The problem with hating yourself.

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped liking myself. I remember as a child thinking I was about the coolest kid around. Somewhere between strutting into second grade flaunting my stirrup pants with pride and entering fifth grade insecure and trying to just copy the cool kids something in me was lost. It was the beginning of the end. The older I got the more I struggled to like myself. Mine is a common story. Insecurities grew into heavy self loathing in adulthood. It is only now that I have hit rock bottom and started my climb back out that I can fully see the magnitude of the wreckage my years of self hate created.

The problem with not loving myself was that I cut everyone is my life off from loving me too. I have been surrounded by kind and loving people, but I couldn’t accept their love. I couldn’t really feel it. Who could love me? Anyone who showed me love was probably doing so out of pity anyways. I was convinced I was completely unlovable (me and Bachelor Ben Higgins).  Acts of love went unaccepted simply because I was too sick to feel them. This created HUGE problems in my relationships. I put walls up, stopped trusting anyone and convinced myself no one loved me.

The problem with hating me was that I used it as justification to sink deeper in my hole. Of course I just yelled at my kids again, it’s because I’m a terrible mom. Why even try anymore? Of course I failed at that diet, I have no self control. So why continue trying? Why keep fighting to be the person I actually want to be when I will obviously fail because I’m the worst. As long as I hated myself, this was my thinking. It created an endless cycle of poor behavior compounded by enough self hate to convince myself to just give up and stay in the hell I had created.

When I spent time hating myself, I was being selfish. Self pity is one of the most toxic forms of self obsession. Every moment spent obsessing over insecurity is a moment spent thinking about ME. When I spent that kind of time thinking about myself, I had nothing to give anyone around me. I had nothing to offer because I was too enveloped in worrying about myself. Of course I didn’t see it this way then. This one is a biggy because it makes healthy relationships impossible. I couldn’t be a contributing half in a loving relationship when I hated myself. This applies to marriage, friendships, and motherhood.

The problem with hating myself was that it left me hopeless. I felt trapped. I was miserable, isolated, and felt like I was falling short in every aspect of my life, which only confirmed what I already knew: that I was awful. I was a difficult person to be around. I was impossible to love. I hung my hopes on all sort of conditions. I would love myself if I lost weight, if I finished college, if I was successful in my career. The bottom line is that none of that mattered. When I hated myself, no circumstantial life change or accomplishment could fix my brain. No one could fix it for me, I had to dig myself out.

Understanding my poor relationship with myself was the root of much of my suffering and was also killing the people around me was a big wake up call. I can’t always control the first thought that pops into my head but I can control what I do with it. Talking to myself lovingly and always encouraging myself rather than attacking myself constantly has helped. Not allowing myself to slip into self pity when I make a mistake has helped. Making true self care a priority has helped.

When I started to heal my relationship with myself my whole world changed. I am suddenly becoming the person I always hoped I could be. I am more motivated than ever to work on my flaws and achieve self improvement. I learn from my mistakes rather than punishing myself with them. I feel love from people around me, and am able to love them back. My head is a happy, inventive place rather than a torture chamber. I have learned this is a battle I will have to fight every day of my life.  Some days I just don’t want to. I want to lay in my bed and become consumed by the darkness, but I know that isn’t the way to the person I want to be. 

Learning to love myself gave me the power to change myself, but it has only been successful because I learned to love myself as I was. If you pin your self-love on potential circumstances of the future, it will never come. If you don’t love you now, you won’t love the skinnier, richer, more accomplished you either. Most importantly, learning to love myself gave me the capacity to stop the self obsession and love the people around me.

1 comment

  1. Hi Julie, I just found you on Periscope a couple of weeks ago and have been reading your blog since then as well. I just wanted to tell you thank you and that I had no idea that others were going through the same things as me. I have no idea how to get myself out of it but I know that I want to and leave the feelings of the last 20 years behind me. I have used food as a comfort my whole entire life. I have hated myself because I couldn't diet, exercise enough or be skinny enough. I've been up and down on the scale for years and I honestly never thought that I needed to take care of myself emotionally in order to overcome it. Your periscopes and blog have completely changed my way of thinking. And you have given me hope that I can open up my heart and love myself and let others love me as well. I have been so disconnected from my children, my marriage, and others because....well why even try to connect with them? I would probably fail or they wouldn't really love me. My point in saying all of this is just to say thank you for writing and saying the things I have needed to hear my whole life. You'll never know just how grateful I am.