In part 1 of the blog, we discussed how having a inner self critic and your early childhood experiences can have a significant effect on how we see ourselves and how this can contribute to hating ourselves.
Bullying can also have a huge effect on how we see ourselves. Have you ever experienced bullying? Perhaps during your school years or at work, you may have even had an ex who made you feel small and belittled you. The comments made by others can contribute to how we in turn see ourselves. If we hear something enough, we may end up simply believing it. Another culprit for our self-hate may be that you have unrealistic expectations. This can be due to trying to achieve things way out of our limits and setting the bar a little too high and then when we do not complete such tasks we feel like a failure. Whereas if we realise, we should not try to run before we walk things would be a little simpler right?
Overall, this feeling of never being good enough can take its toll on our mental health, creating the perfect opportunities for self-loathing and self-hatred to rear its ugly head. And this is only made worse by social media when we spend our time scrolling through feed of people looking a certain way or acting a certain way this makes room for upward comparison noticing all the people who are preforming better than us and in turn, we devaluate ourselves.
So, we have mentioned some of the reasons why we feel the way we do but, how do you overcome self-hatred? We mentioned in part one of this blog they key was to love ourselves but what else is there?
Challenge negative thoughts
Being stuck in spiral of negative thoughts only add fuel to the fire in Psychology these are called cognitive distortions. These inhibit our ability to see clearly and for what they really are because, the reality is, thoughts are just thoughts. And just because you think it doesn’t mean it’s a fact. So, asking yourself simple questions can really help you stop the spiralling out of control and is a good step in challenging this self-hate. Questions such as: is this definitely true? Do I have evidence for this belief? Are there any hard facts?
Spend time with people who lift you up
We all experience negative feelings about ourselves from time to time. But, if left to fester this is when issues can occur. So, surrounding yourself with people around you who lift you up rather than tear you down can really make a difference. Social connection is possible one of the most human things we can do, if spent among the right people this can leave us feeling recharged and valued. Your family or friends might remind you of how strong, resilient and wonderful you truly are. Accept any compliments they give you with open arms, do not question what people say or “oh you have to say that, you’re my mum” response, because they would not say it if it was not true.
Ask for help
Possibly one of the most important steps you can take is acknowledging you need a little help. It can be extremity overwhelming having to cope when thoughts like ‘I hate myself’ are buzzing around your head. Sometime you just need a little support here, the therapists role would be to figure out where sense of self-hatred comes from, and they will gently guide you towards a place of self-love, compassion, acceptance and healing.
Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.
Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (2002). Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence?. Journal of research in personality.
Ussher, J. M., & Perz, J. (2020). “I feel fat and ugly and hate myself”: Self-objectification through negative constructions of premenstrual embodiment. Feminism & Psychology, 30(2), 185-205.