People hate themselves.
It is now a big part of my mission to help end self-loathing. Not just in me, but in others. As an idea or a way of life.
Self-loathing is at the root of many societal and cultural problems we have today. And I do not understand it.
So what happened?
A part of it seems to be the Western Enlightenment tradition of questioning everything. The endpoint of this, with no objective truth to ground this search, appears to be “Well, we’ve run our course lads. We’re uniquely evil upon the world. Let’s all die!”
This is bad.
Another aspect seems to be subconscious boredom. When you’ve reached the top and live in peace and comfort, there’s nothing left to do but tear it all down and start over. Instead of starting a new project, we seem hellbent on wrecking the one we’ve built over the millennia.
And of course there are the enemies of civilization who foster and actively work towards this.
But this is societal self-loathing. And societies are made of individuals. Individuals whom have that fallen, common, all-too-human tendency towards self-destruction.
I cannot change society myself, but it makes me sad to see my fellow humans, in real life and online, hate themselves. If my words can make anyone reconsider this course, I’ll consider all of this blogging a success.
But what to do? What authority do I have?
Let me tell you: I have been there. And it’s still a struggle. But I’ve learned to not hate myself. It can be done. You don’t have to become an arrogant, selfish psychopath . . . but a little swagger never hurt anyone.
Below I humbly declare my Anti-Self-Loathing Manifesto!
Point the First – Ignore what other people think of you. Someone thinks something you do is dumb, or silly, or worthless? Someone always will. So let them. This is different from honest feedback or criticism. Some people are just haters. The best way to be is to let haters hate, to use common parlance, and focus on improving whatever it is you do. As a wise man once said, not caring what other people think of you is damn near a superpower.
Point the Second – Do not apologize for existing. If you’re a Christian, you already know this. Maybe you need a reminder. If you’re not Christian, or not religious at all, you still need a reminder. As another wise man once said, you are what you is. Your existence is not a problem. You are not responsible for what people alive before you did. It’s liberating telling people who think you are to get stuffed.
Point the Third – Have objective standards and discipline yourself. Whatever they are. Let truth be your guide, not self-worship. Have roots. Double standards are a killer, so neither hold them nor allow others to do so to you. And whatever your standards are, hold yourself to them. When we know we are doing right, we feel good–a perfect antidote to self-loathing.
Point the Fourth – Incremental progress. Sometimes, I’d hate myself for either failing to do something, or failing to not do something. Much of this stemmed from unrealistic expectations, taking on too much at once, and thinking in the short terms. Goals aren’t a dirty word, but Scott Adams is right: systems are where it’s at. Find ONE thing you can change, big or small, and start with that. Or, devote 10 minutes of your day to what you want to do. That’s it! It will snowball from there.
As my father always said: It’s the motive energy that’s the hardest to muster. Getting started can be rough. But after that–and here’s where the long-term thinking comes in–you’ll gain a momentum that’ll be hard to stop. And remember: A setback isn’t the end, it’s just the chance to begin again.
Point the Fifth – Never abase yourself for the approval of assholes. Some people will always hate you just because. So stop trying to be their friends. This goes at the personal level and in the abstract. DO NOT. abase yourself, especially if it means throwing your own principles and friends under the proverbial bus. No one will respect you, especially not the object of your fawning. And deep down, you won’t respect yourself.
I sincerely hope that this helps you as much as it has helped me. I know I write about regret in a positive manner, but use them as fuel, as what you want to avoid. And don’t hate yourself! Plenty of people are ready to do that for you.
Civilization is depending on you. Good luck!