"I Hate Myself For..."
4 Steps to Change Your Thinking
To Be More Positive

by Catherine Pratt

"I hate myself for letting him talk to me like that.”
I actually knew where this conversation was going with my co-worker. She didn’t get along with her boss at all. Sort of reminded me of the “The Devil Wears Prada” movie except with a male boss.

Anyway, what I told her was, “First of all, it’s a waste of energy to say 'I hate myself'. In reality, you hate the situation or the consequences of your actions. You don’t hate yourself. Get rid of that thought right now."

Hating yourself will get you nowhere and will in fact only make things worse for you. You're destroying your own self confidence for no reason. All you have to do is change your thinking. It’s the situation that's the problem, not you. Once you understand this concept then it becomes so much easier to figure out how to fix whatever is bothering you.

Here are 4 steps to change that negative thinking to be more positive:

1. Take a Step Back or Look At The Situation From The Other Person’s Perspective

If you can try to see it from someone else’s viewpoint, then you’ll have a better idea of why they act and react the way they do. Once you know that then you have a much better chance of getting along with the person or at least having more respect for their decision.

For example, my co-worker could ask herself questions like:

  • What type of boss do I have?
    One that likes massive amounts of detail or one that doesn’t? Figure out what kind of personality you're working with so you can provide what they need.
  • Are they under a lot of stress right now?
    If they're tense with you maybe it doesn't even have anything to do with you but something else that they're dealing with. Maybe their boss is giving them grief. It doesn't excuse bad behavior but it will make it easier to deal with if you understand where it's coming from.
  • Do they have low self esteem?
    Maybe they're struggling in their job.

By changing your perspective, you can alter the situation. It'll no longer be about you but about the big picture of the situation. In some scenarios you may even end up admiring the other person because you discover that they truly want the best for either you or the company but you’re just seeing it from a different point of view. For example, remember when you were a kid and you wanted to run across the street without looking and your mom would completely freak out and yell at you? Why did she yell at you? Because she loves you and didn't want you to get hurt. Your perspective of the situation would change once you realized she was yelling out of love rather than just being mean to you. I'm not saying your boss is like your mother but I am saying that you may understand the situation a lot more if you can take your personal feelings out of the equation and take a step back and see it from their side.

What Do You Want?

Instead of saying, “I hate myself” ask yourself, “what do I want?” You can then take positive action to make changes. In the above example, if my co-worker answers something like, “I want more respect” or “I want to get along with my boss” or even “I want a new job” then she’ll have a better idea of what steps she can take to change the situation to be more to her liking. She has a direction to focus on now instead of just being angry.

Take Action

Once you know what you want, then figure out what steps you can take to achieve your goal. As soon as you take action, you’ve put yourself in a positive frame of mind and you should be proud of yourself and you'll see that just thinking "I hate myself" is a complete waste of time and energy. If my co-worker decides what she really wants is more respect then she could take assertiveness training or a conflict management course or maybe even just sit down with her boss and have a good talk about what he expects and what would make things work more efficiently between them. She’s making positive steps in the right direction instead of simply being frustrated.

4. What's Stopping You?

If you’re hesitating with the action step, ask yourself, “What’s stopping me from changing the situation?” By thinking this through, you may realize that the fear that’s getting in the way is really not all that big of a deal once you really analyze it. For example, my co-worker may actually be more frustrated with herself than with her boss because she’s not happy in her current job. It’s not what she really wants to be doing with her career. If she asks herself what’s stopping her from finding a new position, she may realize it’s as simple as she’s scared to go on interviews. Once she knows that then she can do something about it. She could practice mock interviews with a friend, join a toastmasters group, or simply realize that interviews aren't that bad and the end result is worth facing the fear.

Lots of times, once you put actual words to your fear, you realize that it's really not that scary and you can deal with it.

Hate Myself Summary

By simply leaving the situation at, “I hate myself” gets you absolutely nowhere. You’ll also start to hurt yourself in more ways than one because you’ll be taking your anger out on yourself. Your confidence and self esteem levels will drop to nothing. Your anger is simply frustration because you feel that you're trapped in a certain situation. When really all you have to do is alter how you view things, then you suddenly see that you do have lots of options.

This works for almost any situation. Here’s another example. How many times have you heard a woman say, “I hate myself for how fat I am.” She doesn’t really hate herself, she hates the extra weight she’s carrying. So, if she could follow the same above four steps she would get a different perspective on the situation, and then could figure out what she really does want and then be able to take action for it or figure out why she hasn’t been able to take any action. It’s amazing what a difference changing your perspective can make.

If you ever catch yourself saying, "I hate myself" instantly stop yourself and cancel that thought. It's simply not true. You hate the situation, not yourself. Never blame yourself like this. Realize you don't like the consequences of your actions or the situation you're in but never hate yourself for it. You can get mad and want to change the situation but still never blame yourself. Change your perspective instead and you will change your life.

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