Self-Hate

How To Stop Self-Hate & Forgive Yourself

We hear one thing over and over from people who reach out to TheHopeline: “I hate myself, and I don’t know what to do about it.” 

If you struggle with self-hatred, or the behaviors and thought patterns that tend to go with it, you can shift to a healthier mindset and begin living your life more fully.
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The Heart of the Matter

If you want to know how to stop hating yourself, it's time to dig down to the root of the problem. If you’re naturally critical, or always working on yourself, you might wonder how to tell if you hate yourself. Have thoughts like this ever crossed your mind?

• I can’t believe how [ugly, fat, stupid, etc.] I am
• I am such a failure. I knew I would mess this up
• I wish I could stop being a screw-up, but I think that’s just who I am
Everyone thinks I’m a loser, and I get why.

If you’ve had these thoughts, you know what it feels like to struggle with the despair of self-loathing. If you want to stop hating yourself, it’s important to understand not only that these intense feelings come from a place of pain, but that the pain can be healed.

Physical

If you struggle with issues of self-hate or having a low opinion of yourself, this can manifest into physical symptoms. When so much of your energy is spent on worrying, you will feel fatigued. You may also neglect your own physical care such as eating healthy, exercising, and having good hygiene. Self-hate has a connection to low self-esteem, so you may tend to slouch putting you at risk of developing spinal issues and muscle aches.

Emotional

Self-hate can really take a toll on your emotions. You'll likely second guess almost everything you do. You might be struggling with shame or guilt. This constant worry will negatively impact your mental strength, making it hard to focus on anything positive. When we are mentally tired, we are also emotionally depleted. You may experience regular mood swings, with angry outbursts and times of severe sadness.

Spiritual

Your spirit holds the essence of who you are. If you are struggling with the issue of self-hate, it will begin to break down your spirit. A broken spirit will cause you to feel hopeless about life. There is a strong connection between how you view yourself and your spiritual health. This is a good time to talk with a minister, pastor or someone you trust about your greater purpose and where your identity is found.

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Check out these stories of hope from others who have struggled with this issue.

The Source of Your Pain

If you have long-term, deep-rooted feelings of hate toward yourself, it didn’t happen overnight. Thinking through the parts of your life that affect how you see yourself can be useful in making things better.

Abuse: If you are or have been in an abusive relationship with a family member, friend, or romantic partner, you’ve been hurt by others repeatedly over a long period of time. It doesn’t matter whether the abuse is mental, physical, or emotional. Since it’s driven by someone attacking who you are, abuse can have a pronounced negative effect on how you see yourself and the world, causing you to fall into the trap of self-loathing.

Grief: For many, grief includes self-blame, which can quickly turn into self-hatred. If you find yourself asking “Why couldn’t I be there more?” or “Why didn’t I give more of my time and energy to them when I had the chance?” and becoming very angry in the process, hating yourself could be tied to your grief.

Mental or physical illness: If you struggle with physical or mental health challenges (especially depression and suicidal thoughts), it’s likely that you’re more often faced with your weaknesses than your strengths. This can skew your view of yourself and your worth towards the negative, which often leads to self-hate.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

— 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV

Expectations of perfection: The same is true if you grew up in a family, church, or friend group that emphasized a perfectionist mentality. Since no one is perfect, the feeling of failure that comes with perfectionism can lead to blaming and hating yourself, even when your mistakes and weaknesses don’t have serious consequences.
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Forgiveness and Acceptance

There’s good news if you want to know how to stop hating yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. God is full love for you and ready to show mercy toward you, no matter how much you may wrestle with doubt or grapple with your faith. Praying for even a short while each day, or asking others for prayer on those days when it feels like you hate yourself most, are important steps toward freeing yourself from those painful, toxic emotions.

Many mental health professionals agree that there are several key mindset shifts you can build into your daily routine to help you move away from self-loathing.

Self-acceptance: It can be freeing to understand that everyone around you makes mistakes and has limitations. To understand how to stop hating yourself, you must fully accept your weaknesses, your shortcomings, or to make peace with things you can’t control makes you human. And that’s a good thing!

Self-love: If the Gospel calls you to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), healthy self-love must be part of living a joyful life and fulfilling our purpose. You can love yourself in a way that isn’t self-centered and that better equips you to relate to and care for others.

Self-forgiveness: A lot will change when you’re able to forgive yourself for past failures and mistakes. There may be lasting consequences for some of our choices which are difficult enough, but there’s no reason to heap additional punishment on yourself.

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

Self-hate has a strong and loud voice which will consistently speak negative self-talk to your soul. It's time to protect your soul. Self-hate convinces you that it’s speaking truth about your worth when it's actually speaking lies. You have to speak truth to your soul in order to kick out those lies. This needs to be done often, with consistency.

One of these truths is that God thinks you are precious and He's sticking with you. As it says in Psalm 139:17- 18, How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

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