Understanding Self-Hatred



There is a painful truth that you will likely need to understand about your life. Most of what is limiting you in your life and preventing you from finding the happiness you deserve is within your own mind and heart. Your own feelings of self-hatred and unworthiness are the most powerful force that is holding you back and preventing you from achieving your dreams.

What is Self-Hatred?

Nearly everyone who has some form of self-critical thoughts. Across all people, the most common critical thought is seeing ourselves as different from others (1).  We all see ourselves as distinct from others, but this is perceived negatively. We each see ourselves as fraudulent or unworthy of belonging in some way. While it is true that we all have an inner voice that can be critical of our actions and decisions, those with strong self-hatred allow this voice to control their lives and determine their emotions most of the time.

This inner voice is one that points out your mistakes, harps on your flaws, criticizes your shortcomings, and undercuts your accomplishments. When you truly hate yourself, you believe this voice to be authentic, to be the only truth, which leads to even more negative feelings about yourself.

For most people, self-hating thoughts originate from negative experiences early in life. How we are viewed, treated, and supported emotionally when we are young has a significant impact on how we feel about ourselves later in life. Parents, influential caretakers, siblings, and peers all play a dynamic role in forming your self-concept early on, shaping your critical attitudes toward yourself that you carry with you into adulthood.

When you have self-hatred, you learn to listen to the critical inner voice like a coach. You listen to its destructive advice; you believe all the things it tells you about yourself. You make decisions based on your lack of self-worth, and your lack of confidence can lead to making mistakes or not taking chances that could have a positive impact on your life.

Self-hatred can lead to self-destructive or sabotaging behaviors, can keep you from enjoying fulfilling relationships, and can prevent you from setting goals for yourself that would lead to a higher quality of life. Those with prominent levels of self-hatred tend to project critical thoughts onto others and can even have paranoid or suspicious thoughts because they question how anyone could see things differently than they do. Self-hatred prevents you from accepting love from others, as well.

Learning to Stop the Inner Critic

You can learn to challenge and overcome your critical inner voice which is directing your self-hatred. Overcoming true self-loathing requires challenging work to separate yourself from the negative thoughts that have dominated your mind for so long, and you may need the assistance of a mental health professional, in some cases. The process of ending self-hatred requires you first to stop listening to the inner, critical voice and then carefully examine its origins, which can help you respond with a more realistic view of yourself.

You must challenge the negative and destructive behaviors that your mind wants you to engage in, selecting healthier options instead. Over time, you will learn to adjust to new patterns of thinking and behaving while you figure out your values, beliefs, and goals for your life.

Final Thoughts

Learning to overcome self-hatred, which is a powerfully negative sense of self, takes time and commitment but is possible. Understanding the source of your negative thoughts and then adopting new ways of thinking can lead you to feel more positive about yourself and your life. And overcoming self-hatred is crucial if you want to have a healthier, happier life.

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