How to Deal with Self-Hate?

Question

How can you stop hate when it is directed at yourself? This is causing me to be short tempered with others and have high levels of anxiety, both of which only cause more self hate.

Thank you

—anita, USA

Answer

Dear Anita,

It is important to have both a short-term approach, as well as a longer rhythm, in dealing with this type of challenge.

In the short-term approach, you want to first be able to recognize what is happening — that you are getting entangled in self-hate. Check to feel where your energy is focused; is it in your abdominal area? What does that energy feel like? Is it a contractive energy with tension? Or, is the energy able to be relaxed and open? If it’s a negative feeling, see if you can change the energy rather than try to change anything else. Try to engage in abdominal, slow breathing; this can be very immediate in creating a positive and more balanced state of being. Try also to focus on being kind, to yourself, as well as to others. One way of doing this is by using an affirmation.

Here’s an example of a helpful affirmation, focusing on the quality of Joy, taken from Swami Kriyananda’s book, Affirmations for Self-Healing:

“I am even-minded and cheerful at all times. I know that joy is not outside me, but within.”

For the longer rhythm it’s good to develop a daily practice of meditation. This will guide you to your true spiritual Self, united in divine consciousness. If you don’t already have a meditation practice, here’s a link to help you start: How to Meditate — Meditation Basics. Meditation can change deeply ingrained habits and allow you to come into a more positive and fulfilling way of living.

Blessings on your spiritual journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba