In recent months, I’ve realized how much self-hate I have been dealing with from a young age. As a result, I have little self-esteem and I was wondering if you had any advice?
First off, thank you for sharing this with me (and with those who are reading this). It takes courage to admit that you are unhappy with yourself, and it takes even more to express that unhappiness to others. So, please understand and appreciate how profound of a leap you are taking just by being aware of and open with yourself.
We all have troubled pasts and very often past experiences can still have an impact years or decades later in our lives. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this instance because there are no wrongs in life – there are only moments and our reactions to those moments. It is up to each of one of us to take our current situations into perspective by asking:
- Who am I?
- How do I define myself?
- Who do I want to be?
- Why do I want to be?
- Who was I?
- How did I get here?
- Why am I here?
- Where do I want to be?
All-too-often people will run away from their past or bury it deep within themselves because what they experienced at a younger age was traumatizing. With each day that pain is not addressed, it only amplifies the original experience that much more. Yet, there’s something more “comforting” about acquiring new pain than facing an old one because it gives us a sense of existence, attention, or feeling (whether we want to be noticed or unnoticed – our ego’s goal is to draw an outside awareness in our direction).
I believe that you are already on your way towards accepting your past so you can be fully present with your current self. Here are some more perspectives that may help…
Your past experiences were necessary for you to be who you are today
Each and every single experience is necessary for your path. For example, I would not be here providing you with my perspective if I did not experience my share of hardships and internal battles. They were not easy to experience at a young age, but I’ve come to realize that those experiences are part of who I am – they helped shape who I am today and who I desire to be tomorrow.
Address your self-esteem
Ask yourself why you have low self-esteem and try to trace that pattern back to its original source/your first (or several) experience(s). It may be hard because the mind has the ability to block out traumatizing experiences for the sake of survival, yet the journey back in time to find that hurt, inner child is possible (and often necessary).
Overcome your fears
Fear is an illusion that we build up within our thoughts. Children are scared of the dark because they believe that their imagination can become real… but what’s real, anyway? Our thoughts, emotions, and reactions create illusions of a [physical] reality. So, in essence, fear is not real.
Time is only a factor when you make it one. Do not force yourself to grow, heal, or find freedom. Adopt “the law of least effort” in this case – a tight muscle cannot be forced to stretch to a ego-desired length otherwise it may pull, but a tight muscle that is allowed to elongate at its own pace through a minimal/slow-paced effort will always achieve progress.
Do not have expectations
Expectations are a self-made boundary system. We predict outcomes before they even occur through our own definitions of “right” and “wrong.” When those outcomes do not develop in our favor or are not “right,” then we experience a set back that can truly effect our well-being. Be open and detach yourself from every experience. That’s not to say you shouldn’t care or put forth an effort, but to not become too attached to a desired outcome in the case that it may not come true on your expectation’s watch.
Trust in yourself
Learn to trust in your efforts and trust that they will be met accordingly. Good will return good and bad will return bad – Karma!
Unconditionally accept yourself because you are who you are
You are an accumulation of your past and present self. You cannot change the past, you can only influence the present, and you can put trust in your future. Take one step at a time towards a path that you wish to travel. It will truly be the road less traveled, but understand that you have been destined from day one to travel that road – to experience and learn from those experiences solely for your gain.
Love yourself and love others
Thank you for your question!