(by Dawson McAllister)
A Culture of Self-Hate
Would you believe that this is one of the top issues we deal with on TheHopeLine.com. In fact, two of our Top 10 most viewed blogs on TheHopeLine.com are What to do when you hate yourself and 5 Things to Think and Do When You Hate Yourself.
In fact, these two blogs received over 432,000 views in the past year.
Think of that…over 432,000 people are googling “I hate myself” and ending up at TheHopeLine for help.
I’m heartbroken to think of how many people are struggling with self-hate, but thankful they are finding our site for HOPE.
Have you ever heard someone say they hate themselves?
It’s so tragic to hear. This child of God, created in His image, hating him/herself.
It might seem like they are just crying out for attention. But many times, it’s a very honest evaluation of how miserable someone feels about himself or herself.
There are so many things in this world that attack self-esteem and sense of worth. Many teens and young adults are locked in their own personal jail, full of self-loathing, desperately wanting to get out, but not believing they can.
I wanted to share a portion of the two blogs mentioned above as a means of providing understanding and insight into how to help someone who may be struggling with loving themselves.
Why Do People Hate Themselves?
Caroline described her self-hatred like this: For a while I hated myself because I thought I wasn’t good enough to be in this world. I thought I was ugly, stupid, and weird. I wished I could have been someone else.
So why do people hate themselves? We took a poll on TheHopeLine.com, and asked what reasons they might have to hate themselves. The majority of people said it was something about their appearance, followed closely by I didn’t feel loved, and then I failed at a relationship.
Hate the way they look
Thinking poorly about yourself is self-rejection. You see something about yourself that you think is stupid or ugly and you think criticizing yourself will somehow make it go away. It won’t. It will actually make it worse. A lot of people feel ugly. Or fat. Or inadequate. It’s like the whole human race suffers from deep, low self-esteem.
Mona wrote: I hate who I’ve become. I know there is a hardworking, honest, skinny person inside me somewhere, but most of the time I think about how far to the negative I’ve come, then get even angrier at myself for not working harder to become the person I know I can be.
Feel Rejected by Others
Everyone will experience rejection of some sort. It’s normal. But it’s difficult. Not everybody is going to love you, or accept you. But it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, and that you should hate yourself because of it.
Tom wrote: I used to live consumed with thoughts about what everybody else was thinking about me. I felt like people were constantly rejecting me. I imagined all the worst things, even though there was no way of actually knowing what people were thinking. I had to quit, or else I’d go crazy.
Sometimes when people experience rejection or abandonment, they turn the responsibility onto themselves, as if they are the ones who caused the pain. Don’t let what other people think about you determine what you think of yourself. The freedom you experience when you let go of this burden will give you great joy. Tom’s right, it’s not worth going crazy over something you really can’t control.
Self-Hate is a Dark Black Hole
Self-hate is a dark, black hole in our soul that can be easy to fall into, but difficult to get out of. Cody wrote: I’ve found that sometimes our greatest enemy is ourselves. And the way we think can hurt worse than any words. And when left with nothing but your own thoughts, and if those thoughts are negative, self hate is born. It takes a real effort to turn negative self-defeating thoughts into positive life-changing ones.
Here are some suggestions that may help when someone is starting to say things like, I hate myself, I’m no good, I’m so stupid, or I’m worthless.
If you feel like you hate yourself, ask yourself these questions
What would you want to change about yourself? Nobody can make you love you other than you! If there is really something you do not like about yourself, what is it and what can you do about it? If you don’t like something about yourself and you are able to change it, start to do that today.
Work on what you can change, and ask God to help you accept the rest. Create the healthy life you desire (and deserve!) some people get trapped living miserable lives, not realizing they have the ability to change their situation. Don’t get stuck in that trap!
Each day, find something to do that makes you feel proud of yourself. Discover the things you love, try new things, go new places. Make some short-term and long-term goals.
How do you speak and think about yourself? If you say, “I’m a loser, no one loves me, I hate myself.” You will soon believe what you say. On the other hand, if you say to yourself, “I am a person worth loving and respecting,” you will start to believe it about yourself. Remind yourself of your strengths and the qualities you have to offer others. It’s your responsibility to rearrange your thinking away from all the negative stuff you’ve been thinking, and think more positive thoughts about yourself.
One thing you can do to help change your thoughts is to make a list of your 10 best qualities. Can’t think of 10? There are more than you think, but try starting with one. For example, I am a loyal friend or I care about others, or I am in touch with how I feel, or I have a lot to offer my friends, or I am a good listener, etc.
Decide that you will never say the words, “I Hate Myself” ever again. Those words are toxic. Why hate yourself? When in reality there is a lot in you worth loving.
What can you be thankful for? You will find people who dwell on the positive things in their life…things for which they are grateful, are usually much happier than those who don’t.
Challenge yourself to reflect each day for just a minute or two about what you feel grateful for that day…maybe it was delicious pancakes for breakfast, a smile from a friend, nice weather, could be something as simple as the color of the grass, or a good grade on a quiz.
It’s often been said, “If I think better, I will act better. And if I act better, I will feel better.”
Do you let other people’s thoughts shape how you feel about yourself? There are many people who allow themselves to be forever shaped by what others have said or done to them. These people easily become approval addicts. They look to others for their self-esteem. It’s like they are saying, “Please love me, so I can love myself. Please accept me, so I can accept myself.” These people will always feel a shortage of self-respect, because they never allow themselves to break free from the grip of others.
Try these 8 things to build your self-respect:
- Don’t let anybody force you to be or do anything you don’t want to do or be. There is an old saying that says, “To yourself, always be true.” This doesn’t mean be selfish. It means not letting other people tell you what to do or think or to push you around. What you think is important and worth listening to and learning to stand up for what you believe will increase your self-esteem.
- Don’t violate your own moral codes. If you have a moral standard or values that are important to you stick to them. Many people who have violated their own moral codes feel so guilty that they hate themselves for it. If you have violated your standards, you will need to forgive yourself and move forward with new commitment.
- Control your emotions. Learning how to handle your emotions so you don’t cause yourself more regrets and more reasons to dislike yourself is key. When we let our anger, hanger, hurt, jealousy, self-pity out in an uncontrolled way, it only causes us to embarrass ourselves, destroy relationships, and leads to low self-respect.
- Increase your knowledge.Develop interests and passions. Find a hobby. Learn as much as you can. Learning about things going on in the world around you will help you speak intelligently to a wide variety of people you meet. As you explore all the different opportunities this world has to offer, you will learn more about what you personally have to offer back to the people around you.
- Be responsible. Do the things you need to do. Perhaps this seems too basic, but it’s important. Take care of yourself. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, dress nicely, eat what is good for you, etc. Don’t be lazy in these little things. Also just doing the responsible thing such as doing your homework, chores around the house, or showing up to work on time will cause your self-respect to skyrocket
- Don’t lie. When you continually tell the truth, you give yourself the priceless gift of a clear conscience.
- Be Friendly. Friendly people are never miserable people. Brightening someone’s day by being nice, will make you feel better about yourself.
- Hang around encouraging people. Hanging around negative people who make you feel like you are never “good” enough either by what they say or how they act is damaging to anyone’s self-esteem. Ericka has some insight into how she has learned to respect herself. “I made friends with people like me, got rid of friends that put me down, and before I knew it, I was happier than ever before.
Overcome Self-Hate by Focusing on God’s Love
Why should you hate someone God loves so much? It is kind of a slap in God’s face when you hate someone that he created in His own image for a very special reason. There is no one else in the whole world who is just like you. Isn’t that incredible? YOU are worth loving. God knows all about you…even your mistakes and faults and He still loves you.
If there are some areas of your life that you should be changing in order to love yourself more, ask God for help to change what needs to be changed, and you’ll feel much better about your life.
Angie wrote: It’s very easy to find reasons to believe I am of no value to anyone, or to God. But I am of value because God loves me, even if no one else does.
As you start believing in yourself more, you’ll have more good days than bad. It’s easy to find the negative, so look for the positive in each situation. And most importantly, keep your faith in God. This will help lead you to the happiness you seek.