Follow These 3 Tips To Learn How Not To Hate Yourself
Updated February 14, 2020
Reviewer Chante’ Gamby, LCSW
Want to learn how not to hate yourself? You are not alone. For one reason or another, many people hate themselves at some point in their lives. Some learn self-hatred from how they were treated as kids and others develop this hate because of specific life events.
It's unfortunate, but sometimes we can be way too hard on ourselves - our own worst critic.
Here are 3 tips to learn how not to hate yourself:
- Talk to a Therapist
A therapist can help you pinpoint the origin of your self-hate and help you identify ways to manage those negative feelings towards yourself. Once you are aware of the cause and thought patterns associated with your negative self-image, you can come to terms with your past and start working towards a better future.
A licensed therapist, whether in-person or via an online counseling service like BetterHelp, can teach you ways to cope that will help you start to see yourself in a new, better light.
A therapist will work you through identifying your core internal beliefs. Many of these thoughts may not be conscious and need to be unpacked. A core belief determines to what degree you believe you are safe, worthy, feel loved, the ability to make your own decisions, how powerful you feel, and competent. A therapist can help you understand how these core beliefs coincide with your sense of belongingness and how you may be treated by others.
A counselor can explore many different types of exercises such as using a journal to explore your daily thoughts. Negative thoughts can be tracked by visualizing situations or your emotional space. You can document times in which you felt anxious, sad, angry, shameful, or hurt, any time in which you felt uncomfortable and an automatic thought popped back up.
An example of a thought journal can help you discover the situation, your feeling, and the automatic thought expressed. When exploring the station, think of the who, what, when, and where
- Start a Self-Care Routine
Another way to learn how to love yourself is by building up a strong self-care routine. Too often, we focus so much on our work and other responsibilities (like school, raising kids, or taking care of other people) that we forget to recharge and take care of ourselves.
Always putting others first puts our own mental and physical health on the back-burner, leading to burn-out and other negative consequences.
Come up with a list of ways that you can take care of yourself regularly. They don't have to be anything extreme, in fact, they should be easy to implement. For example:
- taking the time to enjoy a shower
- getting your hair done
- prepping healthy meals for the week
Self-care can also encompass activities that keep you happy and healthy, like:
- weekly exercise
- making time for a relaxing cup of coffee and reading in the morning
- taking the time to see friends and family
Learning to prioritize self-care helps you get used to the idea that you are worth setting this time aside for yourself. These routines, if kept up, will help you start to feel better mentally, physically, and hopefully feel less hatred towards yourself.
Good self-care can begin by making a list of at least 10 activities that you enjoy during a typical week; break them down into smaller chunks, instead of saying exercising, it could be stretching. Once you have established your ten items ask yourself two questions:
- Does this activity life my mood, did it give me energy, make me feel nourished, or increase my sense of being alive? If you answered yes to any of these items then considered this an activity that nourishes you and makes you feel whole.
- Does this activity diminish my mood, make me feel drained of energy, or decrease my sense of being alive? If the answer was no for this question then this is an activity that depletes you of energy and makes you feel depleted.
Keeping count of what you do during the week can change how you feel. You may not realize what is causing exhaustion without exploring it in-depth.
- Be Kind to Yourself
The journey towards ending your self-hate will not be an easy one, especially if you have hated yourself for a long time. Chances are you will experience some setbacks along the way and that is totally normal.
There are many different limited-thinking patterns that get in the way of a positive outlook. Personalization (Beck, 1976) falls in line with negative self-worth as people often compare themselves to other people. The negative mantra may come in the form of questioning your value, "I'm not smart enough to do that job." You may even flip the comparison in a more favorable format, "At least I'm smarter than them" the underlying message here is that your worth as a person is somehow diminished. The other form of personalization is to relate everything around you to yourself. When you focus on negative comparisons this can be never ending not just on yourself but how you are as a mother, father, friend, partner. Maybe you are having a conversation with a friend and they may yawn while you talk, when you are personalizing your first thought maybe, "I must be boring they can't even stay awake while I talk."
Challenge these automatic thoughts with an opposite action, for every negative thought thinks of the opposite action. For example, if you have an angry thought about yourself, find one thing you can do that you enjoy, maybe going for a walk or listening to music.
When you find yourself thinking in absolute terms about yourself like this, take a second to think it over because these things are almost always not true. Start to think of how you can change your thoughts to be nicer to yourself and say "This is hard, but I'll get better with practice" or "I deserve to be happy".
The key to getting over these setbacks and not giving up is to be kind to yourself. Try to notice when you have negative thoughts about yourself that spiral out of control and counter them with positive mantras instead.