I hate myself.
How often do you say that? And do you add explanatory remarks such as “… when I (fill in the blank as appropriate)” or “… every time I (fill in the blank as appropriate)” or “… because I (fill in the blank as appropriate)?”
Is that what you think as you gaze in the mirror?
In the words of the famous Dr. Phil, how’s that working out for you? Has your performance in troubled areas improved? Have your relationships or appearance improved? Have you added joy to your life because you condemn yourself? If your answer is “No” to any of that, you can begin recovering from your declared self-hatred by considering the thoughts below.
Character issues matter. So do coping skills. We need to prove to employers, teachers, friends, and family that we are focused, thoughtful, balanced people who can be relied on to fulfill responsibilities. We also need to trust and to be comfortable with ourselves. Consistency in thought, action, and speech equals integrity. If you are in a position of responsibility, or even responding to daily life, then you need consistency. Inconsistency causes situations and people to fall apart.
The major issue in life is how you choose to grow when you’re at your weakest or feeling your weakest.
Self-Hatred as a Mental Health Disorder
If the quality of your life is suffering from self-hate, you’d be wise to consult a loving, patient confidante or a competent therapist who can help you to identify your better qualities and to develop them as well as other fine qualities. The need for therapy is especially true if you suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and its consequences such as bulimia or anorexia, self-harm efforts. If excessive self-deprecation is your issue, especially when you are demonstrably competent, it can backfire and undermine your efforts to succeed in life. That consistency/inconsistency/integrity thing matters.
Self-Hatred as a Fallback
If you’re only claiming to hate yourself, but don’t actually loathe your very identity, then you might be using the “I hate myself” phrase as a tool to get your way, to get out of responsibilities, to release tension, or to generate unnecessary compassion. You simply might need to face up to what’s being asked of you and to live up to your responsibilities. In other words, you need to grow up. Fallbacks are a lazy or fearful person’s excuses for not living up to their potential. Self-condemnation is not cute or endearing, either. To paraphrase a common social media meme, think of the situation this way: “I fell in love with someone just because they kept saying ‘I hate myself’ said Nobody. Ever.”
If the source of your disparaging remark is not related to a sense of shame, hatred of your skin color, voice, or other physical reality, then you can benefit by rethinking your behavior. Separate facts from fiction.
Disparaging yourself because you’re not like someone else? That’s pointless. Each of us has different histories, skill levels, health backgrounds, and the like. And we are in different social, educational and economic strata. That amounts to different levels of ability, endurance, opportunities and more. Each human being is unique. You’re not supposed to turn out like someone else even if your parents or other people said so. Even the military has different units with various qualifications. Gunners are not supposed to have the skills or temperaments of sailors. Foot soldiers and pilots need to function differently from each other, and so on. By doing your best, by exceeding previous efforts, you’re good enough.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.