Self-Loathing: How to Stop Self-Hatred and Start Loving Yourself?
We all criticize ourselves.
Our inner critical voice is constantly telling us where we could do better and what we should have done differently.
And there is nothing wrong with criticizing yourself. It helps you improve and make better choices.
However, when your inner critical voice takes over and all it does is talk negatively, set unattainable goals for you, drive you to perfection all the time, it becomes an issue.
But how do we stop self-loathing and simply love ourselves?
Today, you’re going to learn how to improve your relationship with yourself and practice more self-love.
Ready? Let’s get started!
- How to Stop Self-Loathing and Love Yourself?
In essence, self-loathing is an extreme form of low self-esteem. You beat yourself up over everything you do believing that you can’t do anything right and that you’re worthless.
Most importantly you don’t believe you are worthy of anyone’s love. These thoughts are dangerous and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Examples of self-loathing can be statements such as: I am incompetent, not good enough, stupid, ugly, embarrassing etc.
Self-loathing vs. conscience
Many people with low self-esteem confuse self-loathing with conscience. They believe that their inner critical voice is the voice of consciousness.
While your consciousness tells you what is morally correct and how to behave responsibly, self-loathing, on the other hand, beats you up for everything you are without you challenging it or recognizing that something is wrong with the way you talk to yourself.
Signs That You Have a Self-Loathing Mindset
* Apologizing for every thing that goes wrong. You think you are always at fault.
* Setting goals low so you won’t disappoint yourself. You believe you’re not capable of reaching bigger goals.
* Physical neglect. You do not care about your physical appearance and the basic personal hygiene.
* Struggling to accept compliments. You always worry about the intent behind compliments.
* Constantly comparing yourself to others.
* Depending on spending for approval. You need to acquire material goods to feel good about yourself or you buy ‘affection’ through expensive gifts.
* Depending on social media for approval. You find yourself constantly checking your likes and followers number and posting on your “pretend life”.
* Feeling afraid to fall in love. You’re convinced that once your partner discovers the real you, he’s going to leave. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you won’t love and accept yourself, who else will?
What causes Self-Loathing?
Self-loathing starts in childhood. Your critical inner voice can develop early on as you find yourself trying to figure out life and how to live it. It affects your thoughts and controls your behavior.
You believe it’s protecting you but in reality, it’s reinforcing feelings of guilt and shame and self-destructive behaviors.
As a child, you were extremely sensitive to the smallest increase your one or both of your parents’ level of anger and stress.
Some children were abuse emotionally (were literally taught that they are worthless, bad, inadequate, not good enough etc.) or even verbally and physically.
Even well-meaning parents, who did not understand the implications of some of their words, might have caused their child to take these words as core beliefs.
Fortunately, for most, negativity and anger episodes are few and far between. But for others, their experiences could have piled on guilt and shame leading to self-loathing.
Confirmation bias is a term used to explain the tendency for your mind to search for evidence to support your beliefs.
When you struggle with self-loathing, you will actively search for evidence that will support your beliefs about yourself. The evidence is mostly pure fabrications, whereas anything that suggests otherwise you will reject it.
This makes self-loathing a learned behavior, but it also means that it can be unlearned.
How to Stop Self-Loathing and Love Yourself?
What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is about making space and prioritizing yourself. It allows you to embrace your life completely and wholeheartedly.
Self-love helps you extend kindness and compassion toward yourself when you’re struggling and forgiveness when you make mistakes.
Self-love involves setting healthy boundaries.
What Self-Love Isn’t
To better understand self-love, it can help to know what self-love isn’t, too.
Self-love doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect or always happy. It doesn’t require achievements or external measurements of success. It doesn’t involve shaming, minimizing, or criticizing oneself.
Looking for flaws and beating yourself up isn’t going to help you become a better version of yourself.
It’s Not All Bubble Baths and Manicures
Most people believe that self-love is indulgent and luxurious. They believe that they don’t have the time for it when their work and families demand so much time and energy.
Relaxation and pampering are a good way to practice self-care and self-love. But true self-love is more about creating an authentic life, identifying our values and being honest with ourselves. It’s also about breaking free from self-destructive patterns and negative beliefs.
True self-love comes from deep within.
The pathway to self-love must include deliberate practice and mindful focus to build this skill. Your willingness to practice these habits is the fuel that will get you there.
#1. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
There is a strong relationship between our body and our mind. When you don’t take adequate care of your body, your mental health will begin to deteriorate.
You get out of shape. You might experience chronic pain and be more prone to getting sick. As a result you start experiencing a lowered sense of self-worth.
By not taking care of your body, you are directly telling your mind that you don’t feel worthy of the time and attention and you prioritize other things. This damages your self-esteem and confidence.
Our bodies can also directly impact our mental health. An unhealthy body generally has imbalanced hormones, which affects the way we perform basic tasks and increases our stress.
Balance your health once again by doing to the following:
* Take better care of your diet – Your gut health is responsible for nearly your whole body including your hormones and organ function.
Make sure your diet is rich in color, include adequate proteins, fatty acids, and other important nutrients. Steer away from processed food and artificial sweeteners.
* Exercise more frequently – This isn’t just about going to the gym. Exercise should be a lifestyle.
Small choices such as going for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your pet or volunteering to walk the neighbor’s pet, etc, can add up and improve your health.
* Receiving adequate rest – Getting a consistent, high-quality sleep has a significant role in improving your well-being. It reduces your stress levels and helps you function effectively throughout the day. Make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
Go to bed earlier and set a night routine that helps you relax, such as a light dinner, reading fiction, taking a warm bath, drinking chamomile tea, lowering your house light an hour before bedtime, turning off screens, etc.
Meditation has many emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits. It helps you manage stress and allows you to relax and find peace. This is why meditation can significantly improve chronic health issues like anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, hypertension, and inflammatory illnesses.
When you meditate, you’re fully present and the only thing that exists is that moment. This allows for creativity and new ideas to flow freely.
The calming effect meditation has on our minds and bodies, makes it a great form of self-love.
Get comfortable, dim the lights and take a few deep breaths. If a thought comes into your mind, notice it and imagine writing it down on an imaginary sticky note to attend to later. Then shift your focus back to your breathing.
You don’t have to be in the comfort of your home to meditate, you can practice it anywhere – when you’re waiting for the subway, right before a test, when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, etc.
Guided Imagery Meditation
After calming yourself through breath and focus, imagine something pleasing or calming.
The key to effective visualization involves full sensory awareness. If you’re, for example, imagining a beach scene, focus on the colors you see – the blue sky with white puffy clouds, the blue water, etc. Imagine the smell of the salty air, the feel of the warm sun. Scan the scene and notice all the details that you might usually miss.
#3. Yoga and Stretching
When we’re stressed, our muscles tighten up and become tense.
Our fight or flight stress response sends chemicals and oxygen to our large muscle groups in order to respond to any real or perceived threat.
Living in a state of pent-up stress, prevents our bodies from releasing this built-up tension.
Yoga and stretching help you release any built-up tension and become a way to treat our bodies with love.
Intentional breathing is one of the simplest, most effective ways to practice self-love.
Numerous studies show that mindful breathing help reduce panic and anxiety by altering hyperventilation and panic symptoms.
Breathing also allows us to focus on the present moment.
#5. Even Five Minutes Is Better Than Nothing
Self-care opportunities happen all day long – getting some sunlight, making a hot cup of tea for yourself, writing down your thoughts in your journal, etc.
The best way to build a habit is to start small. Give yourself at least five minutes a day to connect with yourself.
Five-Minute Self-Love Hacks
Here are self-love acts you can do in five minutes
Connect with nature – Go outside and enjoy the sunlight and the fresh air. Take a deepbreath in through your nostrils. Feel the sensation of your lungs filling with air and exhale through your mouth while notice the calming effect on your body.
Journaling – Write down your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Sometimes all you need is to release your thoughts and feelings and writing can help you with that.
Self-love affirmations – Pick up some self-love affirmations and read them aloud daily. The following are some example:
- I am worthy of love.
- Loving myself is as important as loving others.
- It is okay to ask for what I need and want.
- My feelings are valid. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
Set an alarm for 10 minutes before you have to get up – Use the few minutes to think gently thoughts that will help you start your day with a good mood.
It Won’t Happen Overnight
Permanent change takes time. Healing and growth is often nonlinear—it can have ups and downs.
But you need to trust the process and journey. Be kind to yourself when you struggle to feel self-love.
Loving yourself can change your life in so many ways.
You’ll be kinder and gentler with yourself. Your own encouragement and forgiveness will make your life more peaceful.
You’ll start living fully and embrace your life wholeheartedly.
By loving yourself, you’ll have more love to share with others. Your relationship will become healthier.
You become the creator of your own happiness.
Did I miss anything?
Now I’d like to hear from you.
Which techniques from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite techniques.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now!
Wondering what to read next?
- Building Mental Strength: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
- How to Manage Stress And Anger? (7 Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure)
- 13 Strategies To Accelerate Your Personal Growth
- How to Successfully Make Changes in Life by Mastering These Three Keys
- How to Be Whole on Your Own: 3 Crucial Steps to Feel Complete and Whole
- How To Reclaim Your Life? (5 Steps to Take Back Your Power And Start Loving Your Life)
- How To Get Over Yourself And Stop Feeling That The World Owes You Anything
- Facing Your Fears: 5 Truths About Fear And 5 Ways To Conquer Fear And Get Unstuck
- How to Make Decisions? (8 Tools to Help You Make Decisions You Won’t Regret Later)
- How To Embrace Change? (5 Things You Need to Start Doing To Become A Better Person)
- How To Stop Repeating The Same Mistakes Over And Over
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Portions of this article were adapted from the books:
- Attachment Theory Workbook ©, April 19, 2020, by Emily Attached. All rights reserved.
- Self‑Love Workbook for Women ©, September 29, 2020, by Megan Logan. All rights reserved.