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Stop the Self-Hate

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And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:39)

5 Self-Hate Moves We Mistake for Self-Love is an article by Kris Gage. She wisely defines these five mistakes as follows: Chasing Things we don’t want or - equally bad - chasing things that don’t want us; Checking out of our own lives; Talking instead of trying; Jeopardizing our health; Making excuses.

This devotion doesn’t provide the space to define all five of these headings. But Ms. Gage’s article did challenge the ways most of us hide our self-hating. First, acknowledge that self-hate is not a rare affliction. Neither is it always lifelong. I would argue that the vast majority of us struggle with self-hate. It shouldn’t be denied, but controlled. Like Ms. Gage, we acknowledge it and then we take it on, so we don’t wallow in our self-loathing for decades.

The second part of the Great Commandment is, “You should love your neighbor as yourself.” Like most good people, we focus on the neighbor while absolutely forgetting about the “as yourself.” I believe the Gospel writer knew that most of us often treat others better than we treat ourselves. This means that self-hate is actually opposed to God’s plan.

Overcoming self-hate is a process and it requires more than will power. First, it is the realization that each of us was made in the image of God. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. Second, overcoming self-hate demands we listen to our inner voice. Every time we say something mean to ourselves, we need to call ourselves out and say, “Stop it.” Then, reflect on the circumstances that inspired your negative self-talk. If you deserve a personal reprimand, then do it gracefully, like you would to a loved one. If you didn’t deserve your own reprimand, then focus on treating yourself with more respect.

Overcoming self-hate takes time and practice. It is worth the effort. Begin by offering God your prayer, then focus on your self-talk. If the self-hate continues, it is important for you to call a therapist. Sometimes we cannot overcome self-hate on our own. A little professional assistance can make a world of difference. You are worth the effort!