Why Do I Hate Myself So Much, And How Can I Learn To Love Me?
Updated September 28, 2018
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
You are the closest person to you, and know yourself better than anyone else. No matter what you know to be true of your life, it is easy to hide that truth from family, friends, and co-workers. It doesn't matter how talented you are in hiding the truth of your life from others, your internal mirror is always there waiting to show who you really are. It can become incredibly difficult to keep up the façade behind which we hide, and it seems the more we try, the more we begin to develop self-loathing of our true selves.
Inside vs. Outside
Some of us have physical attributes we do not like and these are the ones we know everyone else can see. While we can take steps to improve our physical selves, we are also more prone to talk about these to others. Obviously, we realize our physical selves are in direct awareness of those we interact with.
Our personality traits are a different matter. When we meet someone new or begin working in a new environment, we wish to put our best foot forward. Therefore, those attributes we have been conditioned to believe are unattractive about ourselves are the ones we strive to conceal. It is not easy to keep up the façade, and once the mask begins to slip it is not so much that our true selves are revealed that causes others to react negatively or withdraw, but more that they become uncomfortable with the inconsistency of what is real and what is not.
Our sense of self is largely based upon our early relationships. Whatever we like or dislike about ourselves begins with what others like or dislike about us. The irony is that what others like or dislike about us is often based upon projections of what they find unattractive or unlikable about themselves.
Persons who have the healthiest sense of self are generally those who take time alone for self-reflection - time without outside interference. It is important that we develop a relationship with ourselves - without outside interferences influencing the way we think and feel about ourselves. When we are with others we constantly assess and analyze their facial and vocal responses to us, and often read the worst from them.
If we do not take the time to know ourselves, and if all we know of ourselves is what others tell us, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. It is important to take stock of ourselves and to be honest regarding those attributes we do not like. We must be courageous enough to look into our internal mirror and reflect upon our true selves to really see ourselves as we are, not as others project us to be.
Ridding ourselves of negative projections is not easy, but it is necessary. We cannot take responsibility for how others feel about us, or how they see us. However, we can take responsibility for whether or not we absorb this into our narrative of ourselves. If we take the time to know ourselves, we become better judges of the information we receive from others regarding our behaviors. Just as when we hear someone say something about a friend we know to be untrue or unfounded and come to that person's defense, we must be ready to do the same for ourselves.
Finding time for self-reflection will take some rearranging of time and priorities. This may not be easy. Some may find it helpful to begin with conversations with a therapist or life coach who is trained to listen and provide appropriate feedback. Remember, you are the closest person to you.