Negative Self-Perceptions

negative self perception

I recently had a conversation about self-hate, love, and comparison, and how it bleeds into our interactions with other people. How our self perception, whether it was developed by ourselves or from past upbringings and traumas; our self perception bleeds into our daily lives – how we handle other beings and situations we’re faced with, both positive and negative.

In the conversation, a comment was made about another, “they hate themselves and I don’t understand why.” This led me into a single breath, long-winded monologue, diving into why this person and many others dislike or are unhappy with themselves.

My Monologue went something like this

They may hate themselves. And sadly their self-hate is because of what they were brought up seeing and knowing. 
They were brought up in an unhappy home, dealing with verbal and mental abuse. 
They dealt with comparison; to their siblings / other family members, schoolmates, and so much more.
Comparisons in different aspects of their lives…education, career, athleticism, creativity, etc. 

They were taught from a very early age that they had to fight to get approval from someone…rather than approval from themselves. 
They were taught to compare themselves to others around them rather than to themselves.
They were taught that life is a constant
competition and if you aren’t out front, you definitely aren’t winning and aren’t worthy.

They don’t know how to be any different, this is all they’ve known for their entire lives. It’s a record on repeat, it just keeps spinning around and around. And it won’t be stopped until they lift the needle. As Jordan B. Peterson said in his chapter on caring for oneself in The 12 Rules for Life, “no one understands the darkness of the individual better than the individual himself (55).” 

They may understand their darkness and the vicious cycle of it, but it will never be fixed unless they acknowledge the darkness. 
Acknowledge that they are hurting, holding resentment towards others and themselves. 
Acknowledge that their expectations of themselves and everyone else around them are unrealistic. 
Acknowledge that their pride is holding them back from being vulnerable and open.
Acknowledge that they’re scared of what will come up when they dive deep and find the broken pieces. 

We're Not All the Same

This isn’t the exact story for everybody. You can have a beautiful, nearly flawless upbringing, but you can still find yourself in a state of negativity.

When we are born into this world, we don’t know what love or hate are. These feelings and actions are learned throughout our upbringing in various ways. Self-hate can develop at any point in our lives, all it takes is one traumatic experience and not having the capacity to face it and overcome it.

Breaking from a negative path, especially one that has been with you for so long is hard to break free from. But it is possible. I’ve done it and I’ve seen those that I hold close to my heart do it as well. 

How Self Perception Bleeds Into Your Life

The way you perceive yourself tends to have an impression on how you treat others. In this case of self-hate and negative self image, there’s a feeling of not having control. With no control over oneself, that control is projected onto others, into their work, and whatever aspects in life they feel they are able to control…leading to the same patterns that the person was brought up with — verbal and mental abuse towards others. Comparisons and competitions between people. And so much more. 

Jordan Peterson strikes again with a knowledge bomb in his The 12 Rules for Life

“We know exactly how and where we can be hurt, and why…we are aware of our own defenselessness, finitude, and mortality. We can feel pain, and self-disgust, and shame, and horror, and we know it. We know what makes us suffer. We know how dread and pain can be inflicted on us. We know how we are naked, and how that nakedness can be exploited – and that means we know how others are naked, and how they can be exploited.”

As Peterson says, we know our own pain and we know how to inflict it upon others. Those who are absorbed within their own self-hatred take it out on those around them, as mentioned above by trying to control. Or by being vicious, making comments to bring that person down. The same way they were brought down. 

It can go the other way too though. They can recede into themselves. Be submissive because they don’t have respect for their being. It’s a full circle whichever direction it goes…and it’s not a nice one either. 

Finding Self-Love and Positivity towards Oneself

The way you treat yourself, is the way you’ll treat those around you. So be careful. Treat others how you’d like yourself to be treated. 

I’m not sure enough people understand this. I’m not sure enough people understand that life will keep spinning like a turn table, around and around with the same tune playing, and will only stop when the needle is picked up. 

To find self-love and live a positive life, that needle needs to be picked up. It needs to be recognized that something isn’t right and the needles must be moved or the record needs to be changed (make changes within your life), so that you can move forward within yourself, rather than staying stagnant.

Do not allow yourself to continue spinning in the same direction. You have the power to change. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Act upon it. 

Who are you? 
And I mean, WHO ARE YOU – not what/who other people say you are.
Take them all away.
When you are by yourself, when you are raw, Who Are You?
What do you want in life? What do you want from yourself?

Give yourself the love that you deserve. 

How is your relationship with yourself? Does your self perception negatively or positively feed into your life and your external interactions?

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