We all have a voice in our heads that describes, analyses and judges our day-to-day experiences, and I’m sure it annoyed you at least once! That slippery troublemaker just won’t stop chattering. It’s an endless stream of thoughts and opinions we tell ourselves every day.
It’s hard to determine what exactly this inner voice wants to achieve, but the connection to self-hate is evident. Humans have this peculiar process called internalization, they adopt external beliefs and ideas as their own. Self-hate stems from negative ones. It’s an independent internal process with a life of its own, designed to judge everything you do based on harmful beliefs. Why is it an independent process?
Because self-hate is a “HOW”!
The aspects of you it hates are the “what”. For example, your body shape, your hair, your awkwardness, your personality–the list is endless. It doesn’t matter what you look like, for instance. It will find that flaw, criticize you for it, and make your life difficult.
3 Forms Self-hate Takes
The voice of self-hate is NOT your friend. It’s different from hating something about yourself and genuinely trying to change it, self-hate has no purpose and hating is just what it does. Here are some forms it takes:
1. Unhealthy Doses of Perfectionism
Attempting to be perfect isn’t a bad thing. You wouldn’t strive for quality, improvement, and precision in your work for example if you didn’t have this driving force.
But there’s a fine line between healthy striving for excellence and being good enough. People plagued by perfectionism don’t know where to draw the line. The voice perpetuates judgment and shame on them, with no room for questioning the faulty logic behind it.
2. You Accept Blame but not Credit
Even if you accept a bit of credit, you won’t feel good about it for long because your ‘helpful’ little voice will be on a mission to find what you could have done better. On one hand, if you do something well, it’s:
• A gift from the universe
• Thanks to your parents
• Thanks to your mentor
On the other hand, if you mess up or fail, it’s all your fault.
3. You’re too Nice
Yes! I know it’s shocking. Being nice is supposed to be a positive thing, everybody tells you that–society, media, family…
But, if you’re nice enough to be put into the people-pleasing gray area, it’s at the expense of beating yourself up. You can’t be a good person if you’re consistently treating yourself the way a bad person would.
4 Tips to Turn Down the Voice of Self-hate
There’s a truckload of other forms that self-hate takes, and you can spend a lot of time trying to figure out everything wrong with your voice. However, focusing too much on what’s wrong can sometimes be destructive. So, let’s focus instead on what you can do to deal with it.
This one speaks for itself. If you’re ever going to take control of your inner voice, you need to prove to yourself that nothing happens if you don’t react. Here’s how it works:
a. You sit in position
b. Try to relax and focus on your breath.
c. A random thought breaks in and you wander off
d. You become aware and drop it.
e. Shift your attention back to your breath
f. Another thought pops up, repeat c, d, e
You do this over and over again during your meditation practice, and the takeaway message is that nothing goes wrong, nothing happens to you. You can literally sit there, do nothing, and be perfectly fine. By doing this, you create a certain distance between “you” and your thoughts. You’re not resisting them anymore, you’re not reacting either, you’re comfortable with them.
As a result, that little voice is now your best friend. You successfully took away self-hate’s power over you!
2. Practice Gratitude
Did you know that your brain is wired to focus on negative experiences more than positive ones? Psychologists call this negativity bias, but let’s not go deep into that. This means that you need to remind yourself on a regular basis of the beautiful things in your life and be grateful for them in order to be happy.
Taking the time to notice little things (usually taken for granted) can overpower the negative plethora your inner critic offers. Do you know how grateful I am that there are people like you out there willing to become better people? Do you know how thankful I am that you’re willing to read my advice?
I will never take for granted your time and attention.
That being said, there are plenty of things YOU can be thankful for. I can come up with a list right away just based on the fact that you have internet and you can read.
Sure, bad things exist. Even if they aren’t happening to you right now, there are plenty of news articles and social media posts to help simulate the experience… You can practically drown yourself into a sea of bad news with one click.
But having a sense of gratitude allows you to step up and take hold of the steering wheel. There’s so much opportunity if you’re just willing to see it. Determine the direction of your life and work hard for it starting TODAY.
3. Compassion is Key
Picture what kind of person you would befriend. Is it someone who’s constantly on the offensive, never letting go of any opportunity to point out just how bad of a person you are and how pathetic your life is?
Chances are you’d avoid this kind of person like the plague.
So, why do you keep doing this to yourself? Because it’s what you’ve been taught to do. You somehow got the message that being harsh on yourself will make a compassionate, kind person out of you. WRONG!
Unless you learn how to have compassion for yourself when you really need it, you can’t give it to others. It’s as simple as that. You have to practice what you preach to yourself first. Besides, it feels great to have compassion; it frees up lots of space for growth and happiness.
There are many ways to have compassion for yourself. The strongest one is to start seeing your self-hate voice as a vulnerable, lost, ignorant and misguided part of you. How can your heart not soften when you realize how much you’ve been struggling?
4. Fake it Till You Make it
You’ve practiced meditation, gratitude, and learned to treat yourself with compassion. What if your self-hate voice still pops up more than you would like to?
The answer is more compassion. Whenever you catch your voice saying bad things about you, be compassionate by saying something good to yourself instead. This may sound phony and not genuine enough if you assume that “fake it” means to pretend to be someone you’re not, which is wrong.
On the contrary, you’re drawing gratitude and compassion from the rawest hidden parts inside of you. The “fake it till you make it” part of the equation is only there to help you take practical steps to becoming the best version of yourself. You’ll feel a real change once you act as if you’re already compassionate and grateful.
In a nutshell
Although the self-hate voice is full of negative things to say about you, you can choose to embrace it. You can listen to it (you have no choice, it’s in your head) from a place of compassion and empathy. It’s actually helpful to be aware of it. Just watch out and don’t believe it!
Author Bio: Mina is a personal development/self-help/mental health freelance writer. She built writer-pedia to share her articles with people. She has a soft spot for people in a rut and wishes to inspire them with her writing. Her goal is to provide timely insight and help. For her, it’s purpose before profit. She appreciates authenticity, so her content tends to be well-researched and candid.