I woke up late today and had to rush to get ready to head to school with Zack. I have an interview later and I couldn’t find my brush and nothing was going right. I felt like I was failing everything. The was supposed to start off good, I was supposed to be excited about this upcoming interview. But instead, I was thinking about how ugly I was going to look because I had to rush. I was thinking about how I didn’t prepare enough so I was going to fail the interview. I was being all around negative and hateful to myself.
Have you ever felt like you hated yourself, for one reason or another? Where does it all come from? When does it all start? Babies don’t come out hating themselves, right? Is it taught? Is it embedded in our genes? Thankfully, I found several articles to help me understand all of this.
However, I want to start by dispelling a myth that has changed the world. What is that myth? Well, many people today believe that girls get their negative self-image from dolls and cartoons they watch. For example, Dora the Explorer and other iconic kids shows used to be rounder in size (because they’re kids) but people were claiming their size was making their kids obese. Seriously? No, you want to know where I got my negative self-image? I got it from family, friends, and other girls who bullied me. It had nothing to do with Barbie’s unrealistic size. I never once thought, “I want to be her size, because it’s what’s pretty.” I saw Barbie as a doll, not as something to aspire to. I never once looked at the old Care-bears and thought, “Look at their size, I should eat more to be like that.” We need to stop blaming unrelated sources for the issues other females are causing. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to fix it and it only gets worse as you get older. It turns from what other people are saying to you and about you, to what YOU are saying to you and about you.
Ok, back to what I was saying in the beginning. First of all, I want to say that I found an amazing video that I will add below. I hope you watch it because it’s important and goes along with what I said above.
Now, I found an article titled “The Psychology of Insecurity: Where Does Self-hatred Come From?” This answers many of the questions I just posed above: where does it all come from? When does it all start? Babies don’t come out hating themselves, right? Is it taught? Is it embedded in our genes? The article states, “Nobody is born with a gene for self-hatred – it’s an environmental and cultural development that comes from your place in society and your experiences.” This is so unfortunate that the people who are supposed to help us, only cause us to hate ourselves. But it’s not all because you were abused, the article also states, “You can feel insecure simply because your parents worked too much as a kid or had to divide their time among too many siblings. A child’s early identity formation is crucial, and if no one is around to teach them they are valuable, special, and loved, they can have a hard time feeling it later on.” The article ends with saying, “It’s difficult to pinpoint one underlying cause of insecurity. It can start in childhood or it can develop over time. It can cripple you mentally and emotionally, or it can simply make it hard to ask the girl at the bar for her number. But what really matters is that virtually everyone is insecure in one way or another. When you’re working to overcome to absorption of negative attitudes and beliefs about yourself, remember that almost everyone you know has gone through the same battle.”
This was such a blessing to find. Sometimes it’s a good reminder that other people go through this also. But how can I love myself again? How can love me the way I did when I was little? For this, I turned to another article titled “How to Turn Self-Hatred into Self-Compassion” The thing that you need to focus on, according to the article, is self-compassion. The five things they give are as follows:
- Talk to yourself the way you talk to someone you care about
- Recognize that beliefs do not equal truths
- Embrace the concept of “good enough”
- Consider turning to spirituality or religion
- If you hate yourself for mistakes you made, make amends
Let me talk about these for a moment. First, talking to yourself as if you were talking to someone you love is a good way to look at it. I would never have told my grandma that she’s ugly or fat because I never saw her that way. I saw her as this beautiful, loving, strong woman, who could overcome anything life threw at her. How do I see myself? Definitely not that way…more like the opposite. Second, recognizing the way you believe as not being true is a huge thing. I know I’m not ugly but I tell myself I am. Why? Because other people have told me that I am. Third, how do we embrace the concept of “good enough?” The dictionary says, “adequately good for the circumstances.” We don’t have to be perfect, no one is, but we can do our best and leave the rest up to God. That brings us to number four, turning to spirituality or religion. The whole topic in sacrament meeting yesterday was self-esteem and self-love. One of the speakers said that when you know you are daughter (or son) of God, how can you hate yourself? This hit home for me. No matter who I am or what I do, he will always love me. Perhaps I need to focus on seeing myself the way he sees me? Lastly, number five, make amends for the mistakes you hate yourself for. This could be easier said than done. I am one of those people who lay in bed some nights and a thought comes to my mind, reminding me of what I did wrong months ago and how stupid I was. It’s hard to let go of those things. I think this relates a lot to my post about learning to forgive people who hurt us, honestly, because we hurt ourselves.
You may be wondering why I am focusing on this today. Well, for one thing, it’s one of my 30 before 30 items that I need to check off and this helps me hold myself accountable. I’m not going to say that I completely love myself today but I’m working on it. Second, the topic in church yesterday made me want to post about it. I guess that’s how the spirit works, isn’t it?
As always, thank you for visiting my blog. This post took me some time to do because a) I wanted to give you the best information I could and b) no one likes to admit they don’t love themselves. I hope you can check out the inner voice video as well as the song and other articles I added below. Keep coming back each week for new content. I love you all and I hope this helps you learn to love yourselves as well.
8 Ways to Increase Your Self-Love by Elyse Santilli
A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love: Self-love is an action not a state of feeling good by Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D