We are generally quick to assume that self-hatred inspires our greatest changes.
We beat ourselves up about how our jeans fit in the hopes that it will force us to the gym. We bully ourselves about the promotion we didn’t get, in hopes that it will make us work harder. We ridicule and blame ourselves for every wrong turn we take in life, assuming that the popular notion of being hard on ourselves will force us to do better next time.
We try to bully ourselves into better, stronger, more successful versions of ourselves.
Versions who are strong where we are weak. Versions who are strict where we are lax. Versions of ourselves who have let go of all our negative qualities and have replaced them with ceaselessly positive attributes. Traits that we don’t yet possess. Traits that we only will and wish for.
But there’s a fundamental error in this method of inspiring change and it’s this – nobody wants to work hard for someone they hate.
Once we’ve identified ourselves as our own worst enemy, we’ve already lost the battle. Shame is a downwards spiral, that will do nothing but keep us trapped exactly where we do not want to be.
So next time you find yourself drowning in self-hatred, telling yourself that you have to get your act together, try this instead:
You have to measure who you are against who you want to be, and rather than picking out the ways in which those two people differ, you have to discover which traits they share.
If you want to be someone who is professionally successful, recognize the ambition you already possess.
If you want to be someone who is confident in love, recognize the genuineness you already apply to relationships.
If you want to be rich, famous, accomplished or otherwise exceptional, recognize your drive to do big, huge things.
Recognize that all the skills you need to become the person you want to be are already inside of you – they just require a bit of application and encouragement.
Because the truth about personal transformation is that it cannot happen if you feel as though you’re fighting with yourself every step of the way. Nobody wants to work for their worst enemy. Nobody wants to help out a person they hate.
The truth is, we fight the longest and hardest for people we love the most. Now, imagine if the person you loved the most was yourself.
Imagine how hard you would fight for that person – to accomplish their goals, to get them to that finish line, to see them soar and succeed with flying colors.
You wouldn’t mind putting instant gratification on the backburner for them. You wouldn’t mind stepping outside your comfort zone to make great things happen for them. You would take whatever risks were necessary. You’d show the hell up for them, time after time after time.
Because that’s what we do for the people we love.
We fight for them. We believe in them. We do whatever it takes to help them persevere and succeed.
And if you could only stop beating yourself up long enough to realize it, you’d discover that you’re already ready to take those big, huge risks in life – and that all along, the only thing standing in your way has been you.