I just hate myself so much right now!
I’ve heard this sentence uttered too many times to count. Honestly? I’ve said it too, both in my head and aloud. And I bet you have as well.
Self-loathing has become this strangely socially acceptable practice whereas loving oneself as we are has become a radical act: something so uncommon that when we see people claim it, we usually either think they’re faking it. Or, that they have a secret that they’re not sharing with the rest of us.
Some kind of magic pill that they’ve discovered and that makes everything better for them than it will ever be for us. Maybe we just don’t deserve it, after all.
Still, self-loathing as a default is nothing if not destructive and, quite frankly, pointless.
SELF-LOATHING ISN’T CONDUCIVE TO CHANGE
Let that sink in for a moment. This is actually the opposite of what most people deeply believe, if not through the words they say, then certainly through their actions: people clinging to the notion that if their disgust of themselves runs deep enough, then they’ll be able to effect change in their life.
Except this notion is flawed. Because self-loathing keeps us absolutely stuck.
We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.
I maintain that there are two meta-emotions that guide us through life. One is LOVE and the other is FEAR. Obviously, self-loathing belongs alongside fear.
Fear is what prevents us from taking action.
Fear is what keeps us playing small.
Fear is what whispers to us that it’s not worth it; that we’re not worth it.
When our desire to change is rooted in self-loathing, we’re sabotaging ourselves before we even begin: why take risks for something―or someone―who isn’t even worthy of our love?
Self-loathing promotes status quo… or worse!
WHAT THE ALTERNATIVE IS (AS UNLIKELY AS IT SEEMS)
One thing we don’t often realize is that while self-loathing keeps us playing small, it also keeps us compliant. It keeps us consuming, like addicts, media and products which reinforce how poorly we feel about ourselves. Toxic can only yield toxic. Once we awaken to this, we already own an extremely powerful key: the choice not to buy into this―literally.
Here are a few tools you can implement:
Stop consuming media that feeds into your self-loathing.
This can be websites, magazines, social media, etc. How can you tell which are toxic for you? Take a moment to tap into your feelings: how do you feel after you’ve consumed it? On top of the world and ready to rock life, or meager and inadequate? Be honest.
Ask yourself: Am I thinking and acting from a place of love or from a place of fear?
Here too, you’ll have to ask and answer with uncompromising honesty―but it doesn’t mean that you have to judge yourself negatively for your answer. Often, our behaviours are guided by fundamental human fears: fear that we won’t belong, fear that we can’t be appreciated for who we truly are.
But we get to reject that fear. When we give ourselves permission to choose love in all of our thoughts and our actions, we get to respond with compassion, be it towards ourselves or towards others. And that’s the game changer.
Don’t paralyze yourself with spinning thoughts of inadequacy. You are deserving―right here, right now―of all the good things you want to implement in your life. It all starts with one simple step.
Programmed in self-hatred, many of us shadow-box the light of day away and chase everything meaningless the night through until we perish more ignorant and confused than the very day we were born.
D. Allen Miller
Take that step―remember that it will not fix you, because you are in no need of fixing―and then take another. If it’s a step back that you need to take, go ahead. If it’s a change of strategy, go for it. You’re not failing; there is no failure. There’s only your own, beautiful, messy and unique journey!