A lot of my previous posts have touched on self-worth, but none of them have directly addressed self-loathing. For years I absolutely hated myself. I mean true deep ‘I don’t deserve to be alive’ hatred.
In retrospect I’m not even sure why I hated myself so much. Sure, I know what things were causing me to be depressed and such, but I don’t know how I got to that point. What I do know however, is how to deal with self-loathing. It’s taken me years but I’ve reached a point where I genuinely love myself now.
Ground Yourself in Reality
A lot of my self-loathing centred around thinking that I was somehow one of the worst people alive. In retrospect it seems completely inexplicable that I thought that as 13 year old girl who hadn’t particularly done anything bad in life. At the time I truly believed I deserved to die because I was an awful person. Although that wasn’t the case it absolutely was my reality.
If you self-loathe a lot then you probably have similar feelings about being a special kind of awful. The best way to start overcoming these feelings is to ground yourself in reality. Realise that although you may feel like a terrible person, that doesn’t mean you actually are one. Having done bad things in the past doesn’t mean you’re irredeemable and awful, it means you still have time to learn from your mistakes.
When you think of all the absolutely horrid things that go on in the world it becomes a lot easier to see yourself for what you are. You’re just a person and you’re probably not even that bad.
Self-loathing but never actually stopping to consider why you feel so horrible is pretty common. We get wrapped up in the idea of hating ourselves so much that we can hardly remember why we’re so upset to begin with. Now’s the time to start getting introspective. Not in a way where you criticise everything you do or make yourself feel bad, but in a way that’s productive.
The key of introspection is for it to end in action. If you’re laying around for hours thinking then doing nothing afterwards then you’re definitely overthinking. The point of introspection is to be able to understand yourself in order to make actionable changes.
Find The Cause
Begin exploring your general perspective and opinions of yourself, then start delving deeper to find the route of your issues. This will take a while and is often a lot easier if you write it down, but perseverance is worth it. When I first tried to start liking myself more I didn’t have any method or tools to help myself. I muddled through it all but it’s really so much easier when you know what you’re looking to achieve.
A deeply hatred of the self is something that’s built up over time. There may be certain events or actions that acted as a catalyst to deepen your dislike, but overall it’s a slow process. Unless there’s a specific event you know started your self-hatred it’s most likely that your issues started in childhood. For me it was a mix of religious dogma, internalised homophobia, being bullied, and a bunch of other things. It all culminated in me hating myself, but took years for me to notice where those things oringisted. They weren’t my own thoughts but ideas that had been projected onto me, and I’d internalised.
Take Your Time
Don’t rush yourself, you literally have the rest of your life to sort this through. Changing your entire view of yourself isn’t an easy task. You have to slowly chip away at the bad perspective you have of yourself, and embrace entirely new ones.
Just deciding to change is the first step, once you’ve done that you have all the time you need to get where you want. Try not to get caught up on how much you like yourself, it’s not really a task that can me measured. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you remember that at one point you hated yourself, but now that idea seems distant and strange. Although I vividly remember hating myself it truly seems like I was a completely different person then, I don’t remember what it feels like to hate myself so much.