The Antidote to Self-Hate is Compassion

July 19th, 2011

AntidoteSelf-HateCompassionTherapistSanFrancisco

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.”

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