It’s so tragic to hear someone say “I hate myself.” But down deep, many people do. It seems there are so many things in this world that attack our self-esteem and sense of worth. Some people, perhaps even you, are locked in their own personal jail, full of self-loathing, desperately wanting to get out, but not believing they can.
Have you ever heard someone say they hate themselves? It might seem like they are just crying out for attention. But many times, it’s a very honest evaluation of how miserable someone feels about himself or herself, even if it sounds exaggerated or overly dramatic.
Caroline described her self-hatred like this: “For a while I hated myself because I thought I wasn’t good enough to be in this world. I thought I was ugly, stupid, and weird. I wished I could have been someone else.”
So why do people hate themselves? We took a poll on my website, and asked what reasons you might have had to hate yourself. The majority of people said it was something about their appearance, followed closely by “I didn’t feel loved,” and then “I failed at a relationship.” Each of these could be their own blogs. But for now, let’s examine what I see to be some of the greatest causes of self-hate.
When bad things happen, the worst thing you can do is
spiral down into self-pity.
Life is exhausting – When bad things happen, we often blame ourselves. It’s easy to let this blame turn into self-hatred and suck the very life out of us. This can leave us depleted of any kind of self-worth or love.
Betsy wrote: “I hated myself for a while and wished I could just disappear. I felt that I wasn’t worth anything and wondered why anyone would want to waste their time on me.”
Sometimes self-hate is nothing more than emotional exhaustion. It’s important to remember that painful, challenging, and hard times are going to happen. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break and get some rest. You will look much better to yourself when you are rested.
Rejection or Abandonment – Everyone will experience rejection of some sort. It’s normal. But it’s difficult. Not everybody is going to love you, or accept you.
But it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, and that you should hate yourself because of it.
Tom wrote: “I used to live consumed with thoughts about what everybody else was thinking about me. I felt like people were constantly rejecting me. I imagined all the worst things, even though there was no way of actually knowing what people were thinking. I had to quit, or else I’d go crazy.”
Sometimes when people experience rejection or abandonment, they turn the responsibility onto themselves, as if they are the ones who caused the pain. Don’t let what other people think about you determine what you think of yourself. The freedom you experience when you let go of this burden, like Tom did, will give you great joy. He’s right, it’s not worth going crazy over something you really can’t control.
Thinking bad thoughts about yourself – This is kind of like self-rejection. You see something about yourself that you think is stupid or ugly and you think criticizing yourself about it will somehow make it go away. It won’t. It will actually make it worse. A lot of people feel ugly. Or fat. Or inadequate. It’s like the whole human race suffers from deep, low self-esteem.
Mona wrote: “I hate who I’ve become. I know there is a hardworking, honest, skinny person inside me somewhere, but most of the time I think about how far to the negative I’ve come, then get even angrier at myself for not working harder to become the person I know I can be.”
Why should I hate someone God loves so much?
The fight against self-hate is an on-going battle in all of us. Some struggle with it more than others. But it seems to always be there working in the shadows, waiting to pounce on us, and take us down. One thought that has helped me in this struggle is God’s love for me. I ask myself, “Why should I hate someone God loves so much? Why should I slap Him across the face?” He’s the one who made me, and He did it for a very special reason. There is no one else in the whole world who is just like you or me. Isn’t that incredible? That person…YOU…is worth loving.