The Scientific Explanation Behind Why You Unconsciously Hate Yourself


Ever asked yourself that? Why some people hate themselves so much or why you are one of those people yourself?

It’s not a very likeable thought to many of us that someone might hate himself but I’m sure we all know how that feels. The reason is probably because it must have happened to each and every one of us that we hated ourselves at some point. The point where we might have been struck by failure, by our own stupidity, by surrounding lies. Whatever it takes to make us believe that we shall not deserve any empathy towards ourselves.

It’s an awful feeling if you’ve ever been there. It’s even more awful if you can’t remember a time where you haven’t been there. When people hate themselves, they’re accompanied by this constant feeling of dissatisfaction. Nothing they do will do. They believe they’re not worthy of love and they hence, fail to give love no less. They don’t have to be unproductive or mean but most of the times they do sell themselves short in life because of that self-hatred. So, why do people hate themselves. What pushes some of us to that extreme line of danger where the person we should love the most is anything but lovable to us.

In his novel “Invisible monsters”, Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves.”

That is true. Some people can’t see that though. They think it’s normal to hate themselves because it makes sense. They say they have their reasons. What we wanted to research was what could these reasons be, some of which turned out to be these.

Regret. Digging into their past too much that they hardly ever come out of it. Thinking that whatever it’s that has been done can’t be undone but that this shouldn’t stop them from pondering it and remorsing about what could have been.

Regret is not an unfamiliar feeling. We all know it. But how well do you know it?

To some people they know it to the extent that suffocates them for how it turns out to not just be a regret over one thing but rather a regret over their whole lives. To the extent where they would believe they’ve never done anything right. To the extent where they reflect on their lives and they can’t even see, not even one thing that is good or that shows they once made a right decision. Hating themselves at that point isn’t a matter of question but a reality that they’ve given into and are just dealing with.

Feeling weak, incapacitated is also a reason why people hate themselves. They might fail at times to see things right. One wrong angle could make everything goes wrong. One wrong view at their problems and they see them bigger than what they could take. So, they cringe and shrink into themselves because man, they can’t think they can take this. Another push to hate themselves even further for their weakness.

Not good enough. And this would step in the moment they think they can make a new start. That maybe they don’t have to hate themselves that much. And you know what, they would start. They really would try to change the glasses they’re looking at life with but waves of feeling like what they’re doing and who they are is not enough are going to hit them like daggers coming at them from every side. Not just an inner feeling, sometimes it projects due to a rejection from other people too. A rejection that they can’t really deal with. That they won’t think about overcoming by making themselves better in any way but just by hiding away. They’ll hate themselves again because why wouldn’t they. They obviously failed at being good, right! It’s not really right but that’s how they’d see it.

They don’t really admit their mistakes. Another reason why some people hate themselves is how they remember their mistakes quite well but they don’t admit them in a way where they could be doing something about them. Or where they could really analyse where the wrong came from exactly, instead they hate themselves for the idea of once making a mistake.

In his book “The road less traveled”, M. Scott Peck discussed how people are different psychologically in how they regard their mistakes saying that they could be of two types as follows, “Most people who come to see a psychiatrist are suffering from what is called either a neurosis or a character disorder. Put most simply, these two conditions are disorders of responsibility, and as such they are opposite styles of relating to the world and its problems. The neurotic assumes too much responsibility; the person with a character disorder not enough. Then neurotics are in conflict with the world they automatically assume that they are at fault. Then those with character disorders are in conflict with the world they automatically assume that the world is at fault.”

When you get to know this, you realize how some of those who hate themselves are actually just unable to know how much they should react to whatever it’s they’ve done once, the too little/ too much responsibility conflict is the problem.

Comparing themselves to others. Let’s be honest. They might be envious of others and that leads them to hating themselves. Partly because they can’t see themselves anything near the ones they’re comparing themselves to. Their lives are just less than those of others. They’ve taken the wrong directions while others took all the right ones. They’ll hate themselves a little more because they can see themselves sitting at a pond, while they could have been at an ocean “just like others”.

Instilled hate can also be a reason. You may wonder how could hate be instilled, right. No one is ever born with hate. And self hate especially is something that comes out after a lot of preconceived emotions and situations so that takes time. Unfortunately, some people are brought up to self hate, they won’t even realize that maybe their feelings are related to their upbringing by any means or related to maybe the time when they were just adolescents. To understand this you may like to know about what is known as “The Monster study”.

It is Known as The Monster Study because of its unethical methods, this experiment determined the effects of positive and negative speech therapy on children. Wendell Johnson of the University of Iowa selected twenty-two orphan children, some with stutters and some without. He engaged the stutterers in positive speech therapy, praising them for their fluency, and the non-stutterers in negative speech therapy, belittling them for every mistake. As a result of the experiment, some of the children who received negative speech therapy suffered psychological effects and retained speech problems for the rest of their lives, making them examples of the significance of positive reinforcement in education.

A horrific experiment for sure, and unfortunately it proved a point -in the worst way of course- how what people are subjected to is going to be reflected on their behaviors sooner or later, good it was or bad.

Some people also hate themselves for not being who they once dreamt to be. For not coming to the expectations of those they have once loved. For not fitting into the world’s standards of beauty, of intelligence, of ranks. And the worst of all, for not fitting into their own standards of life.

Why do people hate themselves. It’s a question with endless answers. And because everyone is this magnificent unique soul and existence, you’d know that every one you will ever meet can and will have his own reasons and justifications to whatever it is he feels.

But, is it possible that we could make someone love himself? Or at least, hate himself less.

I believe that we can, that monster study kind of second my belief. You can help someone. It’s true that it must eventually come out of his own heart and mind to work. But you can help them.

How. It’s very simple. By telling them that regret doesn’t change the past but what they do can change the future. By telling them that it doesn’t matter that they got rejected, that people didn’t like them because my god, what are our lives if not about trying to create what matters.Trying despite the failures. Trying with all the belief we’ve got. Trying with all the hope there is. What are our lives without hope!

You help people by telling them that in the end we’re made of all the things we couldn’t be no less than the ones we’ve become. By making them know that they’re not everything people tell them they are but they’re everything they tell themselves they can be. So why waste a lifetime thinking they can only be nothing when they’ve got this beautiful chance of turning into something in this world. Participating in it not necessarily so that the whole world could know about them but so that they could know that while they were here they’ve done all they could. They’ve done something.

Idowu Koyenikan wrote once, “A genius in the wrong position could look like a fool.” Muhammad Ali said that it’s not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.

You help people hate themselves less. Love themselves more when you reassure them that they’ve got to feed themselves with love the same way they’d feed a plant with water and light because that’s the way they find love the same way a plant finds its growth.

Teach them with your actions about love and if it’s you hating yourself, it’s time to teach yourself how to change that hate into love, to fight for love with everything you have got because then a whole different life will be waiting for you. As Freud said, “How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” And what a life you live with boldness.

And my last request, If you’ve got one minute left in your life and you realized that all since the very beginning you’ve been walking in the wrong direction, I beg you, do not hesistate to just turn back around and head to the right direction. I beg you to scream at yourself that neither regrets nor self-hatred will save you but self-love can do that perfectly. I beg you to not think of time. That you’ll hardly make anything right by now. Time doesn’t really matter and sometimes, really sometimes the only right thing that matters is your attempt to correct something regardless of what the results might be. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Mariem Sherif

An Egyptian medical student who believes that words can heal a wound and that good food and good books can fix two thirds of our problems.

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