I Sometimes I feel like I hate myself
I feel like I hate myself physically and emotionally sometimes. How can I start accepting myself and be more confident?
Self love and self acceptance is something that many of my clients struggle with, so I can assure you that you are not alone. We are bombarded by media and advertisements everyday that try to sell us things to make us somehow better, thus leading us to believe that we are not enough. Unfortunately, I believe that low self esteem is a social epidemic.
On a more personal level, do you have any sense of what types of messages you have received in your life that have led to these self defeating thoughts? For example, did a parent or another loved one criticize you or put you down often? Were you bulled in school? Has a romantic partner emotionally abused you? Usually, there are factors such as these which insidiously lead to low self esteem and self loathing. Once you can identify some of the factors that lead to your self hatred, you can make a decision to not let these things from your past have such power over you any more. You learn to take control of how you feel about yourself, rather than letting others dictate that for you.
I do think it is possible to heal from self hatred. It doesn't happen over night, and it takes time and effort. It is about re-training your brain to focus on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses. None of us are ever going to be perfect, and if we look for a flaw we are bound to find one (or two, or three...). Try keeping a self esteem journal. Every night, write down three things that you were proud of that day about yourself. Try reciting positive affirmations every day (such as "I am lovable and beautiful just the way that I am today"), to re-program your mind into thinking highly of yourself, rather than poorly.
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The most important word here is "sometimes." I know it is quite painful, and I can imagine that at times this pain doesn't feel like it will subside. But it sounds like it is not all the time, which means we can easily say that this "hate myself" experience is one part of you. There are many other parts, if you give them some space to also "speak up," that will offer you more positive regard, trust me on that. Generally speaking, we just don't know how to listen to those parts, because...
...it is the "I hate myself" part that is our inner critic. And often, our inner critic has developed a lot of strength throughout our life because of how we've depended on it for certain things. Sounds crazy, but in actuality, some of the most "successful" people, in work mainly, are those that have strong inner critics. They use these critics to motivate themselves, but with people, and in relationships, and in our relationship with ourselves, it completely backfires, because relationships are far more dynamic processes than "doing well at work."
So, try to acknowledge that the inner critic is one part of you, that you've learned to give a lot of space to. But, if you sit with even a remotely positive feeling you have, it can also be given the space to speak up and grow, just like the critic has over time.
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The answer would require a more in-depth knowledge of you and your situation.
A lot of times, these feelings are the result of the people in your life treating you a certain way. You internalize it and accept it as your reality.
The first step is to evaluate the people close to you, especially your parents. Even if you are an adult, think back to your childhood. Children who grow up in an unstable home often grow up to be adults with insecurities and emotional problems. The obvious, such as being abused, can certainly lead to a person having little to no confidence and self esteem, but there are other situations that might surprise you to hear they can be damaging to a person.
You may have never been physically or sexually abused, but what about emotionally? Were you yelled at, berated, put down? Were you told you'd never amount to anything? Were you compared to siblings and felt like you always fell short, couldn't live up to expectations? When you hear something over and over again, you start to believe it.
Maybe you weren't yelled at. Maybe it was the opposite. Studies show that children who grow up with a parent who is depressed show signs of emotional neglect. A chronically depressed mother, for example, may have seemed cold, detached, emotionless. She may have been less likely to show interest in a child's life, not give praise for accomplishments or show support by going to ballgames or performances.
If one of your family members were chronically ill while you were growing up, chances are, a lot of the attention went to them, which could have led to your needs not being met.
Any of these situations could cause a person to grow up feeling unimportant, unheard, unloved, or like they don't matter.
Maybe nothing I've described here fits your situation. If you can't pinpoint what has caused you to feel this way on your own, a counselor can help.
I am not saying "blame it on your parents" or telling you there's nothing you can do to change it! Quite the opposite! Understanding WHY you feel that way is a first step towards making the changes needed to feel better. Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on cognition - figure out the WHY. Then behavior - the HOW.
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This happens slowly and can be done.
You already are at the first step of realizing that you hate yourself, not that the feelings of self-loathing are the best of what you're able to expect from life.
A way to start building confidence is to pay close attention to the way you handle interactions and make decisions.
If you start to notice what you'd like from an interaction, and afterwards, reflect on how well you handled yourself, especially with any unexpected circumstances, you'll build confidence in your ability to be good at something.
Do you know why you hate yourself?
This answer may help you address within yourself , a new type self talk which has more positives in it than what you've been accustomed to telling yourself.
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