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Saturday, January 30, 2010

To Love Yourself

"The remarkable thing is that we really do love our neighbors as ourselves; we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world." -- Eric Hoffer: U.S. Writer

We basically conduct our worldly business within our individual zones of comfort. To "break out of the box" is risky and often painful, so what makes us dare to attempt new, unknown interactions that may help us build our own characters and intellects? When we sufficiently love ourselves, we are confident that sharing interactions with others will not create negative, harmful consequences. Individuals may attempt to be careful taking care of their personal needs, but they cannot be happy until they accept the unique way that God made them.

Rhoda Mills Sommer (, 2003) stated, "Self-hatred is very sad because it is an erosion of the soul. If someone becomes an expert in self-hatred, they will become very creative at finding ways to torture themselves to such a degree that the punishment becomes an avenue of comfort." Of course, complete self-destruction is unacceptable to us or to our friends and family. And, since perfection is humanly impossible as a goal, the truth is that we must become capable of bearing the good and the bad of our own individual identities. 

Those of us with low self-esteem suffer tremendously. Self-hatred and shame are important factors in many mental disorders, especially those disorders that involve a perceived defect of oneself. Self-hatred of race, gender, sexual orientation, or species is common. And, personal self-hatred and self-loathing can result from an inferiority complex.  

Primary inferiority feelings are usually rooted in a young child's original experience of weakness or dependency. The feelings can intensify by comparisons to older siblings and adults. Then, a secondary adult inferiority can relate to an experience of being unable to reach an unconscious, fictional goal of subjective security and success to compensate for the inferiority feelings. The vicious circle is common to neurotic lifestyles.

Whether parental attitudes, physical defects, mental limitations, or social disadvantages cause inferior feelings, the results are usually withdrawal from social contacts, excessive seeking for attention, constant criticism of others, overly dutiful obedience, or fear and worry. 

We really cannot attain security of self-satisfaction by achieving a universal outward ideal either physically, intellectually, or emotionally. Really, no such ideals exist although attractive models and movie stars parading before us beg us continually to commit to such unrealistic comparisons. To accept the standards of such a world is to give into false beauty and false success. 

Feeling shame for shortcomings can lead to guilt and keep us immobilized for fear of being wrong in the view of someone else. Don't we feel better about ourselves when we free ourselves from whatever interferes with being more authentic? It requires our tremendous courage to listen and to follow our inner voice. 

Self-esteem grows out of the experience of committed effort. Whether or not we succeed is not as important to our self-respect as knowing that we have tried our best. This usually takes long, committed efforts and acceptance of our multiple initial failures. If we continue to make the effort, especially with the help of good resources, we will eventually succeed in creating much greater self-esteem. Self-mastery arises out of effort, the underpinning of success.

Resentments are about obligations put on us from the outside. Isn't duty is to do what is due, based on our own insight? Duty is not imposed from the outside. Many of us fail to make a distinction of what has meaning from within us vs. pressure from others.

Resentments, in actuality become hoarded wants. For example: "If he/she really loved me he/she would know what I want." The buried want is the desire for someone to love us without us having to risk anything. This is a clever way to avoid the responsibility of asking.
(Rhoda Mills Sommer,, 2003)  Resentment is only preparation for feeling something again, and again and again, unwilling for the feeling to pass.

Hatred of self may be hidden deep within our makeup. We may not even recognize that the reason we cannot negotiate the difficult waters of our lives requires our continued expressions of positive self-concept. We, in essence, become beggars, complainers, and miserable companions without expressing our contentment. In turn, "they" become the pathetic "we" plastered within shells of negative subjectivity.


A silent scream
A twist of fate
A glance in the mirror
Reveals the hate.
I loathe who I am
Inside and out
I grab my hair
And yank and shout.
My hands are unsteady
As I hold the razor blade
And slice it down
Again and again.
This agonizing pain
I feel deep within
Is with me always
There seems to be no end.
I'm drowning in my own self-hatred...
And noone can save me from myself.


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