6 Reasons You Hate Yourself (And How To Combat Self-Loathing)

You only get one life to live, so don't spend it disliking yourself.

Last updated on Apr 18, 2023

sad woman Pexels via Canva

Hatred is one of the most common emotions we all have in common — unfortunately, this sometimes includes self-hatred.

"Why do I hate myself?" you might wonder as you pick yourself apart time and time again. The truth is that self-hatred can be caused by many underlying issues, including not liking how you look, how you act, what your personality is like, or how you sound.

These days, one of the biggest contributors to many of our feelings of self-hatred is social media and comparing ourselves to others that we see online. But if you have feelings of self-hatred or self-loathing, you're not alone.


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What is self-hatred?

Self-hatred is extreme criticism of one's self. The concept describes a continual feeling of inadequacy, guilt, and/or low self-esteem. Someone experiencing self-hatred would think or feel as if they are not worthy or that anything they do is never good enough.


There are several causes of self-hatred, which can include a negative inner critic, past trauma, a bad childhood experience, bullying, and even bad relationships. If you often seek reassurance, sabotage your success, isolate yourself, or neglect yourself, you may be struggling with self-hatred.

Self-hatred can actually be a limiting factor to obtaining achievements or reaching your goals. It can also accelerate mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. Once you start hating yourself, you might get stuck in a downward spiral of hate, because the more you hate, the more the feeling grows, until you don't even recognize yourself.

Why do I hate myself?

1. You have a negative inner critic.

Self-hatred can lead you to develop a harsh inner voice, which might tell you stuff like you're not worthy of love or success, that you're worthless and small, that you can't do anything right, and is always putting you down.

It might compare you to others or tell you that you're not good enough and make you feel like a fraud. If you don't try and confront your inner critic after a while, you may end up experiencing paranoia.


You don't want to get to the point where you start believing the things that your inner critic tells you are true, so the sooner you confront it the better. The more you listen to that inner critic ,the more power you give to it, and then you might start projecting it onto other people. And nobody wants that.

2. You had traumatic childhood experiences.

Very critical or strict parents can trigger self-hatred in adulthood.

If your parents were angry or stressed all the time, and they didn't give you the time and attention you needed, you might have started to hate yourself or make yourself think it was because of something you did.

Other childhood trauma like abuse, neglect, and being over-controlled can contribute to you creating a negative inner voice.


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3. You were bullied.

If you were a victim of bullying in school, in your workplace, or in a relationship, those memories can create a lasting impact on your mental health. If it goes on for a long time, it can impact your self-concept and be detrimental to your self-esteem.

Your inner voice could also start to repeat the things the bullies have said to you in the past and that could mean you haven't fully processed these events from the past in order to free yourself from them. Therefore, everything they say to you is perpetuated by your negative inner voice.

4. You suffered from a bad relationship.

If you have experienced a toxic relationship, this could be a reason why you hate or strongly dislike yourself.


If your previous partner or friend always put you down, made fun of you, yelled at you all the time, and talked about you behind your back, you may have started to believe everything they were saying to you. That's hard to shake when you have feelings for this person.

5. You have low self-esteem.

Sometimes, it's not just other people that cause you to develop self-hatred. Sometimes you start to self-hate because you have a negative self-concept, poor self-image, and low self-esteem.

Thoughts of self-hatred are so powerful that they can turn a small problem into a much larger one. You might notice you were shy or awkward meeting someone new and then you can't stop overthinking.

You then make yourself believe that everyone hates you and thinks you're annoying, only perpetuating your feelings of self-hate.


6. You suffer from a mental health disorder.

Mental health issues can contribute to you developing self-hatred, including mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

For people with depression, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and shame will make a person feel like they are not enough. These feelings then make you feel isolated, as if you aren't worthy enough, and lead to bad habits like substance abuse to cope.

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What To Do When You Hate Yourself

In order to combat your self-hatred, you need to learn self-acceptance and practice self-compassion. Life coach Ann Papayoti says these are the "key to pushing such negative thoughts out of your mind."


"When life has knocked you down in some way, it may be difficult to access what you 'don’t hate' about yourself," Papayoti says, but if you don't try, "self-criticism, judgment, and comparison to others will keep you down."

If you want to stop feeling bad, you need to work on reframing your mindset to self-hate so you can then learn self-acceptance, love, and appreciation for your uniqueness, and "you will free yourself from the harsh punishment of self-hatred," Papayoti adds.

Here are 4 other things you can do to combat your self-hatred.

1. Confront and talk back to your inner critic.

When you become more aware of your emotions and their triggers, you can start noticing the reoccurring thoughts you experience when you face negative things. You can then ask yourself if these reoccurring thoughts are actually real or if they are just distortions and not real.


Stand up to your inner bully with arguments against its criticism of you. If you can't stand up to your own negative voice, imagine you are the voice of a stronger person than you know and outsmart the critical inner voice in your head.

You can also do this through therapeutic methods to help your inner self heal like meditation, journaling, and eating healthy.

According to career coach and author Susan Kulakowski, you can combat self-sabotage physically by "getting enough and regular sleep; nourishing your body with consistent, healthy meals, sufficient water, and some exercise."

2. Practice self-compassion.

Try practicing compassion towards yourself instead of hating yourself. You could try to see things in a new light and instead of focusing on all the negative stuff, focus on all the positive things you've accomplished. Try reframing the bad situations in your life and be more kind to yourself.


If you try compassion-focused therapy you can improve self-esteem and therefore reduce self-hatred.

According to Kulakowski, you should mentally and emotionally consider yourself with the same love, attention, and gentleness that you would offer to a loved one who is suffering.

"Remember you’re 'only' human and forgive yourself. Start anew: whatever the obstacle or failure that is stopping you, acknowledge it and then move over, around, or through it. Trust yourself and acknowledge yourself to be a bigger, more powerful person than this moment seems to show,” Kulakowski says.

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3. Spend your time with positive people.

According to clinical hypnotherapist and spiritual life coach Keya Murthy, learning to stop hating on your own isn’t an easy act. "You have to be in the presence of people who can love you immensely and through constant and continuous contact with such a person or group of people you will learn to stop hating and start loving yourself," she explains.


If you don't have any friends or family members who can help make you feel good, you should try to join some self-hate support groups and get the help you need from others who have gone through the same thing and teach you their ways to combat self-hate.

4. Go to therapy.

Sometimes the best thing you can do to combat self-hatred is to contact a mental health professional like a therapist to talk through your feelings. With your therapist, you can "work on self-esteem and self-worth through positive affirmations and visualizations of a loving future self," according to Murthy.

While you can practice on your own to shift your mindset, a therapist has tools and methods for you to try to diminish the negative inner voice in your head and will help talk you through things without getting distracted by your inner voice.


5. Take care of yourself.

People who suffer from self-hatred often participate in self-destructive behavior. To combat this, try to focus on self-care activities. Taking care of yourself and creating a self-care routine can help you increase happiness, reduce stress, and even eliminate anxiety and depression.

Try to eat a healthier diet, do some exercise, get good sleep, and reduce your screen time. It can also be a good idea to start journaling.

6. Practice meditation.

Meditation can also be very helpful if you feel like you cannot detach yourself from negative thoughts. Stopping to breathe deeply and meditate can help you shut off those voices in your head that tell you that you are not good enough.

It will help you take a step back and focus your thoughts on something else. The more you do it, the better you will feel.


As always, if you feel like you cannot handle this yourself, seeking out a professional to help you with your mental health is often encouraged and is an excellent idea.

If you suffer from anxiety and depression, you aren't alone. Help is available for you. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers resources to get you the help you need.

RELATED: How To Stop Hating Yourself For Things You Can't Control

Megan Hatch is a former contributor to YourTango who has had bylines on Medium, Buzzfeed, MSN Canada, Patch, Voice of America, Canyon News, and others.