Deep down, many believe that there is something inherently wrong with them. We spend time trying to pinpoint our flaws. We hate ourselves for being flawed, and attempt to eradicate our shortcomings by punishing ourselves. We act out this self-hate with a plethora of defeating behaviors which include, drugs, alcohol, over- or undereating, watching too much TV, proclaiming our flaws to those around us, or turning our backs on love. This self-defeating behavior fuels the fire, giving us further reason to dislike ourselves.
The cycle of self-hate is cause for much suffering. When we believe we are flawed, we act out in self-defeating behavior, thereby reinforcing our flawed nature, and the cycle continues. This cycle needs to stop if we are to be happy and free.
In past articles I have explored some of the origins of our negative beliefs. Although knowing who has fed us these lies about our nature may be important, it is not essential for changing our life. If we are willing to challenge our core beliefs, let’s start with an intention.
Are you willing to consider the possibility that your essential nature is good and unflawed?
This doesn’t mean you have to believe it now; just consider the possibility. Keep in mind that being inherently good does not preclude us from undergoing difficult times. Feeling lost or scared and reacting unfavorably to difficult situations are just a part of the human experience, not proof of wrongness in us. There is nothing wrong with us. Life is simply full of experiences, both pleasant and hard. We may amend any harm we have done, remember our intention to be kind, and practice. There is no perfection, only practice.
For those of us willing to consider the possibility, here are some suggestions:
• Practice gentleness. Have compassion for yourself and others as you get caught up in the cycle of self-hate. Be gentle with yourself even when you act out in self-defeating ways. Know that you are suffering and need healing, not criticism.
• Find a teacher or mentor who can mirror your innate goodness to you.
• Challenge your beliefs by examining your experience as it is, and not as you believe it to be.
• Accept yourself as you are now rather than focusing on who you think you should be. Healing is a process and happens over time.
• Foster the relationships and communities that support you and be willing to let go of the ones that don’t
Article by: Sevin Philips, MFT