This is the fourth of a 14-part series that delves into the negative effects of low self-esteem.

In this article, we would like to share some insights about one of the most destructive effects of low self-esteem.


Self-hatred or self-loathing refers to an extreme dislike or anger of oneself.  It can stem from shame, guilt or a feeling of inadequacy or unworthiness for things the person desires.

Self hatred doesn't come in an instant. It is developed overtime through a series of unpleasant experiences that condition the person's mind.  Some contributors of self-hatred are:

1. Failure to maintain a clean image

When a person is mocked by others for an act that tarnished his clean image, he or she might develop a self-hate pattern.  This is often triggered by feelings of being hated combined with his/her inability to maintain the clean image that he/she wants to portray.

2. Self-criticism

People who are not contented of who they are or those who think that they are not able to come up with their family's expectations can easily develop self-hatred.

3. Perfectionism

It refers to a state of mind in which a person wants things to be better than what they actually are.  The person usually takes the responsibility of making things flawless until he/she reaches a point when things are not good enough. 

The perfectionist portrays himself as someone with very high standards, but when he gets criticized, he thinks that he has failed and he can develop self-hatred for not being perfect.

4. Shame

Shame and guilt are related to each other as far as their effect on a person's self-esteem is concerned.  They both refer to an act which is not acceptable based on existing social values.  It can give the person the feeling that he or she is criticized by other people.

According to Fossum and Mason, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person, while guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for his/her actions. 

A person who constantly feels shame and guilt will have a tendency to develop self-hate.

Here are some ways to overcome self-hatred:

1. Love yourself and learn to acknowledge the love of others.

2. Feel good about yourself.  Recognize your good qualities and change the ones that need improvement, but you must be sure that you do not change for other people.

3. Stop thinking negative thoughts.  Be conscious of what your mind is thinking.  Condition your mind to focus on the positive things.

4. Don't be a hard master to yourself. Increase your tolerance for errors and stop being a perfectionist.  Learn to accept your human nature.  Always remember that everyone can make mistakes because nobody is perfect.


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