Self-hatred or self-loathing is an extreme criticism of oneself. A continuous feeling of guilt, inadequacy and low self-esteem characterizes self-hatred. It may also feel like you are not worthy, undeserving of good things in life, or nothing you do is good enough.
When you suffer from self-hatred, you may constantly compare yourself to others, ignore the positive, and only perceive the negative. Self-hatred can cause more harm than good to many aspects of your daily life.
Self-hatred develops over time, but in many cases, it is triggered by several factors, including perfectionism, past trauma, pleasing others, and social comparison. To help you understand how to move past self-hatred, let us expand on some of these causes.
You are more likely to experience self-hatred if you have undergone trauma or have had some emotionally challenging experiences in the past. Such experiences could include physical and emotional abuse, neglect, or childhood trauma.
Self-hatred often stems from childhood. Childhood traumas can fuel negative feelings about yourself since children are more likely to believe what they hear other people say about them. When a parent tells a child that they cannot amount to anything or can’t do anything right, it becomes a reality in a child’s mind.
Trauma can also inspire self-hatred, where you’ll find it safer to attack yourself over a situation than accept that bad things happen randomly and are likely to happen again and again. In this essence, you may find yourself enduring assault or any other trauma as self-hatred grows.
Extreme self-criticism can lead to anxiety. Some people opt to find solace in substance use to suppress their anxiety. But relying on drugs or other substances to relieve anxiety only provides short-term relief, the long-term solution is to seek professional help from a credible institution, one of the premier national ones being Massachusetts benzodiazepine treatment services.
- Pleasing Others
Self-hatred can cause you to try so hard to meet the expectations of others to feel connected with them. You may feel bad when you realize that you cannot meet people’s expectations or blame yourself for disappointing others.
People-pleasing behavior stems from insecurities and is a way of deriving value from other people’s responses. Without people’s opinions, you might develop low self-esteem, low self-worth, and self-loathing.
Save yourself from the people-pleasing syndrome by practicing saying no until you no longer have to apologize. Give yourself time to make decisions so that you can weigh options before saying yes or no. Have time for yourself and consider your priorities.
Perfectionism is characterized by rigid expectations, high standards, and particular ideas on how to achieve desired outcomes. Healthy perfectionism can be a self-motivating driver to achieve success and overcome adversity.
Extreme perfectionism can be toxic as it focuses more on avoiding failure, leading to a negative orientation. Perfectionism can also make you overlook small mistakes or become hypersensitive to negative feedback.
A combination of environment and genetics causes perfectionism. You may inherit this trait or learn to be a perfectionist by observing or modeling behaviors in other people. Learning how to manage your perfectionism is imperative to experience it as a valuable part of your personality traits.
To overcome perfectionism, practice self-compassion by being more attentive to your feelings and being kind to yourself. Be flexible even when plans change, avoid comparing yourself to others, avoid sticking to rigid rules, and accept the reality that you will make mistakes.
- Comparing Yourself to Others
Self-hatred can cause you to compare yourself to others in a way that suggests that they are somehow better than you. It’s important to look around and notice something that may bring about positive competition.
However, only noting bad things about yourself and making others look better than you can only lead to a self-hatred cycle. Comparing yourself to others may also result in frustration, jealousy, and hopelessness. If left unattended, comparing yourself to others can cause depression or anxiety.
To stop comparison habits, focus on boosting your confidence and improving yourself. Train your mind to step away from undesirable comparisons and instead embrace a positive attitude and kindness. It might seem like a lot of work, but it eventually pays off.
Developing Your Self-Worth and Self-Esteem
The best way to counter self-hatred is to establish a solid foundation for your self-worth. Learn how to silence the inner critic to limit any negative thoughts. Practice self-compassion and learn how to forgive yourself and others for past mistakes, no matter how severe the mistakes were.
Above all, you need to be aware of a problem to change it. Start by identifying critical self-talk and find ways to challenge negative thoughts. Avoid comparing yourself to others and practice self-love to cultivate self-esteem.