We came to hate ourselves for disparate reasons along disparate routes. Trauma. Abuse. Neglect. Inept role modeling. Bad luck. Our own acts. Those of others. The causes are endless. But the results are amazingly the same. Each amputee or millionaire became an amputee or millionaire through a unique and highly personal set of events, yet gather them together and you have a crowd of millionaires or amputees. They have at least one crucial thing in common, thus they think and act at least a little bit alike. We may or may not recognize the fellow self-loather trying too hard to please others (even others he or she dislikes) or saying yes when he or she means no (or no when he or she means yes) or even struggling to choose an ice-cream flavor (choosing makes us panic because we expect whatever we choose to be wrong, so the prospect of choice floods us with pre-regret).
We may or may not like each other any more than we like ourselves. But we are a crowd. This might provide scanty comfort or none at all. But get this straight: If you hate yourself, it is almost surely not based on reality but rather on something someone said to you long ago that was not (and still is not) true. Get this straight, too: If you hate yourself, the one thing we know for sure is that you’re not alone.
Image by Kristan Lawson, taken at Chocolatier Blue Parlor, used with permission.