Why People Don’t Love Themselves, Mentally
Everything starts in the mind. If you don’t know how to utilize your mind, your thoughts, and develop it for self-love, it doesn’t matter what changes you try to make for yourself, what methods you try to implement into your life, you’ll fail. Your mindset is the starting point to any significant change in life.
The problem with a lot of mindsets, is they’re usually traumatized at a young age. People go through tough shit. They face unyielding forms of physical, mental, emotional, and psychological abuse. And going through that abuse, on a consistent basis shapes their personal beliefs of self, their mindset.
They were bullied in school.
They were abused by emotionally distant and inattentive parents.
They weren’t encouraged enough.
They weren’t given the chance to express themselves.
They faced excruciating failure.
Now, a lot of people go through these things in life, and sometimes, they come out the other side well-adjusted and normal. They’re able to overcome the overwhelming odds, and find success in their lives. Not just financial or career success, but relationship, personal, and social success. But for others, it isn’t that easy. And I don’t think people understand why that’s the case.
For those who went through their personal circumstances, and don’t come out the other end well-adjusted and normal, it isn’t because they aren’t trying. It isn’t because they’ve given up. It isn’t because they don’t care about their own improvement and development. It isn’t because they’re unreachable.
In one way or another, they grew up in an environment that constantly made them feel like they weren’t enough.
Like their needs didn’t matter. Like their opinions weren’t important. Like their values weren’t worth attention. Like their goals weren’t achievable. Like their happiness wasn’t a factor.
These negative perspectives were hammered into them, either through repetition through people they didn’t know, like strangers, or classmates. Or powerfully implemented by those they cared for most, and who’s opinions they held highest, like their parents, friends, teachers.
And unlike those who did come out healthy and stable, they didn’t receive the positive reinforcement necessary to counteract all those negative perspectives.
For every “You’re ugly.” They didn’t get a “You’re beautiful.”
For every “You’re stupid.” They didn’t get a “You’re smart.”
For every “You’re weird.” They didn’t get a “You’re amazing.”
For every “You’re boring.” They didn’t get a “You’re interesting.”
For every “Be quiet, shut up.” They didn’t get a “Talk to me, I’ll listen.”
For every “I’m busy, get out my face.” They didn’t get a “I love you so much.”
So, you end up with adults with dangerously negative beliefs of themselves. Created from constant reminders they experienced through life.
”I’ll never achieve my goals. I’m not meant to succeed.”
”I’ll never be in a relationship. I’m not attractive enough.”
”I’ don’t have anything to offer anyone. I’m worthless.”
”I always screw shit up. I’m so stupid.”
”I’ll never be happy. Everybody hates me.”
”There’s nothing worth loving about me. I should just die.”
For people with these types of beliefs, this is normal. Thinking of themselves in this way, having these perspectives of themselves, it’s all they’ve ever known. It’s all that was told to them. By people they cared about, people they valued, and strangers alike.
These thoughts aren’t their own. They aren’t true. But they are the opinions and suggestions of people they valued throughout life. They were opinions and suggestions that were expressed so often, that over time, their minds accepted them, and adopted them all as personal beliefs.
The first step in helping people heal their minds isn’t to immediately give them solutions like “Just think happy thoughts.”, “Just think positively.”, “Stop being so negative!” These are valid suggestions, in themselves, but prematurely given. First, before giving suggestions of solutions, you need to understand where they’re coming from. Where their mindsets came from, and why they truly believe all the toxic shit they tell themselves.
Understand them first. Then, it’s safe to move on to solutions.
How to Love Yourself Mentally
There are 3 main principles that need to be understood when it comes to loving yourself mentally.
Step 1 | Understand it isn’t Your Fault
The abuse you went through wasn’t fair. You didn’t ask to be placed into the circumstances you were forced to experience. The damage that was applied over time, none of it was fair. None of it was deserved. None of it was justified.
But it wasn’t your fault.
This will be the hardest part for some people, only because their personal beliefs are already so set on self-dejection. They’ve accepted the bullshit they were fed. But as someone who went through some traumatic shit, I’m here to tell you, it isn’t your fault.
One of the hardest truths I ever had to accept, was understanding why it wasn’t my fault. I always had examples for why I deserved the abuse I went through as a child. The bullying, the physical abuse, the mental abuse, the emotional abuse, I had a reason for why I deserved it all.
I got bad grades in school. My parents were right to punish me the way they did.
I had huge eyebrows. What else were they going to tease me about?
I never talked to anyone. Of course I’m the weird and quiet kid.
I didn’t do what they told me to do fast enough. I should have moved faster.
My interests are boring. No wonder nobody likes talking to me.
But deep down, these were only excuses I used to rationalize the abuse I received. The truth, when I finally figured it out, was much more relieving and liberating, but also scary.
People will only ever treat you the way they know how to treat themselves. Meaning, people’s personalities and actions towards others, are shaped by their own experiences and mindsets. This was difficult to accept at first for me, because again, I already had my excuses lines up and ready to fire whenever abuse needed justification.
But as I began to learn about the people in my life, those who caused me pain, the more this truth rang true.
My parents, primarily my father, wasn’t the way he was towards me because he hated me, or because he didn’t value me as his son. It was because his own father treated him the way he treated me, and he never received the positive reinforcement I so desperately wanted from him. He never learned to be better.
My childhood bully didn’t bully me because my eyebrows were the bane of his existence, and he needed to get a jab in each day to remain sane. It was because at home, his single mother and siblings would treat him like shit because of their own circumstances. So, his only outlet was releasing that pent-up resentment on someone easy, someone who wouldn’t retaliate and act on his abuse.
The random rude and unnecessary remarks by strangers I didn’t even know weren’t remarks based off my own character, my own value. They were based on the fact that their lives weren’t going well for them, and they didn’t know how to cope with their own struggles. So, they threw their negativity at me, because they were hoping it’d make them feel better.
When I finally accepted this, and realized through talking to people, that it was indeed true, it became easy to forgive people. To understand them. And most importantly, to take back control of my own mental image, and work on improving my personal perspective.
If you’d like to prove this idea for yourself, ask anyone who’s hurt you in the past, about their childhood. About their experiences growing up. About any pain they’ve gone through. Chances are if you get them to open up, you’ll realize why they are the way they are.