be the nicest person you have ever known—to yourself
Whenever I first become aware of an area in my life where I am emotionally unhealthy, I go through an initial phase of self-hatred. I hate myself for being so “unhealthy”… which is really a disguise for wondering why I can’t be perfect. Sometimes I have to drag myself through the self-hatred to get to a place of kindness, so that I can actually heal from whatever unhealthy issue is coming up. If you struggle with self-hatred in the healing process, this post is for you.
Self-hatred works like the macro lens on your camera. It zooms you in real close, so you can see every little detail of the muck while you lose focus of the big picture — all the healing work you have already done. In other words, self-hatred kills your ability to see your healing progress, while highlighting every little detail of what you haven’t worked through yet.
When you are in self-hatred mode, it feels like you’ve made no progress in your healing journey. It feels like you are back at square one, having just graduated out of the Jerry Springer family school and gotten an award for making it out alive.
You have had to do so much uncomfortable emotional work to be in this place today, and too often you discredit yourself for how far you have come. Self-hatred makes it impossible for your cognitive brain to access those memories where you previously chose to step into your discomfort and work out your emotional tangles. It has not been once, but many times, where you have pushed yourself to find a sparkle of light when it was so dark you forgot that you had eyes to see. You have burned through all your mitochondria chasing after the healing you long for, when all you’ve wanted to do was sit on your leather couch, eat a whole bag of Red Hot Blues, and mindlessly click on Facebook.
You will go nowhere in the healing process if you’re going to lay around on the couch, numbing with food and Facebook, hating on yourself for being so… unhealthy. You know this truth, you know it so well because you’ve been there, done that, but yet you can’t seem to shake it. It’s not working out because you’re sleep deprived from pretending the clock stops while you’re on Facebook and last weekend you had to buy the next size up in pants.
To move through your emotional junk when you first become aware of it, you have to be extra nice to yourself. You have to become the nicest person you have ever known — to yourself. This grates you the wrong way because it’s brushing up against all the self-hatred demons who know you too well. They know that kindness is not something you received as a kid. That’s why it’s so difficult to find kindness for yourself.
Your blood vessels and your heart and your adrenal glands and your brain, they need your kindness. Being brave asks a lot of your heart but also your body, and it takes a lot of ATP to step into the discomfort of your unhealthiness, all for the sake of getting better. You can step into the discomfort and get better or you can step away from it and do that numb thing on the couch.
Untangling your emotional quirks and working to feel OK on the inside is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. This is why every cell in your body begs you to be kind, gentle, patient, and extra nice to yourself while you heal.
You’ve put so much time and strained vocal cords and pen ink and obsessive compulsive thoughts into your desperate desire to be healed. It hasn’t been pain-free and at times you were incapacitated with feeling new emotions, but you kept at it. Your willingness to work on your emotional issues, facing them head on like you do, that’s what emotional health looks like.
Emotional health is not about being perfect but being open and willing to work through your stuff.
When you are able to see your unhealthy emotional junk, it is a loud invitation that says, “There’s something here that needs to be healed, can you be kind and brave and step into it?”.