Self-Loathing: Why You Hate Yourself and How to Forgive Yourself Instead
I have been a chronic self-loather. I have been the biggest hater of myself. I’ve said things to myself that even my worst enemy wouldn’t say.
I would only reward myself if I felt I deserved something. I would subconsciously punish myself because it was my conditioned response to poor behavior.
I told myself…
- I don’t deserve people’s love because I have faults.
- I don’t deserve to have fun because I haven’t worked for X hours.
- I don’t deserve any off-time because I haven’t made X dollars yet.
Even telling you about this makes me feel ashamed. But I have to tell you that you’re not alone in your self-loathing. For you, it may be different, but in one way or another, you probably hate yourself too.
Self-hatred or self-loathing is a grown-up thing. You weren’t born with it. You develop it as you grew up.
If you can learn self-loathing, you can also unlearn it. But before you do that, you must understand how it manifests.
Why Do I Hate Myself?
The root cause of self-loathing is a lack of self-worth, which leads to low self-esteem. The core belief is that there’s something wrong with me. I’m not enough, so I need to fix myself.
So then, where does a lack of self-worth come from?
Self-worth is innately yours, but it gets depleted as you grow up. Self-hatred grows in your childhood. Your parents create the underlying self-talk and expectations from you. You experience traumas that break you down further. To protect yourself, you become a perfectionist and start to please everyone.
Then, society destroys the last bit of inner power left in you. You compare yourself with others. Jealousy and envy become your default emotions. Social media makes it worse where the same patterns become stronger.
Your self-esteem gets tied down to the social hierarchy. You try to impress even more people to climb up the social ladder. As you do that, you distant yourself more and more from your inner self.
- Addictions and attachments
- Depression and anxiety
- Performing and achieving to please others; burning out till the point of exhaustion, wearing social masks
- Staying mediocre and safe; self-pity, guilt and shame; being a victim (not choosing greatness and becoming a better version of yourself)
- Poor self-talk; self-sabotage; lack of self-care
- Poor relationships
- Low self-esteem covered with a big ego (insecurities covered with narcissism, known as a self-loathing narcissist)
As you do those things, self-loathing keeps on rising. You pity and hate yourself more. Do you see how this self-destructive cycle keeps on repeating itself?
The good news?
You can break out of this toxic loop. At first, it may be hard. But stick with me here, I know you can do this.
How To Stop Hating Yourself
Here are the five ways to stop the self-loathing so you know exactly what to do when you hate yourself:
1. Heal Your Relationship With Yourself
“That is really what radical forgiveness is all about — that people can feel better about themselves, accept themselves, love themselves more, and know that they are perfect just the way they are.”Colin Tipping
The opposite of self-loathing or self-hatred is self-love. So before you do anything else, you must heal the relationship with yourself. Self-love includes:
- Self-awareness: Being able to recognize thoughts, emotions, and feelings that arise.
- Self-acceptance: Being able to accept every part of yourself.
- Self-connection: Being able to connect with your inner child, masculinity, femininity, and your higher-self.
- Self-forgiveness: Being able to forgive yourself unconditionally.
- Self-understanding: Being able to nourish your traumas and faults.
- Self-compassion: Being kind towards yourself (not to be confused with self-pity).
- Self-respect: Being able to respect yourself and stand up for yourself.
- Self-care: Being able to create boundaries and take care of yourself.
- Self-trust: Being able to trust the power within you fully.
- Self-improvement: Becoming a better version of yourself out of devotion.
Healing takes time and awareness. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Create standards for yourself. What will you tolerate or no longer tolerate from yourself?
Your past mistakes no longer define you as a person. What happened to you, what you did or did not do, isn’t who you are now. As soon as you decide to be a new person, you’re not your past-self anymore.
If you want to love yourself, you must let go of self-blame, shame, guilt, pity, doubt, judgment, numbness, exhaustion, and perfection. When they arise, replace them with self-love over and over again.
According to psychiatrist David Hawkins, guilt and shame are at the lowest vibration on his spectrum of human consciousness, which ranges from the primitive at zero to enlightenment at one thousand:
Shame comes from the feeling that you’re flawed and worthless. You don’t like yourself when you feel shameful.
Guilt comes from the feeling that you’ve done something wrong. Guilt can sometimes be useful if it helps you spot poor behavior as you forgive yourself. We’ll talk more about building your best self later in the article. But if your guilt comes from trying to meet unrealistic expectations, you’ll keep hating yourself.
Self-forgiveness and self-acceptance are the antidotes to guilt and shame. Forgiving yourself lets you make peace with something wrong you did. Accepting yourself lets you make peace with who you are.
2. Heal Your Relationship With Others
“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.”Shannon Alder
Once you’ve started healing the relationship with yourself, you can begin healing your relationship with other people, who are nothing more than an extension of you.
People are like mirrors. When you judge people, you judge yourself. So when you love yourself, you love “others” as well. Similarly, when you don’t forgive someone, you hurt yourself.
Love and forgiveness go beyond “right or wrong” and “good or bad”. They let you understand, heal and let go so you can move on with more love in your heart. But not every person should be in your environment.
So stop trying to fit in everywhere. Don’t be in the scarcity mode where you believe nobody else will love you. Choose or create a good social environment that can give you the love, help, and support when you need it. And be willing to do the same for them while managing healthy boundaries.
You must let go of blame, comparison, resentment, hatred, anger, jealousy, and envy. Social media is one of the biggest triggers of such emotional patterns. So be mindful when you use it.
Be kind and forgiving, but don’t please others. Be vulnerable and courageous, but know when to let go. Take full responsibility for everything, but don’t try to control people. Ultimately, your personal power and freedom are in your hands.
3. Live According To Your True Nature
“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self acceptance opened.”Shannon Alder
You are a gift to the world. You are unique because no one like you has come before, and nor will someone like you will ever exist. All your weaknesses, strengths, talents, and skills are part of your uniqueness.
Now all you have to do is choose greatness every day. Your limitless potential is ready to be actualized. But if you want to actualize it, you must take your own path. Your path only becomes visible to you when you live according to your nature.
These days, it’s harder than ever before to find yourself and be yourself. You have so many people telling you who you should be, what you should want, and what you should do.
Don’t take any advice like you take orders. Most people are so accustomed to taking orders that they outsource decision-making to others. Listen to all, but take your own advice by connecting with your higher self. You can derive infinite wisdom from within yourself.
The more you listen to your higher self, the easier you can connect with it. Because as you head towards your path, you become more natural. When you know yourself more, express yourself authentically to further increase your self-knowledge. Self-expression leads to self-awareness, which leads to your true self.
When you’re aligned with your nature, self-growth also becomes natural because that’s what all living beings do. All plants and animals grow and mature. Nature takes care of your physical growth, but your spiritual growth only happens when you live according to your true nature.
4. Build Your Best Self With “Virtue Battles”
“Accomplishments don’t erase shame, hatred, cruelty, silence, ignorance, discrimination, low self-esteem or immorality. It covers it up, with a creative version of pride and ego. Only restitution, forgiving yourself and others, compassion, repentance and living with dignity will ever erase the past.”Shannon Alder
Your real self-worth comes from the kind of person you are becoming. The best version of yourself has all the character traits and values you wish to embody. It has dominated all the wickedness within you. Your job is to bring yourself closer to your highest self.
To identify the undesirable traits in you, notice when you feel guilty. Then separate the behavior from your identity so that it doesn’t turn into shame. Do the same when you judge others to identify more undesirable traits possessing you.
To identify the good traits you want, think of your role models and the highest version of yourself. You can have all the traits they have if you’re willing to do the hard work.
It’s not enough to think about your highest self. You must build good character traits and let go of the vices one day at a time. Become the person you can respect. Self-esteem would rise and self-loathing will drop automatically.
I do “virtue battles” every day. On one side, I have the virtues I want my unconscious mind to embody. On the other side, I have the vices I want to let go of. At the end of each day, I reflect on the battle. I decide the winner based on whichever side dominated the day.
Every morning, I prepare my mind to win by praying to myself. That’s one of my self-mastery secrets.
5. Live A Rewarding And Playful Life
“If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich.”Seneca
Living a rewarding life ties with the concept of living according to your nature. When you are natural, you walk on your natural path. Hence, life becomes naturally rewarding.
Finding your natural path is hard because you have so many expectations to meet and impressions to make. You must gather the courage to let go of the need to fulfill other’s expectations and to impress others.
When you fulfill your soul’s desire, you have a strong intrinsic drive. You’re filled with immense gratitude at every step of your way. Your productivity skyrockets. You rest deeply and play freely.
You start looking at life as a game. You don’t take yourself too seriously. You take effortless action. You fail with joy and succeed with even more joy.
Self-loathing disappears because your soul is aligned with nature. You can only hate yourself when you’re betraying your soul. When you’re living a soulful life, there is blissful harmony everywhere.
Final Words For Self-Loathing: How To Forgive Yourself
Listen up, my friend. You’re worthy as you are. Your bank account, your career success, your relationship status, or your looks don’t define your self-worth. They are just games you can play to entertain yourself.
Let go of how society wants to define you. Define yourself and be still. Would you ever measure a child’s or an animal’s self-worth? Of course not. Don’t take your games too seriously.
You don’t measure your self-esteem by a scoreboard. Play as much as you want, but come back to your true self. You’ll find your natural self-worth that comes from self-respect and self-compassion.
All your self-improvement work shouldn’t come out of shame or inadequacy. Let it come out of self-love. You’re not just enough, you’re a star. Take off the dust and shine brighter.