The Antidote to Self-Hate is Compassion

July 19th, 2011


I’ve been reading Cheri Huber’s book, There is Nothing Wrong With You: Going Beyond Self-Hate. She talks a lot about how self-hate works, and how to intervene on your own behalf. She says that spiritual practice is essential because “in order to be free of self-hate, we must find the unconditional.” Not everyone who comes to psychotherapy is interested in spiritual practice, so here are some of her suggestions that are free of spiritual or religious requirements.

I think these are good practices to try, especially if you would like to cultivate more compassion in your life:

• Think of at least one loving thing to do for yourself each day.

• Stop and appreciate yourself for every thought and act of kindness.

• Each time you give a gift to someone else, give something (even if it’s just little) to yourself.

• Ask the child inside you what it needs to hear you say.

• Say thank you to yourself when you do something kind.

• Each time you receive a gift, give something (even if it’s something little) to someone else, and really let yourself feel the joy of doing it.

• Get comfortable saying, “I love you” to yourself and say it many times each day.

• Take out pictures of yourself when you were little, frame them, place them in prominent places, and let yourself begin to appreciate that little person.

• Journal regularly, especially noting the self-hating ways you speak to yourself and treat yourself. Each time you become aware of a self-hating thought or action, remind yourself that even though you were taught to treat yourself that way, you are now committed to treating yourself with unconditional love and acceptance.

• Find a time of quiet and solitude each day (i.e. meditation or mindfulness practice) in order to be more present to yourself.

Finally, I leave you with this little gem from the book: “From the innocent, compassionate heart it is clear that life just happens. We don’t need to take it personally. We are not being punished, and neither are we being rewarded.”

image © LenLis –

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