All of us have at some point in our life felt thoughts of self-doubt and self-loathing. But what happens when those thoughts turn persistent and recurring, feeling like someone trailing around you all day every day critiquing and shaming your every action.
Why can't I just be normal?
Why do I even try?
Why can't I do anything right?
Why am I so flawed?
Imagine being inside a prison of your own making and you hold the keys but you still can't break out of that jail of negative thoughts. That’s what young adults with body dysmorphic disorder go through every day.
Causes:The causes are many ranging from past trauma, perfectionism, false expectations, social comparisons, and several learned behaviors.
The Social Media Trap:The top of the list is social comparisons.Similar to what one does when they see an Instagram post showing someone living what they project as " the perfect life". We instantly begin to compare our life with the so-called " perfect life " post and dwell into self-hatred.
Masking the self-hatred- she/ he seems fine, she/he just wants the Attention!
Well to the Karens who say this, welcome to the world of masking your mental illness. Looking well and feeling well are not the same things. Masking is exhausting and burns one out. When it slips, you turn into a bumbling mess.
How To Break Free From Self Hatred:
Firstly, if you have read this far, it means you have taken the biggest step and are ready to try. Secondly, I would like to emphasize that there is no one size that fits all. You gotta try different things and see what works for you. Trying harder is rarely the answer, it's trying differently. Find out what works for you.
Tame Your Inner Critic: This is what I like to think when such negative thoughts cross my mind
step1 - Acknowledgement - say - I recognize a negative thought. This is just a story I'm telling myself and it’s not true
step 2 - Acceptance- say- Mind, thank you for trying to keep me safe
step 3- Reframing-say- create a positive and realistic statement in response to that thought
example- I'm such an idiot ----> I may struggle at times but I am smart and competent in many ways.
Inventorying Your Strengths:It's way easier to recognize someone else's strengths and forget our own. Write down a list on your phone and it can range from your most validated strength to the silliest one. This is your list, your garden and there is no judgment there.
Learn to Accept Compliments:Learning how to accept a compliment will take practice, but it is possible. The next time someone compliments you, try saying "thank you"—and stop there. Resist the urge to follow it up with a self-critical or dismissive response.
Self Compassion:Learn to love yourself. Way harder than it sounds. I'm still learning this but one of the things that worked for me is thinking about how you would treat a friend or a loved one. Would you beat them up for making a mistake or remind them that no one is perfect?