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Sometimes we wake up, look in the mirror, and don’t like or recognize the reflection that meets us. It might be sudden weight gain or pesky acne that’s resurfaced. Maybe it’s the drowsy eyes from the night of drinking or the less than thrilled expression awaiting the day’s events. Or it could be something we only feel within: a sadness, a lack of motivation, a boredom.

Whatever it may be, we all have something we dislike about ourselves or know we could improve on—that is 100% normal. But what isn’t normal or healthy is completely despising ourselves and allowing that hatred to fester.

Signs You May Hate Yourself

It’s not always easy to distinguish what is healthy criticism of oneself and a serious self-loathing. The following signs may point to the latter:

  • You take everything to heart. This might mean taking constructive criticism harshly or twisting what others say into insults.
  • You compare yourself to everyone. You’re in the habit of comparing yourself to everyone around you: your brother, your coworker, even that random woman you pass on the street. And you’re always left feeling like they’re better in some way or another.While everyone compares themselves to others to some degree, you do so excessively.
  • You pretend everything’s okay. When your friends or family members ask if you’re okay, you paint on a smile and nod your head yes. You avoid discussing your feelings with your loved ones.
  • You put others down. Since you don’t feel good about yourself, you make fun of others that appear weaker, in hopes that you’ll come out feeling better. You also surround yourself with these less-threatening individuals, out of lack of confidence.
  • You put yourself down. You constantly criticize yourself and you don’t know how to take a compliment. Instead of thanking someone after they tell you you’ve done nice work, you credit it to luck or the efforts of others.

You Know What They Say: Love Thyself

Okay love your neighbors, but first and foremost love yourself. Instead of allowing your insecurities to take over or hatred to fester, you should practice self-love. Self-love is simply the practice of loving oneself. It’s prioritizing your life: your wellbeing, your needs, your desires, and your dreams. But for some, it’s just not that simple. It can actually be quite hard. A woman who suffers with body dysmorphic disorder—or who constantly sees a distorted version of herself—can’t get there. A boy who suffers with depression isn’t motivated to get there. And a girl in her third abusive relationship has completely lost sight of it. It just might take these individuals, and ones of the like, little steps to achieve a greater sense of self-love, such as the following:

  1. Begin each day with positive thinking. Look in the mirror and say something you love about yourself. And look forward to the day ahead, determined to make it a good one.
  2. Take care of your mind and body. This means nourishing yourself with healthy, feel-good foods and making time to exercise.
  3. Separate reality from your inner critic. Work on silencing the inner you telling you you can’t and realize you can.
  4. Surround yourself with loving, supportive people. They will encourage you and help you realize how awesome you really are.
  5. Stop comparing yourself to others. None of us are exactly the same—and that’s beautiful. We all have different traits, quirks, and talents that make us who we are. So stop wishing you had her hair or her body and appreciate your uniqueness.

The Pressures of Society Weigh More Than I Do—Take That Society

So many of us, if not all of us, feel the pressure to live up to society’s expectations—to have the perfect body, the perfect hair, an utmost confidence, a lack of blemishes, a perfect smile. This list of demands is the biggest cause of low self-esteem, which transfers to self-hate, as it holds individuals up to unrealistic standards and makes them feel like they’re not good enough—that they’ll never be good enough. But these demands do not go unchallenged. People, including celebrities and other influential figures, have been tearing them down. Colbie Caillat is one of those many celebrities, who confronts society’s standards in her song “Try”. She closes the song with:

“You don’t have to try so hard.
You don’t have to give it all away.
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up.
You don’t have to change a single thing.

[…]

Take your makeup off.
Let your hair down
Take a breath.
Look into the mirror, at yourself.
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you.”

Other celebrities who have confronted topics of self-confidence, self-love, and the pressures of society include Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Will Smith, Emma Stone, and Ed Sheeran.

“To all the girls that think you’re ugly because you’re not a size 0, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.” –Marilyn Monroe

“If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you’re always going to be disappointed.” –Madonna

“Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people—the ones who really belong in your life—will come to you. And stay.” –Will Smith

“My great hope for us, as young women, is to start being kinder to ourselves so that we can be kinder to each other. To stop shaming ourselves and other people: ‘too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, too anything.’” –Emma Stone

“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” –Ed Sheeran

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Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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