“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”— Mother Theresa
It is quite natural that during life, we develop and change accordingly. The more toxic the environment we grow up in, the greater our need to change will be.
However, it is precisely our environment that often has a problem with the fact that we have changed.
They can experience our change as a threat, it can remind them that they too need a change for which they may not be ready, and it can simply scare them.
Although it can be challenging to maintain relationships with the environment after going through a transformative phase in life, how we treat ourselves during these changes is very important.
If you hate your past self, it may feel threatening for you to get close to other people.
This form of self-hatred can also limit you in many other areas of your life. It is essential to resolve it and not just put it under the carpet and hope it will go away.
To help you deal with this complicated feeling, let’s first explore the reasons behind it. When you understand yourself, we are sure you’ll know how to handle this feeling.
Why You Hate Your Past Self
Although it may seem that there are many reasons to hate yourself, whether you hate the way you used to be or the way you are now, all the things you give yourself as a reason to hate yourself have only one cause.
No baby in the world is born with a sense of self-criticism. But every baby learns about itself through relationships with other people.
Suppose a child grows up with parents or another important person who criticizes him often and harshly. In that case, he will learn to criticize himself the same way even when that person is no longer there.
So, you weren’t born so cruel and self-critical. You became that way because someone was very critical of you and because, on the other hand, you were denied praise and constructive criticism.
The first task is to remember who you were afraid of when you were a child, who made you feel small, and whose words were hard for you to hear.
Very often, the criticism is not verbal. The child also experiences ignoring, neglect and inattention as criticism.
Who is the person from whom you missed love, and whose opinion you really cared about? Who is the person who very rarely had a kind word for you? Who is the person who severely punished you for mistakes?
When you identify who that person is or who they are who criticized you, think about whether the way you criticize yourself is similar to the way those people treated you?
You might have been rejected if you had an older brother or sister who didn’t want to play with you.
They may have found you annoying, so you feel like you are annoying everyone. You could interpret their rejection as a message that you are boring.
If your parents noticed you only when you made a mistake and then scolded you and considered your successes normal and did not praise you for it, you would not be able to praise yourself either. But that’s why you will blame yourself for the slightest mistake.
A million scenarios could have led to you becoming your own harshest critic. It is important to see that the voice that criticizes you is not actually you but a learned pattern of behavior.
3 Simple Tactics to Stop Hating Your Past Self
If you constantly ruminate about your past mistakes, what you could have done better, what you should/shouldn’t have said, etc., and believe that your new self has nothing to do with your past self, we’ve got news for you.
There’s no past and present self – it is all only you, yourself. To stop hating yourself, you need to learn to accept and love yourself. That is very hard if you’ve never experienced how being really loved and accepted feels.
But, since you are here and reading this article, there’s a great chance you are on your path to healing. So let us help you with these three useful tactics to stop hating your past self:
Becoming Your Own Best Friend
When you tell someone who doesn’t love themselves that they just need to love themselves, to that person, it’s like you told them you just need to understand quantum physics.
However, it is interesting that people who have not been adequately loved are very capable of loving other people. So now think of a person you love very much.
Think about how you talk to that person and how you treat them. Do you ever criticize that person the way you criticize yourself?
When you clearly recognize how you are always expressing love to that person – ask yourself if you have ever treated yourself that way?
The answer is probably no. So, loving yourself means behaving and treating yourself the way we treat other people we love very much in our lives.
We forgive the mistakes of the people we love, understand them, accept them, and support them.
When that inner critic comes to you, protect yourself from it the way you would protect another person you care about from unfair criticism.
Negotiating With Your Inner Critic
Your harsh inner critic will probably never disappear completely. Still, it can become significantly quieter, and you can learn to ignore it.
For a start, enter into a discussion with him – for each criticism, state how you felt when you made the mistake you regret.
Ignoring our own feelings often leads us to overlook important aspects of the situation.
When you appreciate all the circumstances that led you to behave in a certain way or do something that you would never do today, you will understand that you could not have done anything differently.
But your inner critic doesn’t want to hear how you feel, just like your parents probably didn’t care either. Do not repeat the mistake of your parents and ignore your own feelings.
Ignore the critic and respect your feelings and needs instead. There was only one path that led to becoming what you are today, and that path is exactly what made you the person you are now.
The Power of Forgiveness and Compassion
Your present self isn’t something that came out of nowhere. All that you are now is the sum of your past experiences mixed with your genetics and inner traits.
What you need to hear is you are the same person. The person you used to be was just as worthy of love as is the person you’ve become. You were just at a different stage of the journey.
And it is impossible to really move forward as long as you fail to understand why you needed to be the way you were and how it led to becoming who you are now.
Just like you would forgive a friend or a person you love, forgive yourself too.
You may have made poor choices and struggled more than you do now, but considering what you knew then, that was not only the best but the only possible course of action for you.
When your attitude towards you changes, you will also notice that people around you behave differently towards you. People intuitively react to your emotional state.
That’s why people who love themselves are popular – not because they are narcissists, but because they accept other people in the same way they love and accept themselves despite all their flaws.
When you criticize yourself harshly, people can feel it. They may perceive you as a negative, toxic person. Then they feel they have the right to criticize you too, which can only strengthen your belief that you deserve to be hated.
Living with self-hatred is similar to having a bully inside of you. The bully relentlessly criticizes, making the victim feel unworthy, awful, filthy, overweight, cruel, odd, or like a failure.
The inner bully also persuades a victim that everyone around them feels the same way about them. Anxiety and the sensation of not being able to stand one’s own body or personality may result from this.
Change is an inevitable part of the human experience. We are doomed to change, even when that’s the last thing we want. Hating your past self, apart from many other things, means that you also have trouble accepting change.
Your present self will also change, your circumstances and priorities, and your self-image will change. The only thing that should always stay the same is your love for yourself.
Once you learn to really understand and love yourself, love will come naturally as a result. We all make mistakes, and we all deserve to be loved and respected for who we truly are. You are no exception.