We all, at some point or another, have been angry at ourselves, or feel like we let ourselves down. Life can be challenging, and nobody is perfect. We get tired, we make mistakes, and we get upset with ourselves.
But if we constantly dislike ourselves, and feel we are fundamentally undeserving of good things? Then it is a serious problem.
When we don’t like ourselves, we don’t take care of ourselves, or make good decisions for ourselves. Instead, we do things to hurt and punish ourselves.
Not liking ourselves leads to many other issues, which can include:
Again, it might be momentary. You made a bad decision, or hurt someone you love. In this case, it will pass. You realise soon enough that things happen, but that you are okay after all.
But if you never like yourself, if you have constant negative and critical thoughts towards yourself in your head? Then there will be a deeper root.
And often, this is adverse childhood experiences, like neglect or poor parenting. Or it is childhood trauma, like abuse.
As a child who is victimised, we are unable to understand, and can then decide we somehow did something wrong. It’s all our fault.
We grow up into adults who consciously know this is not true. But unconsciously, the hidden beliefs persist. We are flawed, unloveable, and it’s all our fault. No wonder we struggle to like ourselves.
When we have negative core beliefs like these, we then unconsciously make decisions to ‘prove’ them true.
We choose bad partners who don’t love us and ‘prove’ we are unloveable. Or even tell us point blank, using verbal abuse, that we are no good. But we chose to date them. We made the decision.
Or we unconsciously sabotage things at work. We show up late, then do a half-hearted job of a presentation, ‘proving’ we are flawed. But it’s you who is making those little decisions, or, rather, your belief system pushing you to make them.
Deciding you have had enough and want it to stop is a powerful first step.
From there, it can be a question of learning who you really are. Often our self-hatred has blinded us for so long, it’s like meeting ourselves for the first time if we decide to try to like ourselves.
Tools to help with self-awareness are journaling, creativity, and mindfulness.
Self-compassion is a great tool to cultivate here. It’s the art of treating yourself like a friend.
Imagine, for a moment, if your friend told you they had the same issue as you. Say, they can’t seem to find a romantic partner. Would you tell them the things in your head, like, "You are a loser, and unloveable, what do you expect?"
Or would you give them gentle advice? Tell them that they need to stay true to their values, follow their passions, and the right person will come?
What would it feel like if you started to talk to yourself like that?
Or give compassion-focused therapy a try. It's a form of therapy that focuses on helping you be compassionate first with yourself, and then others. In the process you'll find that you have more self-esteem, and feel better about being you.
Ready to work with a therapist and start to like yourself? Use our easy booking tool to find your perfect talk therapist now.