I associate feeling bad about myself with less positive thoughts and feelings such as shame, worry, envy, fear, self-hatred/loathing, victimization, etc.
I used to live in this world of inferiority and negative emotions even believeing it was the norm and that nothing else existed. But I know now that it’s not true.
I have found a way to remove myself from this life-sucking cycle of self-flagellation, and so can you.
How do you stop feeling bad about yourself?
You stop feeling bad about yourself once you start taking responsibility for who you are and where you are in your life. Only once you do, you finally give yourself the power to do something about it and change it. As long as you don’t take ownership of your life, you will continue feeling bad about yourself.
So, what does taking responsibility look like, step-by-step?
1. Catch yourself doing it
So many people are not even aware of their feelings, let alone aware of their feelings while they are happening. If that’s your case, start by first learning to catch yourself while you are having those defeatist, self-deprecating thoughts that make you feel bad about yourself.
It may take some time so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you’d like.
2. Identify clearly who and what is making you feel bad
Once you become more accustomed to what is happening in your mind, get curious.
Are you comparing yourself? To whom? Someone who is fitter? Thinner? More eloquent? Knowledgeable? More respected by their colleagues?
Identify who you compare yourself to, and why. You might start to see patterns emerge and understand the problem better.
For example, if you keep feeling inferior when you are around your siblings, it might have to do with something you were told growing up by your parents and you have internalized it.
3. Dig deeper. Reflect on it. Understand it.
Don’t just say: “Oh my neighbor has a perfect life and I don’t; I hate my life”.
Go deeper. What is it exactly that is making you feel bad about yourself?
Are you envious because your neighbor has a wife or husband who appears to love them more than yours do? Is it because you don’t have a spouse and wish you did? Do you wish there was more love in your relationship with your spouse? Or maybe your neighbour has a lot of free time, when you barely have time to brush your teeth?
You have to get very specific about what it is exactly that is making you feel bad about yourself, so that you can start figuring out the way to fix it.
Do you keep demeaning yourself when you see someone who has a body shape you envy? Is it about fitness?
Or maybe you have things you keep wishing you could say but freeze every time you only think about speaking in public? Do you feel not knowledgeable enough? Is it about communication skills? A lack of education?
Seriously. Ask yourself more questions and dig deep.
Journal about it if you must. Go for long walks and reflect.
If possible, talk about it with those people you “admire” so much, with your parents, people who knew you as a child, etc. Investigate.
4. Accept the situation
Now that you have identified the things that make you feel bad about yourself, it is time to accept them.
I know what you are thinking and no, acceptance is not resignation. But maybe it will become clearer if you keep reading.
I am talking about accepting the way things are right now, what has happened, what you have done, or what someone else has done to you. Stop judging. Stop giving it a right or wrong or an “it’s my fault I’m stupid” value. It’s the way it is, that’s it.
- Accept that you chose a physically violent companion. No, you are not dumb or stupid, you made a mistake.
- Accept that you are now 50 pounds over-weight because you never move your body and you stopped paying attention to what you put in your mouth. No, you are not “less of a person” because of it. You are a person who has stopped exercising and paying attention to your body.
- Accept that you are 50 000$ in debt because you have made bad financial decisions, or because your cousin ripped you off. Whatever. Accept that too. It happened.
The past has passed. Stop wishing things were different. They are not and it’s a waste of your energy, energy you need to change things.
5. Decide if you want to do something about it or not
Now that you have accepted what has happened, you need to ask yourself whether or not you are going to do something about it. You are the one who has to change things so that you stop feeling bad all the time.
You don’t have to and you could decide to leave things as they are and just accept them. In this case, I recommend figuring out a way to stop feeling bad about those things.
But it is pointless to feel bad about something over and over again, choosing not to do something about it, and then keep feeling bad about it again in an endless cycle of torture. This is just you digging your own grave.
So change, or don’t change; it’s up to you. But make a choice.
6. Figure out your part of the equation
You hate being in debt? What can you do about it now so that it doesn’t happen anymore? You hate being out of shape? What can you do to be less out of shape?
Stop blaming the world, or yourself for that matter. Act.
It doesn’t mean bad things will stop happening to you. It means that you will now take responsibility for your part of the problem and change your part of the equation.
7. Now, time to roll up your sleeves and be uncomfortable
Now that you’ve decided to do something about the situation, it is time to sweat a little, but mostly it is time to accept that things are going to feel uncomfortable for a while.
It’s ok. No one said life was comfortable. And if there is one thing you must expect with change, it’s discomfort. Discomfort is the reason why most people give up as soon as they try to change. They start to feel uncomfortable and they don’t like it.
But if you push through, the discomfort will slowly become the norm, what you know, what is comfortable. You start to learn new things, see some rewards, and perhaps even begin to enjoy your new norm, which in turn motivates you to continue.
This is how you empower yourself. When you regain control over your actions.
8. Start mimicking people who inspire you and get help
Yeah, you read that right. You probably don’t know what to do to change or where to start. Well, you could start by mimicking the behavior of the people you envy or feel inferior to.
Do you envy your colleague for her capacity to always say what she thinks? Well, try it. Do you want to be as fit as your friend? Observe their behavior: what do they do? What are their habits?
Also, seek help from professionals who can help you with the things you want to change: speech therapists, life coaches, personal trainers, Facebook groups, YouTube tutorials, seminars, etc. There are resources out there for every budget on every topic you can think of. The only person stopping you is you.
You will never stop feeling bad about yourself unless you first accept the way you are, then decide to change what you can. You could keep wishing and waiting for your world to become suddenly perfect. Or you can roll up your sleeves and make it happen.
Are you ready to stop feeling bad about yourself and take control?