There’s someone in this world who constantly thinks of you, cares about you, wants you to live a better life, gets sad when you fail, and becomes happy when you succeed. That person is YOU. Hating yourself is tantamount to hating your greatest ally in life.
Self-loathing sucks the joy of living out of you, renders you weak to deal with the hardships of life, and destroys your relationships with other people.
This article is a hard one for me to write because I used to hate myself too. It pains me to look back in my life and remember the times when I was my own greatest enemy but thankfully I no longer hate myself. In this article, I’ll share the strategies that worked for me to overcome self-loathing.
Symptoms of Self-Hatred
Here are the common symptoms of self-hate, the degree of which differs from person to person:
- Neglecting self-care. Bad personal hygiene, unkempt hair, wrinkly clothing, etc…
- Overindulgence in porn, alcohol, cigarettes, eating, and video games. These activities usually point to a lack of serotonin in your brain. If your life sucks, your brain will fail to produce enough serotonin for you to feel contentment with your life, so you will be inclined to compensate for the lack of serotonin by engaging in activities that provide instant gratification. They are all inferior substitutes for the healthy and natural serotonin that’s supposed to be the result of real-life achievements. Activities that provide instant gratification further cripple your ability to achieve in real life so you need to increase the level of your indulgence to compensate for the further lack of serotonin that’s caused by the further lack of real-life achievements. Things will keep getting worse until you manage to get out of this vicious circle.
- Defeatism. The mindset of “I’ll never achieve this and that because I’m too short, old/young, stupid, socially awkward, introverted, etc.”
- Hating people. If you hate yourself others won’t love you because why should they? Even YOU hate yourself. It’s easy to see how this can result in hating human beings altogether.
- Neediness. Self-hate wreaks havoc on your self-sufficiency which results in severe neediness which, of course, repels others.
- Failure to set boundaries. Self-loathing makes it hard for you to say “no” or to stand up for yourself since you want to avoid conflict and prevent other people from hating you, which results in people taking advantage of you, walking all over you, and disrespecting you.
- Seeking approval. This is the manifestation of the “if others love me, I can love myself too” mindset. It always backfires because everybody hates people who seek approval.
- Virtue signaling. A subset of seeking approval but deserves its own bullet point because, thanks to social media, it’s the most ubiquitous manifestation of self-loathing. Virtue signaling results from the need to constantly prove to other people how selfless you are, how much you care about unfortunate animals, environmental issues, social justice, etc.
- Being overly proud of your non-achievements. When I hated myself I would constantly pat myself on the back that I’m a leftist. I equated being a leftist to being a good person who’s staunchly against fascism, racism, imperialism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Nevertheless, it was a manifestation of self-hate because being a leftist isn’t an accomplishment. It’s not like “I worked hard for five years and finally managed to be a leftist”. Similarly, being overly proud of your non-achievements such as your race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, etc. usually points to a lack of real-life accomplishments and an inferiority complex.
- Oneitis. Self-hating men tend to pedestalize women. Oneitis is a massive sign of self-loathing because it’s the epitome of depending on another person in order to be able to love yourself. It’s the manifestation of “if a woman can love me that means I can love myself too” mindset. Needless to say, it always backfires and the subject of your oneitis ends up rejecting or dumping you which in turn causes you to hate yourself even more.
- Settling. Settling is a manifestation of the feeling that you don’t deserve better things in life.
It’s no surprise that I used to display many of the symptoms above at the times when I hated myself. I used to be fat, I drank beer and watched porn every day, and I developed oneitis with every girl that I was involved with. As a result, I hated my life.
It’s amazing how everything fell into place when I took the necessary steps and stopped hating myself. I no longer drink, watch porn, develop oneitis and I’m ripped with six-pack abs. Also, I’m no longer a leftist and I am not right-wing either. I am just no longer interested in politics. I fully depend on myself to make my life better. As a result, I love my life and I’m very optimistic about the future.
Common Reasons for Self-Loathing
Self-loathing usually results from conscious or subconscious beliefs of inferiority. It’s highly unlikely that you sit down one day and decide to hate yourself. Here are the common reasons for self-loathing:
- Upbringing. Raising a child is a difficult task. If your parents or your teachers failed to properly attend to your needs or made you feel inferior, you might have developed a case of self-loathing. (P.S.: Helping victims of child abuse is beyond the scope of this article. If you suffered from abuse during your childhood, you should probably seek professional help.)
- Real or imagined shortcomings. You have limiting beliefs such as you are stupid, ugly, short, unlikeable that causes you to believe that you are worthless.
- Low socioeconomic status. If you believe your socioeconomic status to be low, you might end up hating yourself. Low social and/or economic status don’t always go hand in hand. You can be financially in good shape but find yourself lacking in social skills and vice versa. Real or imagined low socioeconomic status results in serotonin deficiency in your brain, which in turn leads to self-loathing.
- Lack of discipline. Lack of discipline is essentially the failure to exert self-control against instant gratification. Laziness, overeating, too much alcohol, lack of physical exercise are all symptoms of a severe lack of discipline and often cause you to end up hating yourself.
- Mental and/or physical weakness. Modern living comes with its own difficulties but with a lot of comforts as well. We no longer need to hunt for our food, fight to protect our tribe or deal with early life illnesses which used to cause early death or disabilities. The lack of hardship and physical activity cripples our ability to develop mental and physical strength which in turn causes us to hate ourselves because we are still a part of nature and we instinctively despise weakness.
- Breaking the rules. Many people suffer from self-hate due to the failure to measure up to the standards of society. If you don’t follow the socially accepted trajectory of “be born-go to school-get a job-get married-have kids-retire-die”, the society has systems in place to shame you and make you feel inferior.
- Failure and rejection. School teaches us that failure is bad while in real life failure is necessary for eventual success. Many people mistreat rejection and failure as resulting from an inherent personal shortcoming which causes self-loathing when in many cases these two have either nothing to do with you or they rarely point to your inherent shortcomings.
- Religious dogma. If you were raised religious, you might hate yourself for being a sinner by breaking the rules of your religion. Religion is an outdated lie but since people are indoctrinated with it during childhood, it might be hard to shake off in adulthood. (P.S.: Arguing about religion is pointless as it’s an irrational belief so if you hate yourself for being a sinner you should seek help elsewhere.)
How to Stop Hating Yourself
While it isn’t easy, overcoming self-hatred is possible through changing your mindset and behaviors. The goal is not to fall head over heels in love with yourself and be a narcissist. It’s to have a grounded self-image, accept yourself with your flaws, and be content with the direction of your life.
1. Take Good Care of Yourself
Take good care of your body, skin, teeth, hair, and nails, and it’s also essential to dress neat, clean and sharp.
Taking good care of yourself sends your subconscious mind the message that you are an important person who deserves to be taken care of which in turn will improve your confidence and self-esteem. Other people will also treat you better which will reinforce the message your subconscious mind receives from your self-care efforts.
2. Get Physically Strong
Physical strength is considered optional in modern life as we no longer need to hunt for our food or personally defend ourselves against our enemies. As a result, the majority of modern men don’t bother with strength training which is a huge mistake because physical strength is highly correlated to mental strength.
A fairly recent study found that physically strong men believe themselves to have the ability to defend or acquire resources whereas physically weaker men are more likely to support welfare state and wealth redistribution. What the study found isn’t surprising to me because I personally witnessed my outlook on life to shift towards self-sufficiency after I got brutally strong.
Getting physically stronger had a major effect on my self-esteem. My self-hatred replaced itself with self-love and self-respect, a transformation that came as a big surprise to me because, honestly, I had started building muscle in order to attract women.
When you think about it in terms of survival, it makes sense to love yourself more as you get stronger. Nature selects strength. Humans are a part of nature and we instinctively love and respect strength.
Trying to love yourself when you are weak is akin to rowing against the tide. Take advantage of your evolutionary predisposition to love and respect strength by making yourself strong. Henry Rollins once said: “I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect”. Mentally and physically strong people don’t hate themselves.
Developing physical strength isn’t easy but it’s straightforward. You can start today and be stronger than 95% of the population within a few months provided that you train correctly. Being physically strong won’t solve all of your life’s problems but it will greatly improve your self-esteem and make you mentally stronger as well, which will enable you to welcome the further challenges of life with greater confidence.
3. Stop Being Lazy
Human beings innately avoid pain and seek pleasure. Corporations exploit this by constantly pushing modern life temptations down your throat. It takes discipline to say no to high-calorie food, TV, entertainment, porn, video games, and music, alcohol, etc. all of which promise instant gratification.
Instant gratification fails to bring long term satisfaction. The more you fall for it, the more you hate yourself. Be disciplined, say no to instant gratification and seek delayed gratification. You’ll love yourself for it.
4. Strive to Rank Higher In The Social Hierarchy
The modern self-help advice focuses on making people feel precious for merely existing. Slogans such as “be yourself” and “you are perfect just the way you are” are popular.
This type of advice does more harm than good, especially to men, because men aren’t inherently as valuable as women for the reason that sperm is cheap and eggs are expensive.
Unlike a woman, a man is more of raw material rather than a finished product. When you take human biology into account this makes sense because women have a short reproductive life whereas men are reproductive pretty much until they die.
Women don’t have enough time to build themselves from the ground up to make themselves valuable because, think about it, mastering a skill that contributes to the humanity takes years of repetition and practice, for which women just don’t have the time. By the time a woman becomes an entrepreneur, engineer, lawyer, or a surgeon who makes a difference, she would be nearing at least 40 years of age, a time when her reproductive years are almost over.
Thankfully, women don’t need to prove themselves as productive members of society in order to be considered an asset to society. A 20-year-old woman who is not fat is high-value enough to be ranked high in the social hierarchy, but a man’s situation is different. A 20-year-old man is usually far from being a finished project, yet. He must master a few skills before he can carve himself a place higher in the social hierarchy.
Here’s why ranking high in the social hierarchy is directly related to self-love or the lack thereof:
Humans exist in hierarchies that are either stated explicitly or perceived subconsciously. An example of an explicitly stated hierarchy is a corporation where people are assigned a spot in the corporate hierarchy ranging from a minimum wage worker to the CEO of the company. When hierarchies aren’t explicitly stated such as in social gatherings like, for example, a night club, each human being has a subconscious mechanism that tracks his or her status in the crowd and assigns him or her a relevant ranking in the social hierarchy of the particular social environment in question.
This hierarchical order has a profound effect on how we feel about ourselves. The higher you are ranked in the hierarchy the more serotonin your brain will produce. The more serotonin you have in your brain, the happier and the more confident you will feel, and in turn, you’ll love yourself more.
As a man, unless you won the genetic lottery and were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or with superstar genetics, it’s up to you to make something out of yourself. You must build yourself from the ground up and climb the steps up in the human hierarchy in order to prove yourself valuable.
When you build yourself up and manage to rank higher in the hierarchy, you, as well as others, will recognize your high value and you will be amply rewarded. You’ll attract more women, make more money, and befriend high-value men.
Keep in mind that every improvement counts. Unlike a woman’s value which largely depends on her youthfulness and beauty, a man’s value depends on a variety of things including his wealth, physical and mental strength, social skills, confidence, leadership, adventurousness, artistic abilities, popularity, and charisma.
5. Focus More on the Things You Can Change and Less on the Things You Can’t
Many people get stuck in dwelling on the things that they can’t change. You can’t change your past and your genetics.
Looking back at the past and noticing that you wasted years of your life is a great way to hate yourself. It’s useless. I transformed my life after 37. I used to believe that it’s too late to change my life but I shifted my focus to the future and turned my life around.
It’s never too late to change your life. A few years of concentrated effort can be more than enough to turn your life around but you can’t do it while your eyes are constantly in the rearview mirror.
It also doesn’t make a difference to dwell on the genetic attributes that you can’t change. Wishing that you were smarter, taller, born into a better family or born in a different place will not change anything. I’m sure there are many people who have been dealt worse hands than you but still excelled. Leave the excuses behind and make the most out of the hand you’ve been dealt with. You have no excuse.
6. Stop Being Nice
Set strong boundaries and stop seeking approval.
A lack of strong boundaries and approval seeking behavior wreaks havoc on your self-respect and self-love.
If you are a typical modern man who is often referred to as a “nice guy”, you probably have problems with setting boundaries and seeking approval.
Masculine men are unapologetically selfish, they aren’t afraid to say “no”, and they don’t seek approval other than their own self-approval.
The inability to say no is a slippery slope which at first is done out of thinking that it’s the right thing to do but it results in being treated like a doormat and getting walked over which in turn causes you to lose your self-respect. Setting strong boundaries and the ability to say “no” will result in a huge boost in your self-love.
Depending on the approval of others to love yourself is akin to trying to fill a leaky bucket. Approval must come from inside. If you don’t love yourself then no amount of external approval will be enough to change it permanently.
7. Never Give Up
Many people give up after a few failures or rejections thinking that there’s something inherently wrong with them and there’s no way they will succeed, which breeds self-hate.
Failures, rejections, and setbacks are ok but giving up is not. You won’t give up and you’ll eventually win.
Be sure to read:
- Why Is Life So Hard? (And What You Can Do About It)
- 3 Unusual Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Start Getting Things Done
- How to Get Your Life Together
- 24 Ways to Get Rid of the Victim Mentality and Adopt a Victor Mentality
- “I’m not good at anything” – How to Stop Feeling Inferior
- Be a Better Man in 30 Days, an action-driven, intensive self-improvement program to take full control of your mental, physical, productive and financial destiny, unlock your potential and mold yourself into the man you want to be.