On Hating Yourself

I wasn’t mad. I was just disappointed. I sat with that feeling: that I’m the worst. I was a thing to be fixed.

But then I remembered some of the best advice I’d ever gotten, from Amanda Clayman on my podcast: Essentially that hating yourself is just more time and energy spent not solving the issue.

This is the horse you’re riding

You are you. And you will never not be you. We all have to live with the disappointment of being neither Rihanna nor even that idealized version of ourselves in our mind.

This is the horse you’re riding.

Like, either learn how to train it or it’s going to drag you through life.

It wasn’t until I could accept that this is the way I am that I could address some of the issues with my personality.

Fighting who I am means yelling at myself, calling myself names, and trying to shame myself into action. The Willpower Instinct taught me that yelling at yourself only causes you more stress and makes it more likely you’ll repeat the behaviour.

So if I wanted to be in shape, the first step was to ACCEPT MYSELF AS I AM. Of course, it didn’t mean giving up getting in shape. It meant doubling down on getting help.

Ask a better question

I realized what I was doing and stopped judging myself. In the cleared out space of my mind, new thoughts arose:

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”

I wish I was that magnolia flower self: that cool, careless writer who sips coffee and climbs mountain faces without screaming, who never falls into the trap of consumerism and always knows what to text when you’re not quite sure if a conversation is over or still going.

But I’m my little ol’ lotus flower, down here in the mud, where I’ll make my muddy little anxious, neurotic home.

It’s so freeing to realize you don’t need to hate the person you are to become the version of yourself you most want to be.

From The Writer’s Life

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