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?

Ashton Sullivan
Ashton Sullivan
Dialectical Behavior Therapy and EMDR

Aside from seeing a therapist to help you work through the feelings and events that might have resulted in the self-hatred, I recommend a few things:

1.)  Draw a line down the page in a journal to make two columns.  In the first column, write down your negative thoughts.  On the other side in the second column, write down a different statement to challenge that thought.  Pretend you are a judge trying to prove the negative thought wrong.  For example, you might change "I wasn't good enough" to "it wasn't about me" or "I'm actually really good at x, y, and z."  

2.)  Write down a new positive self statement each day and focus on each one on your list for 2-3 minutes (more if you can- the more the better).  Meditate on the truth of each of these statements.  This method has been proven to be effective in improving self esteem.

3.)  Practice non-judgmental awareness.  Be curious about your experience.  Notice your emotions and where they are coming from.  My guess would be that if you're hating yourself then there is probably some shame, guilt, sadness, and/or anger that needs to be addressed.  These emotions might fit the facts or not.  If they do, here are some things you can do (if not, then practice the methods above):

  • Shame: Fits the facts if a person or group of people you care about will reject you if they knew the truth.  Try talking to someone who will not reject you about what you're ashamed of.  Be VERY careful to pick someone who will validate you and not cause more shame (a therapist will help with this).
  • Guilt: Fits the facts when you've done something that violates your own values or moral code.  Try making amends if you've hurt someone.  Practice self-validation (or talking with someone who will validate you) and forgiving yourself.  Use it as motivation to making a commitment to change your behavior if necessary.
  • Sadness: Fits the facts when you lost or will be losing someone or something you care about.  Practice letting yourself feel sad and grieve.  Maybe process it with someone who supports you or through a creative outlet like art or writing.
  • Anger:  Fits the facts when someone or something has threatened you or a loved one's life or well-being.  Anger motivates us to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  Practice setting boundaries and seeking justice if necessary.

4.)  Practice self compassion.  Imagine someone you care about is going through the same thing.  What encouraging or loving words would you say to them?  Write that down.  Now read it back to yourself.

5.)  Building mastery is a great skill for confidence and improving your mood.  That means doing things that give you a sense of confidence like learning or practicing a new skill.  

6.)  Step out of your comfort zone and do things that you're afraid of that are not harmful, like participating in Toastmasters to practice public speaking.  Give yourself permission to suck and try not to judge yourself.

These things can be very helpful, but there may be more work to do to really get to the root of the problem and heal.  This is pain trying to get your attention.  Don't ignore it.  Find support and give yourself grace.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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