Self-hatred is like living with your greatest enemy inside of you, making it hard to be motivated to do anything. How can you start to get beyond an endless voice in your head that says “I hate myself”?

1. Recognise that you are not your thoughts.

The thing about thinking “I hate myself” is that we buy into the voice saying so. We think that our mind’s soundtrack is ‘the truth”.

Absolutely not.

Unless we’ve done the inner work, it’s instead the programming we received as a child, and from the things we lived through. Our real self is long buried.

TRY THIS: Try to catch a thought. Then find its exact opposite. Once you find that, search for the thought in the middle. So if you hear yourself saying, "I am stupid", the opposite is “I am a genius”. The middle ground would be “I sometimes do stupid things but I’m fairly intelligent”. This is called 'balanced thinking' in CBT therapy, and it’s a key to better moods.

2. Quit comparing yourself to other people.

When we compare ourselves to other people, we are comparing ourselves not to who they really are, but to our own false ideas about them.

We see what we want to see, not realising that most people have their own struggles and issues, and might be even unhappier than we are.

TRY THIS: If you need to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to you. How can you feel a little bit better today than you did yesterday? How far have you come without realising it since five years ago? Even better, write down three achievements each day, even if it’s small things like cooking a healthy meal.

3. Stop trying to ‘love yourself’.

The idea that we have to ‘love ourselves’ to be happy is perhaps one of the worst myths to come out of modern Western culture. It’s instead created a platform for many people to hate themselves when they can’t find the elusive ‘self love’ they are told exists.

Nobody loves themeselves all the time. And it’s perfectly fine to sometimes be upset with yourself.

Try to simply let yourself off the hook more often and respect yourself, even though you mess up. Aim to just like yourself most of the time. And you will find that this is more than enough.

TRY THIS: Write a letter to one of your friends giving them advice over a recent mistake they made, encouraging them to keep going. Now read the letter again, changing the name at the top to your own. How does it feel to treat yourself like a friend? This is the art of self-compassion, a new movement in psychotherapy shown to raise self-esteem and has even led to the creation of ‘compassion-based therapy’.

4. Change your time zone.

Self-hate thrives on things we did ‘wrong’ in the past, and all the mistakes we are surely going to make in the future.

But what about right now, in the present moment? Where everything is usually manageable?

By training yourself to stay in the moment, anxiety and depression lower, and you can create some room to breathe.

TRY THIS: Read our article now on ‘Mindfulness Meditation’. It's used by many therapists in work with clients as its is easy-to-learn and pulls you into the present.

5. Seek support.

Self-hatred can be blinding. And friends and family, no matter how well meaning, can not see straight either. They instead judge us based on things long past, or their own expectations that have more to do with them then you.

A trained professional, like a counsellor or psychotherapist, is unbiased. They create a non judgemental environment for you to unload in, and then help you see totally different perspectives of your life and yourself.

Time to quit hating on yourself and start freeing up your energy for better things? Use our easy booking tool now to find a therapist you like at a price you can afford, and start being the you you were meant to be.

Andrea M. Darcy is a health writer and mental health coach who found liking herself hard as a teen. But don't give up! These days she likes her own company best.

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