As a therapist I am not surprised by the amount of self-hate people share. What is surprising is that so many argue for the right to be run be this self-hate as if they have earned it. Self-hate is all about the past where the inner critic lives in our thoughts and the ego thrives because we are sure that we are not ok. Just yesterday I was talking to a staff person who allows the opinions of others to shape her inner response to herself. This is not the way of the compassionate heart within us but the limiting programming of our formative years.
In our society, families and schools we are taught to not be ok with ourselves from a very early age and that is true even in the best of situations. In dysfunctional families we may start the self-hate programming before birth. Most of this programming was not done maliciously but was past down in the form of negative parenting patterns through generations. Schools, churches and other institutions are reflection of our judging nature.
How all this self-condemnation came about is covered very well in Cheri Huber’s book, There Is Nothing Wrong With You. This book should be a basic text in health classes in all schools. How we can undo this mess of the mind.
Here are eight basics strategies for beginning the transition from self-hate to self-care:
1. Spend time each day tuning in and becoming aware of what is going on inside. This means paying attention to your thoughts, your feelings, your body messages and your senses. With awareness you then have choices. Awareness and choices are essential to change.
2. Tuning inward is key but it needs to be done impartially, free of the inner critic/judging mind. This self-judgment is highly trained within all of us and really damaging. You are an expert at what you think is wrong with you. How much do you know about what is right about you? Impartiality, compassionate observing of self is very liberating.
3. Focus instead on what is right about you. Study your strengths, explore your potential, see where your interests take you, and find out what brings you genuine happiness. A positive view of self is simply a healthier and more pleasant way to live in the world. In the rightness of who you are is a deep peace.
4. Start redoing the programming of your mind. Your self-talk shapes your experience of the world. If you talk to yourself in kind, encouraging and compassionate ways you will start to care about yourself. Mindfulness and meditation are wonderful tools for reprogramming.
5. Come to the understanding that all your feelings are ok. Each day make it your practice to acknowledge what you are feeling and do your best to accept every emotion that flows through you. This is self-caring and a kind thing to do. Denied emotions turn into tension toward self. Acknowledged feelings pass on through effortlessly.
6. Make a commitment to being in the present moment as much as possible. Thoughts about the past and future take you away from the now where the real action of life is. Today you can make things happen and feel good about yourself. In the now the judgments of the past fall away and the worries about the future don’t exist.
7. Start each day with this statement: “I fully love and accept myself.” You are an intelligent human being, full of potential, with a big heart, a unique purpose, and endless possibilities. Remember your sense of self is not dependent on the approval of others. What others think doesn’t really matter; what does matter is what you think of yourself.
8. Find where you spirit resides within you. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. The golden path to your spirit is silence. In silence you make contact with your higher nature, your intuition, and your consciousness, which are all aspects of your spirit. Listen to the call of your spirit throughout your day and you will be guided to the most amazing life.
Self-acceptance is a really good place to restart our lives. That restart can happen today and everyday. Here is a great self-care article for inspiration.