How to Stop Hating Yourself

Rose Bak
4 min readOct 4, 2019

It’s Time to Join the Self-Love Revolution

Photo courtesy of My Girl Murphy

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
— Louise L. Hay

I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection since I turned 50. One of the things I’ve been focused on a lot is my longest and most important relationship — the relationship I have with myself.

Someone on Facebook posted something recently about wishing they could be back in the 80s and I responded that I only wish I were as “fat” now as I thought I was back then.

It was a joking reference to how many of us go through life so focused on our appearance that we don’t appreciate how good we look until it’s too late.

But as I reflected more on that off-hand comment, I became troubled. Clearly somewhere in my mind the 1980s me is better than 2018 me. Or better looking anyway. But why is that? Why would I turn that negativity inward? What if instead I believed I was beautiful then, and beautiful now too? Both can be true.

A teacher from the yoga studio where I practice summed up their teaching philosophy like this, “We approach everyone with the belief that they are perfect just as they are. I’m perfect, you’re perfect, just as you are. You don’t need to be fixed.”

This is revolutionary. Seriously revolutionary.

I am perfect just the way I am. And so are you.

Think about how different things would be if we all believed that. There are literally millions of self-improvement books out there, many of which claim that loving yourself means changing yourself. Love yourself thin. Love yourself to heal disease. Love yourself to be get what you want. Love yourself to find a relationship. What do they have in common? The premise that to change yourself is an act of love.

It’s very different from this idea that you should love yourself right now, just the way you are. It’s the opposite of the belief that you should love yourself without the assumption that you are flawed and need to change something in order to move towards perfection.

Lately I’ve been engaging in a Buddhist practice called metta, or lovingkindness. I am no expert in Buddhism…

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance writer and yoga teacher who lives in Oregon. Find her at https://linktr.ee/rosebak or follow @authorrosebak on social media.