Stop self hate with the truth

To stop self hate in your life, you need to admit to yourself that you do it. Many singles are afraid to take even that first step.

This contradictory loathing of ourselves is common because destructive behavior gives it away. After all, why would someone destroy their body with substance abuse? Why would they punish themselves with harmful actions? And why would they constantly beat themselves up with negative thoughts?

Much of this false guilt can be traced to comparisonitis. We're a competitive society, and we're consciously or subconsciously checking on whether we measure up.

Self hate is a particularly thorny problem for single people. We're fond of blaming our situation on ourselves, which may not be the case at all.

I write from personal experience. From high school until well into my 30s, I tortured myself with hostile thoughts. Some of it came from a church that told me I was never good enough. Some of it came from low self-esteem. But most of it came from not understanding how God feels about me.

If you'll read on, I'll show you what I learned, in hopes you can begin to stop self hate yourself.

Stop self hate: Society's unrealistic demands

Watch an hour's worth of commercials on television and you'll soon feel rotten about yourself. You don't cut it. You don't look like a supermodel. You smell bad and have yellow teeth. You have bad breath. You wear frumpy clothes and drive an uncool car. Or so they tell you. The solution, of course, is to spend, spend, spend to fix all those problems.

No, it isn't.

Television, movies, and magazines are unrealistic worlds. All the people are beautiful or handsome, rich, and wickedly witty. If you're not careful, you're quickly asking, "Why aren't I like that?"

Let's face it. They're not going to make a TV show about your Uncle Joe, who's overweight and smells like garlic. It wouldn't be very entertaining. And they're not going to make a show about the place where you work, because the people aren't beautiful and aren't making hilarious wisecracks all day.

From fashion to automobiles, society makes unrealistic demands on us. It tells us we should look a certain way and follow its rules for being cool. Heaven forbid that we wouldn't fit in.

So one of two things happens. We believe that nonsense and run up mountains of debt trying to be a "winner," or we end up hating ourselves because we believe we're not.

The dictates of society seem more important when you're young. As you get older, you discover the motives behind them: buying and spending make the economy function. It's not about you. It's about profit. They don't see you as a person. They see you as a wallet.

Now that may sound cynical, but when you carefully study all the "shoulds" of advertising, you find they're hollow. And the truth is, much of the sell is based on making you feel guilty. We all want to be liked.

Get off that treadmill. Be discerning. Be your own person. Don't feel bad because you can't "have it all." Practice being content with what you do have. Stop self hate with clear thinking.

Here's what I learned:

Our goal in life shouldn't be to fit into the mold advertisers design for us. Our goal is to become more like Jesus.

Stop self hate: Unrealistic demands on yourself

It's a worthwhile thing to have goals. I've always had goals in my life and they have helped me accomplish some positive things. But when I was younger, my goals were unrealistic. I wanted to do gigantic, enormous things, and when I couldn't, I hated myself. I felt like a failure.

It's a real balancing act to make your goals challenging but achievable. I tried to stretch myself too far and felt miserable when I couldn't do it. Stop self hate by setting goals like building blocks: one success building on the past one. Take small steps instead of dangerous leaps.

But we have other unrealistic desires of ourselves as well. I am not a handsome guy and found that hard to accept. I saw how much easier things go for good-looking people. Over the years, however, I discovered something important. Some of those beautiful or handsome people advanced on their looks alone. They had little talent or skill, and eventually they got jammed up. Instead of learning or working hard, they counted on their face. At some point it wasn't enough.

Now I don't want to sound vindictive, but God gives each of us different gifts. Just because I wasn't attractive didn't mean I didn't have something meaningful to offer. It's the same with you. 

I've said on this site that I see nothing wrong with making yourself as attractive as you want, whether with a diet, nice clothes, or even cosmetic surgery. But do it for the right reasons. Don't be coerced into it and remember that the inner you is what truly matters. If you don't work on becoming beautiful inside, you're just wearing a mask.

We can always improve, but there are some things we have to learn to accept about ourselves. When you do that, the self hate decreases. 

God's demands on you

And here's the stop self hate secret you've been waiting for:

God's demands on you are amazingly light.

It's true. Listen to what Jesus said:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Look closely and you'll see there are actually three commands there:

  • Love God;
  • Love your neighbor;
  • Love yourself.

Not only are God's demands on us the only ones that matter, but they are so much easier to follow than the world's. They're clear. They honor others, and they honor ourselves. The best part is God helps us do them, through the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit.

When we stumble, God forgives us--every time. We all feel bad about our sins because they offend God, but realize God's love for you is not based on your performance. It's based on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

As a believer, you are totally accepted by God. Totally, 100 percent. No hoops to jump through, nothing to buy, no unrealistic standards to meet. 

Accepted. Loved. Just as you are. Just as you are.

Knowing that truth and making it my own is what broke the cycle of self hate in my own life. As with many things, it didn't happen overnight, but it's a stunning realization when you finally grasp it. 

You can stop self hate too. Society doesn't have the answers you need. The Bible does. The antidote to your self hate problem is the unconditional love of God. You can believe it because it's true. God is love and he is incapable of lying.

You are approved by God, and his approval is what matters. Know it, believe it, and start living it today. 

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