Self-hate is evident in everyone on this planet. A broad statement, yes, but we believe this to be true. To one degree or another, everyone has lack of self-acceptance, lack of self-love.
Feelings of unworthiness are at the root of the self-hate patterns. Self-hate keeps us from feeling loved by another. We are frozen in unworthiness, often battering away at the stone with affirmations and behaviors to try to feel better about ourselves. We exercise and diet and build careers and seek power or fame. We wear makeup and hair gel and cologne, trying to hide the awful people we "know" we are deep inside. We seek lover after lover, trying to feel loved and special and valuable . . . but we never really FEEL it. We drink and drug and sex, trying to dull the pain at the core of our bones that says "unworthy".
The only way to heal the dark demon at the center of the SELF is to allow the feelings of self-loathing expression, in a safe place, and hopefully with someone who loves and can listen without judging.
The antidote to self-hate is not self-love. You cannot simply choose self-love. This is not a true understanding of the workings of the soul. Change by choice only happens in the mind and spirit. We cannot just jump to self-acceptance. No matter how much you change your mind or beliefs or attitudes, you will still have the backlog hidden in your attic, and that will sabotage your life no matter how blind you try to be to it.
The pain held in the unconscious lives on until it is given expression in the way IT needs to express. Emotional essence needs to express in emotional ways. That is why we say that Tool 2: Crying is the most important of our healing tools.
Self-love is not the antidote. It is the RESULT, the evolutionary landing point, that comes naturally after healing has taken place. And it cannot be forced by mind's decisions.
However, the mind *does* have an important role to play in the healing of self-hate. As with forgiveness, rage, and other difficult healings, we must set an intention to heal, and that begins in the mind or spirit. When you set the intention to love yourself you are purposely and consciously setting the stage for change. That doesn't mean painting over the surface with false self-love or phony self-lessness. It means stating a desire and intention . .. and then going deeply into the feelings under the surface and allowing them to cry all the way to healing.
Mind holds the intent for self-love, and that includes love for all the parts of the self. That means holding space for the feelings to express, as much as they need to, as long as they need to, and as deeply as they need to. Mind listens. Mind accepts. Mind waits for the feelings to shift and change all by themselves. Mind does not dictate when this will happen, or how long it will take. Mind just holds the space for it to happen. As the stage manager, Mind / Consciousness sets the tone, the lights, the colors. And then steps back and allows feelings to enter the stage to share their pain and experiences and memories.
Why Is It So Hard to Heal?
Self-hate is one of the most difficult patterns to get people to face or see in themselves, and some of the most difficult feelings to get hold of to cry and heal. It's a slippery little sucker. The ways self-hate will act out to avoid really feeling the pain are too numerous to list here. Even approaching the self-hate can trigger it into knee-jerk survival terror. Sometimes shining just the tiniest bit of light on a self-hate pattern will cause the pattern to explode -- you may find yourself sliding down into a hugely maudlin self-hate/shame spiral, or lashing out in blaming ways at others. Self-hate can be very much like a festering sore . . . even the slightest touch can trigger waves and waves of overwhelming pain that we believe we must not feel / cannot survive, and send us into ginormous knee-jerk responses.
One thing to remember here is that the purpose of the pattern is to keep the real feelings from surfacing. The more we act it out, the less we actually FEEL it. And the self-hate pattern often takes on a survival mask at this point, and acts to keep itself intact. Any attempt to push through the barrier will only cause it to fortify itself, act out more and more, and become harder and more difficult to penetrate.
Real Survival Terror
There is also a true feeling of self-survival that can make self-hate difficult to heal.
We know, instinctively, that if we fall headlong into the feelings underlying the self-hate pattern, we'll eventually hit a place that says "I don't deserve to live", which equates at the root level to "DIE DIE DIE". Our survival fear says if we touch those feelings, we will actually begin to die, either passively or actively. So our survival instinct kicks in to stay far away from the self-hate feelings, and actually assists the patterns in suppressing the real feelings.
This is especially true for yang energy people. The feelings of giving up / going down / death /dying are entirely unacceptable to the yang energy. These feelings go against their very nature. Many yang polarized people have pushed the yin essence holding self-hate out of themselves to the point where it has fragmented and they are no longer aware of feeling hopeless or self-hating. They may then turn and feel superior toward those who are on self-destructive paths or stuck in self-hating ruts.
The First Step In Healing
The first thing we must know is that it IS possible to heal these feelings without letting them take us down to death.
Because we have not always understood how the emotions heal, most of us have never had the experience of allowing full expression, and seeing the evolution that can happen following a good long heartful cry. Until you have the experience of this, you will have to take our word for it. It IS true. Emotions can evolve and heal.
Mostly our past experience with self-hate has been entirely negative, purely an exercise in acting out a pattern. This means that for many people, the first problem will be getting through the barrier of fear that says, if I go there, I'll die, it will take me down to death. Allowing this fear to cry first will open the stage up a bit, and make some space for the self-hate feelings to come to the surface.
Interrupting the Pattern
It is extremely easy to fall into the negative thought patterns of self-hate, and so it's important to have some tools to interrupt the ways that mind acts in collusion with self-hate. We have to interrupt that negative self-talk. When the pattern starts running its litany of things you've done wrong, or ways you are unworthy, you need to have ways to stop the record from playing.
Of course, if you can, the best thing to do is let yourself cry at the moment you realize the pattern is playing. But sometimes it's so strong and so entrenched that it's hard, if not impossible to stop. Some things to try:
- Do something different from your norm. Jump up and dance, do push-ups, throw paint on a wall, turn on some music that touches your heart. The idea here is not to distract you from your feelings, but to interrupt the critical voice that runs, to stop the round-robin rut that mind gets into. Always remember, getting to ignition is the goal.
- Talk Back to it. This is one of the best techniques for getting past resistance. The self-hate pattern says, basically, "You suck". Try talking back to it. Say things like "I'm wonderful, I'm the most loveable and valuable person in the world!" Say it loud and with as much feeling as you can muster. What will happen, if you allow it, is the feelings of self-loathing will rise up. You'll feel it as an urge to laugh when you say these "ridiculous" things about yourself. Or you might feel it as anger, an angry voice that says "No, I'm not wonderful or loveable, I'm crap!" If you can let the feelings come further to the surface, they will begin to cry, either as grief-type self-loathing, or rage-type self-hate. Or both! Let it come, let it surface and cry, for as long as you can.
- Talk WITH it. Similar to the method above, this one lets you take the maudlin self-hate pattern and exaggerate it, make it bigger and worse, as bad as you can possibly imagine. You may get some tears with this method also. Or it may just make you laugh, which is perfectly acceptable. It's one way to interrupt the pattern & stop the record from playing over and over again.
- Release judgments, set goals & visualize. The other tools we've offered are an important part of the healing process, and can come in handy here. Use Tool 3 and Tool 4 to set goals and release the old judgments and beliefs that mind holds. Visualize yourself as a worthy, powerful person. Write down self-loving affirmations and tack them to your walls and refrigerator doors. By doing these things you are setting the stage for self-love. And then be sure to allow the players to enter the arena, allow the parts that are feeling the pain of self-hate, blame and shame to speak and cry and remember.
Letting the Feelings Cry
Self-hate can be very difficult to cry. You may find yourself bouncing around between other feelings in an effort to get to the deep self-hate stuff. You may need to cry some survival terror first, in order to make room and have acceptance for the feelings that want to die. Or you may need to cry shame at HAVING self-hate, before you can get to the actual self-hate. The emotional barriers will be different for each person, depending on your processing modality, and your yin/yang orientation.
Yin/Yang orientation can also affect where you are most comfortable in the self-hate spectrum. For instance:
When I cry shame, it cries as a wail, a deep feeling of the heart caving in, a feeling of wanting to withdraw, go away, hide, even be dead. There may be sadness and fear laced throughout, fear of reprisals and condemnation. Yin people may tend to want to stay mostly in these feelings.
When I cry blame/hate, it cries as rage, with an active desire to hurt/harm. The fact that this desire to hurt/harm is aimed at the self makes it very difficult to own and feel. Yang people may tend to stay in these feelings.
It's important to keep the doors open to whatever you feel, and not to veto any part of the spectrum, if you can.
Regaining Heart - Almost always following a big spate of self-blame/hate crying, I go deeply into tears of heartbreak. If this happens to you, try not to stop the process or censor it in any way. What I've found is that the heart feels self-hate in the same hurtful way that it feels outside hate. It hurts. It breaks your heart. This means that one of the natural benefits of healing self-hate is that more of your heart will be able to come to the surface.
Role Playing - You may need to use some role-playing techniques to stir the feelings to the surface. Just be aware that resistance will be high for these feelings, and role-playing may send the self-hate pattern into overdrive. If you try role-playing and you feel frozen and shut-down instead of getting to tears, then that's not the best method for you to use. There is no one method that will work for everybody. And there is usually no one method that will work for you every time either. Resistance is clever and slippery, and patterns themselves help keep the tears suppressed. You'll need to be clever and patient, and persistent.
Imagining Love - One method that works for me almost every time is to imagine love. I imagine a loving presence - mother, father, lover, dog - and try to imagine them loving me. I try to feel them there for me, offering me warm hugs and understanding, asking me to tell them how I feel, inviting me to sit in the big comfy chair and put my head on their shoulder. This imagining usually triggers tears in short order. If I'm really stuck in self-hate, it's hard to imagine a loving presence, of course, but just the effort of doing so can trigger the tears of the feelings that say "I don't deserve that loving presence" or "I will never have anybody who loves me", or whatever the feelings are.
Shift Your Point of Awareness - I found it helpful to shift my point of awareness INTO the hate, and pretend that I was somebody else feeling it, hating "me". The first time this happened it was an accident. I had been experiencing the self-hate as a dark evil witch that wanted me dead. I was crying deeply in the shame and fear OF the hate, and suddenly I switched and became the witch. The imagery was much like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is captured in the castle. One part of me was Dorothy, and the hatred/blame was the Witch. I went back and forth between these two parts in my crying for quite some time, and was finally able to get the Witch incorporated into "me". I still use this technique occasionally whenever the self-hate is avoiding me.
Giving Hatred Back
If you think you might be holding somebody else's hatred, it's important to take steps to release it and let it go back to its rightful home. This can involve asking Fathergod/Mothergod (or angels or guides) for assistance. You should regularly request that anything that does not belong to you be taken from you. You actually don't have to know where it came from, who it belongs to, or where it's going when it leaves you. You can leave that up to the loving assistance of Father/Mother.
It may not be as easy as 1-2-3. There may be a long history of the external hatred intertwining with your own self-hate, and the unraveling may take some time and need to go in baby-step stages. You may have an unconscious desire to NOT release this hatred because - much like touching a deeply embedded splinter - jostling the place where it is held within means feeling the pain of the wound. Following a release of some of the hatred, you may find yourself flooded with your own pain and needing to cry shame and horror and heartbreak and so on. Only when you've finished crying your own wound will you actually feel some relief of having that DarkDeath-hatred removed.
Breathe In Love
Love cannot be felt when there is no space for it. We must vibrate the self-hate feelings, loosen guilt and let it leave, and then - WHEW - there is space to love, and feel loved. Each time you cry, be sure to fill your space with loving light. Ask for comfort, and love, and validation, and feel it filling in the space where you have freed up some of that frozen compressed pain. Take some deep, slow breaths and feel the love coming in. And then let yourself rest in the arms of love, and know that you are worthy and valuable.