Why Do I Hate Myself?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020



I never thought I had a problem with the way I thought about myself.


I would watch my friends and observe how insecure they were;

Always thinking they were the reason the guy left them.

Thinking they weren't smart enough to voice an opinion or make a change.

Feeling uncomfortable about who they were, and how they looked.


I was, and always have been bold, opinionated, and confident.

We are all wired in certain ways, and these characteristics are a major part of the person I am.

So, I equated my opinionated and seemingly confident demeanor to the value I saw in myself.

I told myself I wasn't like them.

Or you.

Or any other human with major insecurities.


But the more I started seeking out truth from every angle of my life, voicing my real feelings, and trying to be who I really felt I was, the more the truth of my biggest insecurities started to seep out.


The thing is, you can't claim to be a pacifist and go about punching people when you're upset.

You can't call yourself a vegan , if you *only* eat meat once a week.

You can't seek truth and you definitely can't live within it, if you don't face the truth of who you are- in the deepest, darkest places.

The places we often avoid by turning up the headphones, scrolling in the stillness, and pushing out the quiet at all costs.



 

Sometimes, when I think about the transformation of my health from debilitating migraines, chronic fatigue, major IBS, and general physical miserableness; to a healthy, vibrant, and functional way of living I feel as if I had a curtain over my eyes my whole life prior to that transformation and then it was lifted.


Although I was outspoken in general, I didn't question much.


My life played out the way it was presented to me.


I was taught to eat unhealthy and damaging foods my whole life and so I did.

I learned it was attractive to wear makeup and tight clothes, so I wore them.

I learned to not seem 'too' emotional, so I withheld my emotions.

I grew up as a Christian, so I remained one without actually determining if that made real sense to me.

I learned that talking about my period was wrong, so I didn't.

I learned to seek approval from boys, and so I did.

I learned that you have to be good in every subject in school to be smart, so I wasn't.

I could write 100 more of these statements, but a good amount of them are incredibly personal and I still feel twinges of shame when thinking about them.


When my diet changed, I started questioning everything.


Does that sound dramatic?


Good.


Realizing that I was never taught my whole life how to eat correctly, something so basic and vitally important to my quality of life, made me question all of the things I had been taught.


What else was unknowingly damaging me?


About 3 months after changing my diet, something shifted in my thought process about my face.


My mom always told me

'Don't start wearing makeup until you're sure you're ready, because once you start, you can't stop."


I didn't understand her then, but I do now.


Why can't you stop?


Because suddenly, you see a different version of yourself.


A better version.


Makeup physically changes you.


Obviously.


It makes you 'prettier' or without flaws.


Right?


Women wear make up to look pretty.

It can be said different ways:

"I wear it to cover up my acne, because it looks so bad."

"I wear it to feel more confident about myself."

"I could never go out without makeup, I'm not as pretty as the girl that does that."

"I just like the way I look more with it."

"It just makes me look better."


Make-up to a young girl, is a sign of maturity into a world of beauty and lust.


Finally, you can get the attention of the boys.


Finally, you can look older than younger.


Finally, you can look pretty.


It started with a little mascara.

Then eyeliner

Then blush

And finally to cover it all; foundation.


If you ask a girl what her 'go-to' beauty staple is, she will most likely have one.


Most girls say they can't live without mascara.


Some girls have to have some lip liner.


Others, really need the foundation.


For me, it was eyeliner.


Thick and black.


So dramatic.


I loved that look.


I don't remember thinking my eyes looked less-than before, but once I started wearing eyeliner, I didn't like the way my eyes looked without it.


My exact thoughts were that my eyes were too small, boring, and because they were brown and not a prettier color, they needed something to liven them up.

My eyes definitely needed more allure than they had.


Without eyeliner, I felt I looked dull. Truly.


The worst thing was when I didn't wear it, someone would say "are you okay? you look tired."


I KNOW. I AM DULL AND TIRED LOOKING. I HAVE NO MAKEUP ON. THANK YOU GINA.


So back to my face epiphany.


3 months after changing my diet.. and life.


I stood in the mirror, and told myself I wanted to go bare.

Just like I did with my food- back to the basics.


I decided I needed to know what that felt like.


I had been wearing a full face of makeup nearly every day for 7 years after all.


So, I stopped wearing it.


Oh my gosh.


I hated my face that week.


It sucked. My boyfriend told me a thousand times he 'couldn't even tell', but I certainly could.


I was sure that everyone else could too.


Everyone knew. Everyone thought I was tired, lazy, and most of all dull.


But it was also really nice not taking the extra time to put it on in the morning and being able to rub my eyes without the worry of a potential smear.


After that first week, I decided I wanted to keep going.


Each day I stood in the mirror and said out loud to myself 'your face is perfectly fine all by itself.'


Seriously.


I had to talk to myself every day, and assure my mind that these 'dull looking eyes' were the new normal.


I didn't believe it would ever look normal to me though.

I figured it would always be weird and bare, and I would only feel pretty on the occasions that I wore eyeliner again.


But I kept doing it, because there was this small part of me that desired to love and appreciate the way I looked without any additions.


Here I am,, three years later, to tell you that I don't ever wear eyeliner.

Even on the special occasions!

Because when I do I feel so weird.

It feels heavy, and unlike me.

It feels like a mask I'm hiding behind.


More importantly, I feel good about who I am without eyeliner.


I love my eyes.


I think they are full of spark, and who doesn't love a color that reminds them of chocolate?


It wasn't easy to just stop wearing it, and pretend I felt good enough without it.


I had to tell myself every single day that I didn't need it, and it didn't define me or my beauty.


I had to stare the problem straight in the face (pun intended!) and speak to it.


Speak truth into it.


This is kind of an intro to this post.


A long one, admittedly, but an intro into some serious thoughts on why we are living in such a way that we can't even be alone with our thoughts, or go a day without feeling massive insecurity about ourselves.


Someone told me yesterday they've never been able to meditate, because they can't stand to be alone with their own thoughts.

That's rough.

Are you scared of your own thoughts?


You might be reading this thinking "I absolutely love myself. I'm good on this."


But, I challenge you to really dive deep and pull back your curtain;

you might find some insecurities that have been instilled without any consciousness on your part, and in turn are holding you back in life.


If you know you struggle with this, I'm here for you.


I'm sitting here writing this to you and for you, because I believe we need to talk about it more than just a picture perfect person posting an Instagram caption telling us to just 'love ourselves more.'


The paradox of the culture we find ourselves in currently is the image and perception of our lives as perfect, or at least better than someone else's- and yet we are struggling harder than ever before with anxiety, insecurity, and feeling alone with these issues.


Do I think I've got it all figured out when it comes to insecurity and self-loathing?


Nope.


But I have come a long way from where I was, to where I am now.


I respect and love myself more than I did in the past. I've learned how to distance myself from all that unnecessary insecurity and shame shouting at me with every step I take.


It has taken copious amounts of personal inner work (it always will), true healing from God, and peeling back layers of lies and misinformation I've been fed.







So, let's first identify what this 'self-hate' could look like for you.


It could be the way you speak to yourself about your face or body every time you see a mirror.


It could be the way you shame yourself when you can't resist the candy bowl.


It could be the repeating story you tell yourself about not hitting the mark-

just not being good enough.


It could be the insecurity you feel about being an emotional person.


It could be the way you abuse your body through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or any other major coping mechanism.


It could be your curly hair, your back mole, your large nose, your peculiar toe, your small breasts, your chubby stomach, your stretch marks, your freckles, or your height.


It could be the disgust you have for yourself when you remember how mean you've been to people who love you.


It could be the way you speak about yourself to others in conversation.


It could be the way you consistently remind yourself you have done nothing to deserve happiness or peace.


It could be the constant, reverberating regret you hold within you.


It could be a thousand different things.

It can come up in a thousand different ways.

And it can wreck you- emotionally, physically, and spiritually.



 


Shame.


Where does that come from?


Christine Caine, founder of the anti-sex trafficking organization A21, describes shame as something we were never meant to bare the burden of.


It dates back to the Garden of Eden. You know.. the whole apple scene.


Before the downfall of humanity, the Bible says

"Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame."


Out of all the emotions that exist, God created humans with the intent of them never knowing the feelings of shame.


The enemy knew that he could use this emotion God created humans to never feel or know, to hinder them in fulfilling their potential in this life.


To keep you from living the vibrant life you deserve.


Christine says it best;

"the enemy will always try to shame you in the area that God wants to use you somewhere in your future."


Another thing she points out is that most of us don't know the difference between guilt and shame.


Guilt says "I did something wrong."


Shame says "there is something wrong with me."


The beautiful aspect of doing something wrong, is running to a heavenly Father who washes all that guilt away. We call that grace, and my goodness it is so very sufficient.


But shame is this deep-rooted feeling that something is inherently wrong with you.


This is simply untrue, because the Bible tells us that God created mankind in his own image.


No mistakes were made in the creation of you and me, because we were made in the image of a perfect and wonderful source of life.


Shame has been present all throughout history, it isn't a new thing that started in our culture.


But where does it stem from in our personal lives?


Let's start with the first form of shame we usually encounter:


Parents


Parents *generally* have the best intentions, but they are also human, and can shame us in ways that unknowingly stick with us for our whole lives.


I used to cry a lot growing up.

It felt uncontrollable.

When I felt emotions rising up in my body, they always came out through tears;

Sadness, anger, embarrassment, and even joy.

Cue the tears.


My parents didn't go around shaming me for crying.

They knew I was a crier, and always comforted me.


But, as I got a little older, when they were frustrated with me and I was crying they would say

"you're so emotional, you always cry."


Suddenly, 'emotional' had a negative connotation to it when it pertained to me.

I felt ashamed for crying.


I started to hate myself every time I cried when I didn't feel like others would deem it appropriate.


I would tell myself I was weak, and just too emotional.


These thoughts spiraled into other thoughts about myself that weren't even true, but stemmed from this root of shame I felt from being an emotional person.


This is just one example.


Think about your childhood for a minute..


What did your parents say to you that you've held onto, and believed about yourself your whole life?


Maybe your dad told you to never cry.


Maybe your mom told you to work out more because you were getting a little heavy.


Maybe they told you that without good grades, life would be much harder and in turn not very enjoyable for you.


Maybe it was your brother or sister telling you that you were the least liked, or an accident altogether.


Here's the thing.


I felt so bad about myself when I cried in front of people, or felt intense emotions as an adult.


In my brain 'being emotional' was negative, and in turn weak;

and it was something about myself that should be stifled, changed, different..... better.


I held onto this belief throughout my childhood, and now into my adult life.


What happened to make me hate the emotional aspect of myself?


Shame.


Shame that was placed (not even on purpose!) in my mind long ago.


It wasn't until I started living my life in service to others through my compassion and emotions, and also letting these characteristics guide some major life decisions, that I realized being emotional is wonderful.


Being emotional is an amazing tool that I've been given to feel and empathize with others.


It's why I became a health coach- to guide others in changing their lives in positive ways, because I don't want anyone to suffer in the ways I did.


My emotions have shown me when to let go of people who didn't respect me.

My emotions have birthed much creativity, writing, and photography.

My emotions give me a much deeper connection in my relationships.


Being so emotional is beautiful, and nothing to be ashamed of.



Friends/Peers



If you haven't come to this valuable piece of knowledge yet, you should know that

who you surround yourself with is incredibly important.


Hanging out with negative people all day, will keep you feeling negative.


Surrounding yourself with uplifting, positive people will enlighten you to be more optimistic.


Regardless, sometimes our friends can be brutally honest, which is often warranted but also often unnecessary.


Remember the time your best friend told you your boobs looked way smaller than she thought they actually were?


And now you feel like "Oh, if she thought that, then everyone else does too.."


Or the time your guy friend told you that you talk too much?