Posted in Of Dramedy

Of Self-Hate


It’s a strange, paradoxical concept really. All the evidence points against it. You might even call it a clever ploy to get attention, for we all know by now what constitutes as the most attractive quality in the world – vulnerability. People would be too darn obnoxious, even unloveable, if they did not hate themselves a little.

But, there’s a difference between not being quite up to what one would like to be, and being in an extreme, bottomless pit of disapproval of one’s self. Especially when one’s instincts are traditionally wired against it. You eat for sustenance, even pleasure. You protect your head with your arms even if there’s mild, possible danger involved, like a drizzle of rain. You lie to get out of trouble. You rub your belly when it hurts. You scratch an itch, because you believe that will make it better. You run to the bathroom to escape an anxious situation. All this might not scream ‘self-love’ like that promotional offer of a spa weekend does, but protecting and preserving yourself is very much an act of love, though they don’t write too many songs about the above situations (share in the comments section below if you know any).

The problem’s outside then, eh? Nurture, since nature seems to be against the idea. Maybe. But, if there wasn’t arable soil, self-loathing wouldn’t flourish so easily. There has to be a grain of truth behind every lie, a seed of belief behind every negative self-perception. It grows with reinforcement, external or internal, for repetition usually changes an idea into a habit, and habits generally tend to change to belief. Belief, of the true kind, is pretty unshakeable.

But, is self-hate all that bad? Surely, it must serve some function, given how glamourous it is. Not just limited to teenage angst, self-hate is pretty much a universal driving force in art, where it serves as inspiration, and industry, where it can be a powerful motivational force. Even in relationships, it calls upon our need to protect those weaker than us.

But, only up to a point. Only in small dozes. Which, in most cases, is pretty undoable. It’s a belief, after all. You live it wholly, truly. You cannot keep it aside, temper it down, release and constrict as you please. You cannot evade it, cannot dismiss it, cannot forget it. Most of all, you cannot reject it. The only way to counter it is with something equally potent, perhaps of greater magnitude. But, in keeping with the above ‘tree’ analogy, how do you find such an antidote? An antidote against time, against memory, against experience, even against one’s place in the world?

It’s almost like fighting against your own humanity, in order to preserve it. Curing an emotional autoimmune disease. The enormity, the perceivable impossibility of the task, sinks you further.

At this point, in a blog post by a non-practising mental health professional, you would expect some sort of an inspirational instruction. Perhaps, some pithy words of wisdom. Perhaps, a popular quote, like Lennon’s “All You Need Is Love”. But, I’m not going to be that blogger for you today. Especially, since I don’t believe in it, if I did say it. A solution would render today’s discussion complete, a full circle of problem-solution-overanddone. And it is not. It won’t be, even in the next few seconds when your brain would still be processing this two-minute read. And it definitely wouldn’t be, when we settle back to who we are, despite all the advice going around in the atmosphere. There are too many solutions in the world. And not enough problem-solving.

Let’s just ask, for today. Let’s just consider, see it for what it is, not what it could be or should be. Let’s be honest with ourselves. What does self-loathing mean and constitute, according to you?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

11 thoughts on “Of Self-Hate

  1. Who was it who said: “Before you diagnose yourself with low self esteem, make sure you are not, in fact, simply surrounded by assholes”?

  2. I never thought of this idea before but I am intrigued by what you came up with here. To answer your question, I think of it mostly in the terms you describe. On my artistic side it might be-that blog was crap, I never should have hit ‘publish’. As a photographer though it happens far more often when I look at my work compared to other photographers. I know I should not do that. My work is my work and if I get a response, any response to it, then my photos are resonating. But what makes my photo worthy of 50 likes on Instagram, when someone else’s gets 50,000 likes? When that happens it is inevitable I think to say my stuff is lousy.

    As an individual, I probably self-loathe in some way on a daily basis. I’m a little too heavy, I shouldn’t have skipped running today. Whatever the case is, I beat myself up pretty hard sometimes. But as you say…I’m not always convinced that is such a bad thing. Great post Amrita.

  3. I’m not sure what it means to me Amrita – but I really like that closing line in the penultimate paragraph, “There are too many solutions in the world. And not enough problem-solving.”
    I don’t like that the statement is true, but I quite appreciate the observation of how important discussions and ideas aren’t always (and likely shouldn’t always) be neatly & quickly resolved.
    Well written, as per usual 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Geoff! I was in sort of a pessimistic mood while writing this, and I did think not providing an easy answer wouldn’t be popular. But, I’m increasingly starting to believe in the necessity, or at least the inevitability of things that are on the darker side of human nature, things that can’t or maybe shouldn’t be resolved.

      Having said that, hope you’re getting some good Canadian sunshine! It’s scorching here!

  4. “All you need is Love”
    “Being satisfied with everything” works too..
    Life can be relatively compared to laws of physics,because they have inspired from Real Life.
    And they are only true.
    “Energy is neither created nor destroyed,it simply transforms from one form to another”
    If your mind is filled with Negative energy let it be converted to positive thoughts.

      1. There isn’t a single person in this world who hasn’t suffered yet.
        When you choose to Live,you choose to deal with all pains,sorrows and difficulties coming your way by just smiling..Living life with all positivity is an art.Once you adapt it,You will never regret.

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