Why it Makes Sense You Don’t Like Yourself (& How to Change this Starting Now)
Have you ever wondered “Why Don’t I Like Myself?” and then come to the conclusion that this feeling must mean there’s something wrong with you?
I understand just how easy, and common, it is to believe that if you don’t like yourself, it’s because you’re broken.
I have good news though! There is nothing wrong with you!
There is actually a very simple reason you don’t like yourself.
The Simple Reason You Don’t Like Yourself
Somewhere, along the way in your life, you learned that who you authentically are, what you feel, and what you believe is not always “good enough.” This isn’t actually true but the message hurts, and lingers, nonetheless.
You can learn whatever these false messages you picked up are whenever you hear yourself say “should” either aloud to others, or in your own mind. Some common examples of “should” statements are:
- “I should never cry.”
- “I should always be happy.”
- “I should save every extra penny I can.”
- “I should go to Church every Sunday.”
- “I should be forgiving.”
- “I should look a certain way i.e. ‘fit’ or young.”
- “I should workout.”
- “I should not be single.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, was developed by psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s. He found that people reinforce their depression and anxiety thoughts that are based in emotions rather than objective fact. He labeled these thoughts “cognitive distortions.”
Stop “Shoulding” on Yourself
“Should” statements are one of these cognitive distortions. The problem with “should” statements is that these are judgments you picked up along the way that may have nothing to do with your authentic beliefs and needs.
Since all these “should” thoughts don’t necessarily reflect who you are authentically, it’s common to feel you aren’t measuring up. After all, if you believe you “should” do something, but in your heart of hearts, it’s not right for you, then it is very hard to motivate yourself to do it. It’s also depressing to think in this way because it disconnects you from what truly makes you happy.
One thing I’ve discovered in my years of being a therapist, and coach, is people must be connected to who they are authentically are to have their best life. “Should” statements detract so much from our joy, and peace, that there’s a therapist joke to highlight this. Therapists like to say when they hear you express a “should” statement that you are “shoulding on yourself.” As in, crapping all over yourself. I know, cheesy, but true!
How to Start Discovering Who You are Authentically
The first step to learning to like yourself is to simply become aware when you say “should” either to yourself or someone else. When you notice this statement, ask yourself, “If I didn’t believe this, what would I want?”
Sometimes, your “should” statement will actually reflect a true need or belief. For example, you may say I “should” not live paycheck to paycheck and then, when you ask yourself what you want, you notice you want to break free from this stressful cycle. Great, you now know earning more money will connect you to a happier life.
However, sometimes your “should” statement reflects something you don’t believe. An example of this is believing I “should” never express my political beliefs but then noticing, authentically, you believe that to inspire positive change in the world, you must take a vocal stand against injustice. Great, you know that activism and assertiveness matter to you no matter what you’ve been taught.
If you’d like to learn more about this process, please watch my video here:
Taking Steps Towards Your Most Authentic Life
Taking the steps necessary to live your truth is definitely scary at times. It takes tremendous courage to live authentically. This is especially true when you’ve been told for years that you “should” be different than who you are.
It is crucial to live authentically though otherwise, you will feel disempowered, exhausted and resentful.
There are numerous steps towards living authentically which I will explain in more detail in the future. However, for now, I want to emphasize living authentically requires healthy boundaries. I know how hard these can be to identify, and implement, so I’ve outlined a simple exercise to help you start energetically separating you from others’ wants, needs and expectations for you. This visualization can be used to help ground yourself when you are preparing to take steps towards your truth.
I’m so excited for you as you take these steps. You are so worthy of self-love!