Have you ever heard the expression “I am my worst enemy”? Surely you’ve heard it at least once in your life, and the truth is that it involves deep thinking.
Some people live a life with big gaps because of their own feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred. This causes them to have difficulty relating to others and being happy. But what are the causes of such sensations? How much do they change our thoughts, emotions and habits? And, finally, how can psychology help improve this self-perception of people who hate themselves so that this discomfort doesn’t affect them as much?
What is the inner critical voice and why should we silence it forever?
In a study published a few months ago, psychologists Lisa and Robert Firestone found evidence that the most common self-critical thought among most people (regardless of their cultural, ethnic or religious background) was “I am different from others”.. Most people see themselves as different from others, but not in a positive sense, but quite the opposite: in a negative sense.
We all have an “anti-me” who hates the way we are
In fact, even individuals who have a good social image and seem perfectly adapted and respected in the social environments they frequent, have strong negative feelings and the feeling of showing a false face on themselves. Indeed, according to some experts, our identity unfolds.
Dr Robert Firestone explains that each person has a “real self”, a part of our personality that is based on self-acceptance, as well as an “anti-self”. part of our consciousness that rejects our way of being.
The critical or “anti-self” voice
The anti-me is tasked with boycotting through that critical inner voice that we all have, to a greater or lesser extent. This critical voice it’s like a kind of alarm to us self concepts who makes negative comments about every moment of our life, Thus modifying our behavior and our self-esteem. He specializes in burying our hopes and goals: “Do you really think you can achieve it? … You will never be able to achieve that goal, look, you are not good enough!” He’s also charged with despising your past and present accomplishments: “Yeah, well, you were lucky, it wasn’t your merit.” Also, the anti-me is an expert at boycotting our well-being when we enjoy a relationship: “She doesn’t really want you. Why do you think she has so many friends in college? shouldn’t trust him. ” .
Learn to ignore the voice trying to boycott us
Everyone has that critical voice inside, what’s going on is that some people pay a lot of attention to it, while others have learned to ignore it. About the first, the main problem is that when one pays a lot of attention to the critical voice, the criticisms and the blame that this spear becomes more and more harsh and constant. In this way, they end up assuming that instead of being a voice that represents an enemy to be fought, it is a voice that emanates from our “real self” and they confuse criticism with the real point of view, accepting just everything. what he tells us.
Why do I hate myself?
“I hate myself” it’s a recurring phrase that can send us our inner critical voice. What is the origin of this type of self-defeating thinking?
For psychologists Lisa and Robert Firestone, these are thoughts that are generated in the negative experiences of childhood and adolescence. The way we see ourselves at different stages of childhood and puberty and the judgments of others towards us shapes our identity and therefore a better or worse conception of self.
How others perceive us decisively affects how we value ourselves
When we are the object of negative attitudes from our parents or those whom we hold in high esteem, we internalize these assessments and judgments to shape our own image. It seems clear that while receiving positive attitudes from our parents (such as compliments or feeling loved and appreciated) helps us develop good self-esteem, critical attitudes can have the opposite effect. This phenomenon is perfectly explained by the “Pygmalion effect”.
In any case, it is not about empowering parents. Raising a child is not an easy task, and our parents must also be accused of negative feelings about their own past; no one is immune to transmitting, even unconsciously, judgments or gestures that are not entirely appropriate, especially in times of stress.
A negativity that is transmitted from parents to children
If, for example, our parents made us see that we were mean or told us to stay silent constantly, or even if they just felt overwhelmed if we were around, we might come to terms with the idea that we really are a nuisance. One possible effect of this perception is that we may end up being shy and withdrawn people, or adopt a submissive attitude in our daily lives and in our interpersonal relationships.
How does the critical voice disturb us in our everyday life?
Our “anti-me” can impact our daily life in several ways. We can try to adapt to the critical voice by trying to accommodate their criticism. When he repeatedly declares that we are a disaster as a people, we may come to believe him and choose, under that premise, friends and sentimental couples who treat us the same, as if we are not worth nothing.
It is also possible that if he constantly tells us that we are incompetent, ddevelop a complete lack of self-esteem that causes us to make mistakes that in the end make us look really stupid. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If he tells us every now and then that we are very unattractive, we may even decline the option of looking for a partner.
Between paying attention and dealing with criticism
The moment we listen to our inner critical voice, we are giving it authority over our thinking and actions. It is possible until we start projecting these kinds of critical thoughts to the people around us. We run a real risk that our hatred for the critical voice will tarnish the glasses with which we see the world. At this point, we may start to suffer from certain symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder, when we begin to question people who perceive us in a different way than our inner voice.
We can try to stay away from flattery and positive reviews because they contradict the patterns we have built on ourselves. even we can instill the idea that we are not good enough to have romantic relationships. It is a critical voice that not only attacks us from the outside, but gradually becomes the personality itself, attacking the foundations of personal well-being. Not only is it there all the time, but there comes a time when, for the same reason, we stop perceiving it, because it is already fully integrated within us.
How can I stop hating myself?
There are several tips that can help you manage and try to minimize this hatred towards ourselves, To manage to live foreign to these limiting beliefs that our internal criticism generates in us.
Overcoming our critical voice, our anti-ego, is the first step towards freeing destructive thoughts, but it is not easy because many of these beliefs and attitudes are fully rooted in our being, we have internalized them.
1. Identify the voice critical
This process begins with detect and start laying the foundations to be able to manage this critical voice. Once we have recognized the sources of these critical thoughts that affect us negatively, we will need to take into consideration what they are true (thoughts) and false.
Sometimes, as we have already mentioned, this identification will mean that you will investigate inside yourself to recognize the negative traits that you “inherited” from your parents during your childhood. Yes you had very demanding parents, for example, you have a responsibility to challenge the demanding habits of others that you have acquired.
2. Streamline and start being realistic
We must respond to attacks from our critical selves that cause this hatred towards ourselves through a calm but realistic and rational point of view on oneself.
3. Question and relativize
Finally, we need to be able to challenge the self-defeating attitudes that affect our self-esteem that the negative voice prompts us to perform. When we have given up these defense mechanisms that we have built up with the adaptation to the pain that you experienced in your childhood, we will try to change certain behaviors that emerge from this circumstance.
For example, if you were a very overprotected child and your parents were constantly looking out for you, you may have developed a desire to isolate yourself from others for fear they might enter your life.
4. Find your identity
The last step to go from “I hate” to “I liked” it involves trying to find your own values, ideas and beliefs that you feel comfortable and calm with. What’s your idea of how to live life? What are your short, medium and long term goals?
When we free ourselves from our inner criticism, we are closer to finding ourselves. We can then begin to have attitudes and to perform actions that reflect our needs and desires much more faithfully, which will make our existence much more meaningful.
A path which is not without obstacles but which will be worth following
During the journey in which we try to stop hating ourselves until we find this path that makes us happy, it is natural that we experience some anxiety or resistance from the critical voice to abandonment. of our recurring thoughts.
However, if one persists in challenging the internal critical voice, it will eventually weaken little by little and we can go this way by getting rid of the feeling of hatred towards ourselves. A crucial step towards a more pleasant and happy life.