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From I Hate Myself to I Love Myself

By John Mills PhD

What You Mean When You Say "I Hate Myself"

Many people feel that their lives are not worth living and there is no hope for them. This can lead to self-loathing, self-hate, and in extreme cases, suicide. The theme of this article will be on how to help you accept yourself and create a more positive view of yourself.

The first step is to stop the negative thoughts that are running through your head. Saying things like “I hate myself” helps no-one. If you've been thinking these thoughts for a while then it's going to take time to get rid of them. You need to think of the good things in your life and what makes you happy. Think about all the things that make you who you are and what makes you special - this will help increase your self-esteem in turn decreasing your self-loathing or self-hate. Everyone has strengths and almost all negatives have a positive. It can be hard to find them when you’re saying things like I hate myself though, so be patient and cut yourself some slack. 

Step two is realizing that everyone has flaws and imperfections but they are what make us human beings different from each other; they're what make us unique! We may have different strengths and weaknesses, but we all have something that we are good at. Alderian Psychology argues we all provide value just by being. 

Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk is a conversation that we have with ourselves. It may be conscious or subconscious, and it can be positive or negative. The way we talk to ourselves determines how we feel about ourselves and how we behave in the world. Saying “I Hate Myself” is a form of negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is a harmful habit that many adults have developed over time. It can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, shame, anger, and other mental health issues. Negative self-talk can also lead to physical problems such as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Positive self talk is an important tool for managing stress, staying healthy mentally and physically. It helps one to focus on the moment by reminding them of their own strengths and good things about themselves and what they are grateful for in life. Through positive self-talk and a lot of hard work, people can gain a more optimistic outlook on life. Positive and Negative forms of self-talk have been studied extensively within sport. Whilst not specific to gaming and esports, this paper provides a useful review of the literature.

What is the Relationship between Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteem?

Self-Acceptance is a relatively objective sense or recognition of one’s abilities and achievements, together with acknowledgment and acceptance of one’s limitations. Self-acceptance is often viewed as a major component of mental health. It is the opposite of self-hatred in that it self-hatred encompasses continual feelings of inadequacy. Self-esteem is a person's perception of their own value or worth. In order to have good self esteem, one needs to have an acceptance of self. The two are intertwined and without one, the other cannot exist.

Self-Acceptance and Why You Should Love Yourself?

It is crucial to learn to accept and love oneself. It is not selfish to love oneself and I do not mean self-love in a narcissistic sense. Self-love is viewing yourself in a positive light, being patient and forgiving of yourself; in the same way you are more patient and forgiving of those you love. Without some semblence of self-love it can be difficult to find happiness and maintain a positive outlook. It's about respecting your needs, desires and boundaries. It's about accepting your imperfections. Self-love is about providing for your emotional needs, even if it means going against societal expectations.

Love yourself, so you can love others and the world around you.

How You can Start Accepting and Loving Yourself Right Now

Self-love and acceptance is the foundation for a happy life. It can be hard to find and has been discussed for centuries (see Aristotle's view of Eudaimonic wellbeing), but it can be found and practiced in many ways.

1) Stop comparing yourself to others and instead, compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.

2) Quit the negative self-talk. Saying “I hate myself”, however true it might feel, does nothing to improve your situation. Look for any positives, no matter how small. We all have value and strengths. 

3) Do something you like every day.

4) Find what it is that makes you happy and do more of it.

5) Care for yourself like your life depends on it. 

6) Identify the things that are making you say “I hate myself” and work on changing them. If it can’t be changed, work on accepting them and looking for any positives they might offer. Aristotle describes the Golden Mean between vices and virtues. For most things, a positive can be found to the negative. 


It is important to stop saying "I hate myself" because it is not helpful and this kind of negative self-talk leads to negative emotions and behaviour. It is also important to stop comparing yourself to others. There is no point. We all run our own race and looking sideways at the achievements of others creates a false sense of inferiority. Instead, focus on improving yourself compared to the person you were yesterday, last week, or last year. Self-loathing leads to self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. Cut yourself some slack and remember negative things in your life provide you with the opportunity for growth. For when you turn a negative into a positive, you gain twice. You are no longer burdened with the negative situation, and in addition to that you are strengthened by your actions in making a positive change.