The School of Life: On Self-Hatred
Learning to like oneself
A guide to emotional healing and living a more self-accepting life.
Behind many of our problems lies an often ignored factor: we don’t like ourselves very much. We are sufferers of self-hatred. We tell ourselves the meanest things. It’s because of self-hatred that we tend to neglect our potential at work and get entangled in unfulfilling relationships, that we lack confidence in our social lives and suffer from anxiety, despair and imposter syndrome.
This is a book that, with immense compassion and fellow feeling, investigates the phenomenon of self-hatred while giving pragmatic advice on how to overcome it. It asks where the feeling comes from, what it makes us do and how we might become kinder and more compassionate towards ourselves.
We have probably spent far too much of our lives disliking ourselves and attacking everything we say, do or feel, while not even realizing what we’re up to. It’s time to overcome our masochism and move towards a more self-forgiving and accepting stance. The School of Life: On Self Hatred is a guide to the more compassionate and gentle relationship we should have had with ourselves from the start, and can all achieve now.
IDENTIFIES THE ORIGINS AND CONSEQUENCES OF SELF-HATRED: and provides advice for living a more self-accepting life.ENCOURAGES US TO DEVELOP ASSERTIVENESS AGAINST SELF-LOATHING: and
gives us the tools to challenge our inner critic and deal with imposter syndrome.ACCESSIBLE AND PRAGMATIC: with a compassionate and realistic
tone, outlining the importance of self-care.PART OF THE SCHOOL OF LIFE'S SERIES OF GIFTABLE ESSAYS: other titles
include: Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, On Confidence,
How to Find Love and Self-Knowledge.
The latest dispatch from the School of Life (A Replacement for Religion), an international educational organization, superficially tackles a topic that's bread and butter for many a therapist. Self-hatred, the authors write, is "the bitter fruit of an ingrained sense of what we should be like" and can "wreak havoc across a range of psychological situations," though many are oblivious to the fact that they suffer from it. To help readers self-diagnose, the authors provide a quiz-style audit that inventories one's level of agreement with a series of sweeping statements ("If people knew who I really was, they would be horrified"). Self-hatred can assume various forms, they explain—imposter syndrome, people-pleasing, and perfectionism among them—and provide descriptions for each (of imposter syndrome: "No one is ever as competent as they feel they should be; what varies is how tolerant people can be of their own incompetence"). For the authors, self-hatred is only a result of bad parenting, because a child would tend to wonder "what may be wrong with itself to explain the parental disapproval." Other possibilities that might hamper development, such as socioeconomic disadvantage, go unmentioned. The conclusion, which recommends trading self-love for self-acceptance lands as realistic, but doesn't compensate for the entry's cursory nature and oversimplified considerations of a complex topic. Readers can skip this one.