Are you having thoughts like ‘ I hate myself ‘ or are you feeling like you are not good enough? Most of us have moments where we are self-critical but this is very different to self-hatred, where we are constantly thinking negative thoughts about ourselves like:
- ‘I don’t deserve to feel happy.’
- ‘I’m different; everyone else is better than I am.’
- ‘I’m weak and too sensitive.’
- ‘I hurt everyone; people should stay away from me.’
- ‘Everything I do is a disaster.’
- ‘I hate myself because I…’
Thinking like this is painful and exhausting and often leads us to self-destructive behaviours like sleeping around, taking drugs, binge-drinking or self-harm – which makes us feel even worse. But there is a way out of the cycle of self-hatred.
Finding out why you have such extremely low self-esteem is the first step forward. No one is born with self-loathing. It most often develops if we experience neglect, abuse or emotional trauma – especially when we were young. A constant inner monologue of self-hating thoughts is also a sign of depression or anxiety.
You can hold on! Here are some ways..
1. Talk to someone about how you are feeling: a close friend, a trusted adult or a trained counsellor on one of these 24/7 help lines:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- Youth Beyondblue 1300 224 636
2. Write down your thoughts or draw something to express how you feel.
3. Go for a walk; have a warm bath; burn some aromatic oil; cuddle or stroke a pet – all these things are soothing for your senses.
4. Please get a friend or relative to come over, or go to stay with them.
5. Get rid of any items that you could use to hurt yourself.
6. Go to bed and try to sleep. If you can’t sleep, try a relaxation exercise like this one:
Lie down flat on a bed or the floor, taking slow deep breaths. Beginning with your toes, focus on relaxing the muscles of each body part all the way up to your head. By bringing your awareness to your body, your mind can shift away from its negative thoughts.
If you have been prescribed sleeping tablets, take a safe dose of these; even if you do not sleep, they will lessen your emotional pain. Doctors give people painkillers when they have bad physical pain; it’s the same for psychological pain.
When you wake up, things will often seem very different, and you can access help from family, friends and professionals.