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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 411: Why We All Hate Ourselves

Why do we feel so insignificant? Why do we feel like failures? Why do we feel worthless? Why do we feel like we are useless? Why do we feel like no one likes us? Why do we feel ugly? Why do we feel like we're not good enough? Why do we hate ourselves? Why do we judge ourselves? Why do we compare ourselves?

Why is it so hard to see ourselves clearly and without bias?

We all hate ourselves because we are taught to need to be special, unique, the best, the center of attention - but not one of us can claim that this happens to us in every single event in our lives. We all have things that we must first practice over and over before we become "good at it" - but this is not the message we receive from childhood - the message we receive is "I will love you more if you are the best. The world will love you more if you are the best." Maybe this is not spoken outright, but it most certainly is implied everywhere - in school, in TV, by our parents telling us that they are proud of us for winning some competition. Simply saying to a child that you are proud of them for winning implies that you will love them more and have more positive feelings toward them if they are a "winner". Pride and disappointment are both emotional manipulations used by parents to try and shape a child into being a winner who never does anything to hurt the parents' feelings.

So our parents encourage us to "do our best" and aim for high achievements, our schools encourage us to "do our best" and be winners and good students, the TV tells us that if you are a winner you are more likely to be liked and successful in life. Our entire environment is shaped around this message: "this is what you should be like, if you are like this then you will be acknowledged, loved and considered to be a success."

So then what happens in those situations where we are not "the best", or winners? What happens when we fail at the directive that has been programmed into us from birth? We feel pretty shitty. We look at ourselves and see a failure. We look at ourselves and recognise that we are not what we have been taught we should be if we want love, acceptance, success. So obviously we start telling ourselves that we are not good enough, we are not lovable, we are not acceptable - and this becomes our daily obsession. We spend most of our time hoping that no one notices what failures we are, thinking about how we are worthless, thinking about how we are failures. With these self-obsessed thoughts running through our minds, day in and day out, there is not much space for anything else. There is not much attention left over for recognising that what we are doing is both destructive and abusive - it is destructive to ourselves as well as to the world, because we recreate our inner struggles in the world around us - therefore the world is an aggressive place, full of systems designed to win at all costs and beat down anyone not up to the task.

The reality about having one winner is that there are hundreds, thousands, millions, billions or trillions of losers. That does not seem to be a sustainable logic to live by.

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