Emotional HealthPsychology

Why you hate yourself – And don’t even know it.

12 Mins read

Yes you do hate yourself, the very fact that you got intrigued by this title and clicked on it is proof of that.

Well its most likely that you are, but you get the point.

Self hatred is something that is common in every human being. Its part of the human condition. Its not a disease that you should want to eradicate lest you end up becoming psychotic and robotic. Its part of the Yin and Yang relationship of nature, Which is to say – for goodness and progress to exist you need to contend with the possibility of evil and destruction existing.

Why and how self hatred manifests

According to Dr. Lisa Firestone and Joyce Catlett in the book Conquer your Critical Inner Voice, the causes of self-hatred/self-loathing lie in the past, when, as children, we were trying to cope with our lives in the best way possible.

In terms of the developmental theory, we are all fully developed by the time we leave our adolescence stage. Our bodies are biologically fully developed at that point and so are our brains. Our childhood and early school years play a big role in how we think, behave, feel, associate with people, conduct ourselves in the society and tackle our own life problems.

If by any means, a shady job was done by someone on teaching you, raising you or socializing you then you may suffer greatly from many psychological issues, not to mention emotional and intellectual issues.

We learn to deal with emotions from home and from school. The environment and people we associate with at those stages will shape our form and way of thinking. So, if you went through school being told that you were good for nothing, where your skills weren’t appreciated, where you were told you had nothing to offer, were bullied and made to feel less than, then, you are more likely to end up feeling that way once you are past that development stage.

Which is to say, whatever happens in your developmental stages, most often sticks with you into your adult life if its not checked. This is where the art of “knowing thyself” comes in. Its meaning is much more elusive than most people think. More on that later on in this article.

Failures, disappointments. experiences, trauma and belief systems shape our views on life. We tend to get lost in them till they define who we are. Our minds are not constant. We are always learning new things and trying to change for the better, we learn from our experiences and contend with normalcy so as to build and create something better.

Therefore, if self hatred gets the better of us, we end up adopting this slave mentality. The slave mentality focuses on reminding you that you are incapable of certain things regardless of how much effort you put into them.

This is not the case. If you ever feel like a slave to your limitations, take a look at history to see the incredible things that ‘less than’ people did just because they believed, worked hard and never gave up.

Reading about Abraham Lincoln will inspire you almost in the same way reading about Alexander the Great will both terrify and excite your inner power. I recommend that everyone reads history on all things, especially people. Read about Adolf Hitler, watch a documentary on all these terrible and great men alike, it will enlighten you on the full capability (for both destruction and progress) of the human mind.

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, but they are also condemned to not learn or strive because of it.

dominic nyabuto, themindcomplex.com

History is full of great remarkable things that were done by people who were never believed in, so if you think you are incapable, think again.

So what is self hatred really

When you talk of people hating themselves, they often think of it in a malicious manner. They think that if you hate yourself then you are always wanting what is terrible for you without ever doing what is good for you. They believe that to hate yourself means to dislike aspects of yourself to the point of changing your nature.

This definition is half right, This is because self hatred spans a wide range of behaviors.

Self hatred is the act of treating yourself as if you are not good enough, capable enough or blessed enough to have the life that you want regardless of the past, failures, shortcomings and disappointments of life without having to change yourself.

As you can see, to escape the pit of self hatred the first thing will be to obviously know thyself. Because, if you don’t know yourself, then you won’t realize what is good or bad for you, what is beneficial or destructive to you. Simply put, anybody who doesn’t exhibit an incredible amount of self knowledge will exhibit some form of self hatred,

Lets see if you are one of those people…

Signs that show you hate yourself

1. Lack of self knowledge – you don’t know thyself

Obviously this is first.

A lot of people suffer from an external locus of control. In psychological literature, locus of control is a concept that tells us to which entity an individual is going to attribute their success or failure.

An internal locus of control is a belief system in a person that drives them to attribute their failures and success on their own prowess, skill and dedication. Whilst an external locus of control is where a person attributes their success and failures to what happens around them, their environment, luck, fate and even society.

People with an external locus of control are more likely to suffer from low self awareness because they do not identify themselves with who they really are, what they are capable off or their gifts. This plays a major role in self hatred by depriving the person of self knowledge.

When you lack self knowledge you will end up acting in several ways:

  1. Having unrealistic expectations for yourself and others – knowing yourself will enlighten you on your own shortcomings and those of others, It will also show you how to tackle them and get around them so that they do not harm you and others. If you aren’t very aware of yourself, you will not know your limits and where your actions might come back to hurt you. You will put so much expectations on yourself only to be surprised you couldn’t reach them.
  2. Comparison – you need to know who you are so that you can differentiate your story from those of others, You may be tempted from time to time to compare yourself to your friends, family and celebrities, its okay to be inspired by others but to think you are similar and that your stories may end up the same… is dangerous. People’s lives don’t match no matter how close they are, not even twins. We tackle things differently, we have different constraints. Understanding yourself will help you forge your own story without a care of another person’s because of that great realization.
  3. Hard time saying no – when you know what is beneficial for you, what you want to do and what you don not want to do, your mind becomes peaceful. As we all know our brains are wired to have preferences and disregard the not so preferable things. You see this when you have friends. Anyone else who isn’t like you or your friends will be disregarded as acquaintances. Same goes for interests, habits and spouses. Learn your preferences or else you won’t know what to say no to, henceforth will have a hard time saying no just so that you can please other people.

In one of my articles – What is meant by “Know Thyself” in Psychology, I write all about the concept of self knowledge and why its the threshold of human power. Anything wrong, almost everything wrong, you will ever find in your life, will be subject to your level of self awareness. Always keep that in mind.

2. Self criticism

You sometimes have this voice in your head that tells you you can’t do something. That’s self hatred right there.

Sometimes, the voice is grounded in factual statistics and information, but most of the time, its grounded on feelings and emotions. You obviously don’t want to pick a fight that you can’t win, but again you need to differentiate between that and a fear of failure or inadequacy.

3. Letting go of the past

Clinging on to the past by letting it consume you and dictate your life is emotionally unhealthy.

The past experiences are meant to teach us something and show us who we really are, what we are capable of, how we can adapt and how vulnerable or strong we are. Once you learn from it move on. Self hatred is driven by past experiences, mostly during childhood and teen years, that make us feel like we are a certain type of way.

The human mind is malleable and susceptible to change. If you cling to the past you don’t add more information and experiences to it. Therefore, it will remain stagnant until you do so. If you don’t contend with the fact that not all your relationships will be a failure then you will never know how to create a successful one.

I always see people on social media saying, “Men are trash”, “Marriages don’t work anymore”. Really? This types of comments are mostly driven by emotions, hurt and disappointments. Not reality. Self hating people don’t try to solve problems with facts, they wrestle them with feelings because somehow they feel like they are victims of circumstances all the time.

4. Lie a lot

If you hate yourself then you are not really proud of yourself. If you are not proud of yourself you may end up thinking of creating a new identity. But since you don’t think you are capable of being awesome, you will end up creating a facade of someone that you are not so that you don’t have to put in any effort to change anything.

You lie to please, be liked, adored and appreciated because you feel like your true self isn’t worth any of that. If you did, you wouldn’t lie.

The most self aware, self confident people are not liars. But they are also not really liked by people. This is because smart people tend to see all the corners and sides of life that less smart people aren’t open or willing to see. And one of those corners is this – the truth will set you free. Once the smart people realize what it takes to be successful, happy and more fulfilled, they end up knowing that they need to be true to thine own selves.

The society doesn’t really like people being their own selves. People being themselves ends up challenging the status quo which people don’t want to change. When you see this phenomenon you realize the truth to what Ultron in Avengers: Age Of Ultron meant when he said;

“You want to protect the world (make a better world) but you don’t want it to change.”

ultron, avengers:age of ultron

Changing your world involves seeking out the truth, the truth may not be tasteful to you or those around you. The status quo will have to be challenged and that breeds conflict withing you and outside of you.

5. Apologize unnecessarily

When I started dating, I faced a very terrible question in my mind that I never understood till I wrote this article.

“Why do women hate men who apologize all the time?”

I noticed that in movies, my dating life and those of my friends. Me and my friends often make a joke about it – “Women like to be treated like trash, they just don’t know it.” At first I thought that joke to be true, but on further examination, I have come to figure out that there is more to it.

When you apologize all the time you come out as someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. You come out as a clumsy, aimless and purposeless person who has to be told what to do lest he makes a mistake that he has to apologize for.

Needles to say, if you apologize less often, you come out as someone who knows exactly what he’s doing, has a principle no matter how hard to swallow it may be, and still sticks to that principle no matter what. This behavior shows confidence, self awareness and purpose which women find very attractive because its an indication of a man with whom a woman can build something with.

Apologizing often is a sign of low self awareness and shows that you may be a people pleaser who is worried of being disliked by others. Self hatred comes in when you see how constant apologies end up shutting down your innate self. If you apologize all the time then it means you are constantly thinking of what is the right hing to do so that you don’t offend people. Which is impossible.

Its impossible to never offend people. Anything you say that is controversial or different to anyone’s beliefs is gonna come out as something offensive. People feel offended whenever their principles and beliefs are challenged. And since we all have a very huge variation in beliefs, its fair to say that we will always offend each other no matter how close we are.

The trick is to learn how to tackle those offenses not to avoid offending each other at all. If we do the latter we end up shutting down our own individuality which is basically self hatred.

6. Mistrust and constant fear

Once you know what you want out of life, how you are gonna get and how fulfilled you are gonna be…fear goes away.

Oscar Wilde once wrote:

For each man kills the thing he loves

oscar wilde

The full quote goes like this -“

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.”

Paulo Coelho goes a step further in his book ,The Alchemist, to explain why this is. He says how we often fail to see the balance in life such as it is portrayed in the symbol of Yin and Yang. He says that we tend to get lost in fears, worries, mistrust (of our own selves and others) and the difficulties of life that we end up making decisions that benefit either the Yin or the Yang without looking at the facts, efforts made and imminent rewards.

We need to understand the duality of life, dive into it and extract what is beneficial from both ends. That you shouldn’t have too much of anything, because its dangerous, a mixture of both worlds (with more emphasis on what is beneficial) is always better.

Self hatred arises when you get lost in the fear and worry of what bad might happen that you forget what good might happen. We often get consumed by fear because its easier, takes no effort and is comfortable because it has a ‘justifiable worry’ behind it.

How to deal with self hatred

You don’t deal with self hatred by getting rid of it, you can’t but you can overcome it in the sense that it doesn’t control you.

My first recommendation is always therapy. I’m sorry, you didn’t see that one coming? Lol.

Go to therapy. Therapy works and its high time we start telling ourselves its okay to go to therapy. Some people think it makes them weak, but the fact is that admitting to yourself of your inadequacies is more than what many people do when they say they don’t want therapy – they are in self denial.

Admitting that to yourself and taking the steps to get someone to help you help yourself is vital to your health, and like I said before, people pleasers hate themselves. Help yourself.

These days its so convenient that you can have an amazing session whilst at the comfort of your own home. I’m talking about online therapy. One of the best that I have come across is Onlinetherapy.com which uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help out the patients.

The platform is full of personal licensed therapists, they offer very many discounts from time to time, they have live chats, messaging platforms, a journal section to record your progress and many more great features.

Check it out(Onlinetherapy.com) to book your session and talk about anything and everything you wanna talk about, not just how to deal with self hatred.

A few more steps that you should take include:

  1. Know thyself – read this article – What is meant by “Know Thyself” in Psychology, where I dive deeper into this.
  2. Voice therapy – this involves verbalizing the negative thoughts you are aware of in the second person, as though another person were talking to you.  Shifting to this second person format brings to the surface the emotional content of these negative thoughts.  This also helps you to separate your own point of view from the hostile point of view towards yourself.
  3. Challenge yourself – treat yourself as a person who can do anything, get anything if the right focus, dedication and time was applied. Push yourself out of your comfort zone basically. Do this by challenging the self loathing in you to justify itself in the face of your capabilities.
  4. Mind you circles – hanging out with like minded people is great after this point as it will help you to not revert back to your old ways. Don’t be afraid of cutting those chains, bigger ones will come.

Oh, and last but not least, live you life like nobody cares, because no one does. Peace.

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About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
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