’t end well for anyone because you just resent the other person and hate yourself for not being true to yourself.
12. Seek out help from a trained professional.
There’s a good chance that these feelings you’re having are a symptom of some other issue. For example, it could be temporary problems you’re going through now or past trauma that has shaped how you perceive yourself.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to explore your feelings with a mental health professional to get to the root of the issue and address it. You may find that these negative feelings about yourself and your life dissipate by addressing those deeper problems.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
You may also like:
- What To Do When You Hate Yourself: No Nonsense Advice
- How To Avoid Becoming What You Hate: 7 Highly Effective Tips
- 11 Symptoms Of A Self-Loathing Mindset (+ How To Overcome It)
- 8 Effective Ways To Stop Negative Thoughts From Taking Root In Your Head
- 4 Things To Do When You Don’t Care About Yourself
- 26 No Nonsense Ways To Truly Value Yourself
- How To Respect Yourself – 10 No Nonsense Tips