Self-loathing definition (A guide)

In this article, we give you the self-loathing definition, along with savvy suggestions on how to forgive yourself and start having a better relationship with yourself. 

Self-loathing definition

Self-loathing is the greatest saboteur to your personal happiness.

In simple terms, it implies thoughts and feelings of hatred towards oneself.

Self-loathing will affect your relationships, trust and you will certainly have low self-esteem.

After all, this is the recipe for failure and dissatisfaction.

If you suffer from self-loathing, you will feel so much pain as you go through life. 

Why do we hate ourselves?

The truth is no one has taught us where the limit between love and hate is.

Moreover, self-love has always been associated with selfishness and narcissism, although they are two totally different things.

Among the causes of self-loathing can be:

  • you did something you thought you shouldn’t have done and you’re punishing yourself;
  • you don’t like something about yourself and it developed into a feeling of hatred;
  • you feel guilty;
  • you have suffered physical or emotional abuse and somehow you consider yourself partly to blame;
  • you are insecure;
  • you feel like a loser;
  • you are too self-critical; you criticize yourself by saying ‘I’m not good at anything;.
  • you don’t like the way you look.

Self-loathing stems from the fact that you don’t like certain aspects of yourself.

Maybe it’s about your physical appearance or your character, on a very intense level.

Maybe it even makes you angry and depressed.

It is more than obvious that if you have reached this point, where the thoughts you have about yourself provoke strong negative emotions, you need to do something or seek professional help if you feel that you can not do it alone.

How can you change?

Self-loathing is the opposite of self-love.

If you are against yourself you cannot get absolutely anything you want and you will be stuck in negativity and unhappiness with no chance of escaping.

If you are wondering why you have not been able to achieve your goals so far, get the relationship you want, or any other essential aspect of your life, think a little about the relationship you have with yourself.

The relationship you have with yourself is reflected in every aspect of your life. There is no doubt.

If you want to see why you only experience dissatisfaction in a certain area of your life, turn to yourself, and see how much you love yourself.

A few steps

Here are some of the most important steps you need to take to step  from self-loathing to self-love:

  • Forgive yourself.
  • Get rid of resentments because they block your evolution. Forgive others, too.
  • Eliminate unhealthy perfectionism. No one is perfect, and that’s perfectly perfect.
  • Stop criticizing yourself so harshly for your mistakes, they are a form of evolution.

Below we’ll discuss each step separately and in more details. 

Forgive yourself

Probably, as you have already noticed, it is much easier to accept someone’s apology, to understand the reasons why he/she may still have wronged you, to feel even compassion for that person and at the same time to be almost impossible to forgive yourself for a mistake of yours.

Did this happen to you?

If so, then you should know that every human being on this planet has such feelings at some point in their life.

The fact that you cannot forgive yourself for a mistake, a decision or an action from the past, creates in the present feelings of confusion, guilt, regret, pain, sadness and self-loathing that ultimately lead to continuous self-sabotage. 

The implications of not forgiving yourself for a mistake in your past are very great and long term, which puts a strong imprint of sadness on you both now and in the future!

How? Very simple: it negatively affects your self-esteem, self-confidence, you are overwhelmed by fears and phobias and, perhaps worst of all, you start to think that you do not deserve to be happy, to be loved and that you deserve to be punished for what you did.

You develop self-loathing.

Yes, forgiving yourself is an important factor in your personal and professional development.

It frees you from any fear and negative thoughts and motivates you to want to be well, sets your subconscious to identify opportunities in your life and be happy with the choices you make.

It makes you the good person you want to be, it brings you closer to your huge potential, to the uniqueness and genius that exists inside you.

And it helps you fix your problems and turn your dreams into reality.

And perhaps most importantly, when you forgive yourself, you allow yourself to be happy, to feel inner peace, to love yourself, to be authentic and to enjoy every moment. 

How can you forgive yourself?

Because you cannot change the facts of the past but you can change your perception of these facts, giving yourself the chance to reposition yourself against what happened.

Take a piece of paper and write down what you would do now if you went through the situation then, what you would do differently, what lesson you learned and how this experience helped you, what you learned from it.

Accept the idea that you did what you could best at that time. 

Yes, it is liberating to realize that at that moment in your life you were at a certain level of development, you had a certain status, it was a specific and unique context and you did what you could best then.

Stop punishing yourself! Accept yourself and love yourself!

Forgive others

Everyone wants to move on but is still bound by their own anger and resentment.

In reality, no matter how much you want to detach yourself from what it was, one of the strong ties that keep you connected is resentment.

Resentment often goes hand in hand with anger.

Moreover, no matter how much you don’t want them, these feelings appear when you have the impression that you have been wronged, that you have been betrayed or deceived.

Resentment, usually associated with a bitterness you feel, is a toxic emotion (primarily for you), an emotion that occurs when you feel you have been treated unfairly.

The first trap of resentment is that once it appears, it affects only you, and not the person you are upset with. 

The second, even bigger trap,  is the generalization.

If in the beginning, you have resentment towards the one who, in your opinion, was unfair to you, in time, this resentment can spread, generalize, out of habit, to a larger group of people.

For example all men, all women, all bosses, all employees, all people, etc.

Do you think it’s worth the price? In fact, are you willing to pay for it?

Yes, it’s true, when someone disappoints you, it hurts terribly.

And yes, it happens that we want to hurt the one who did this.

And yet, please, don’t live (not for a second) your life angry or posing as a victim.

It is much more important that, after such a terrible situation, where you were hurt, you find and learn your lesson, then analyze yourself and see what you can improve on yourself and never let this happen again.

Let go of your resentments, forgive them, forgive yourself, and start a new life. 

No one is perfect

Numerous studies have shown that perfectionists are more likely to develop depression, anorexia, bulimia, sexual dysfunction or low levels of self-esteem.

In children and adults, self-centred perfectionism has been associated with depression and anxiety, given the inability to accept and be satisfied with oneself. In the case of socially demanded perfectionism, the effects are devastating among children and adolescents, leading to inevitable self-loathing.

What to do?

A first step is to combat and question the dysfunctional thoughts that maintain and strengthen the anxiety pattern of being judged.

Then, confronting our fears and anxieties.

If, for example, we are afraid to express our opinion, because we could be judged, the constant expression of our opinion will gradually decrease the sensitivity and our fear of being judged. 

Behind the desire to be perfect there is a great need to feel accepted and appreciated, so it is recommended to go ask for professional help and deal with these uncertainties.

To find the root of the problems, and to start healing. 

It’s okay to make mistakes

Remember that you are human, that you are allowed to make mistakes.

Remember that life is not linear, more like a curve, with ups and downs.

The road to perfection is paved with obstacles and, honestly, leads nowhere, because, hey, perfection does not exist.

Learn to forgive yourself for all the mistakes you have made so far.

So allow yourself to make mistakes, but don’t let yourself make the same mistake over and over again.

Make sure that every mistake also brings a lesson to the mind.

Moreover, when you make a mistake, do not run, but take responsibility.

Maturity teaches you this, teaches you that every person is responsible for his actions, and you have certainly reached the age where you no longer have to hide.

The first instinct that many of us have when we make a mistake is to run away. Not to admit, therefore, not to take responsibility.

What they don’t know is that making a mistake is a natural gesture and that a person who doesn’t make a mistake has not been born yet.

We are human beings, we are made up of defects and qualities, and one of the greatest teachings of life is to learn to accept ourselves as we are.

You were wrong, you assumed the consequences, but that doesn’t mean you should stay and wait for the stones to come at you.

Avoid blaming yourself, victimizing yourself – it’s better to work to convince others that you learned from your mistake and that in the future you will know better.

What you need to remember

In this article, we gave you the self-loathing definition, along with savvy suggestions on how to forgive yourself and start having a better relationship with yourself. 

Self-loathing behaviour is self-destructive behaviour.

Self-loathing leads to low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, lack of motivation and other self-destructive behaviours like addiction and self-harm.

Learn how to forgive yourself first, then forgive others who hurt you.

Accept that no one is perfect, that mistakes are human, and that it is in your power to live a better life.

Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if it is too hard to embark on the journey of forgiveness and self-love by yourself. 

Please feel free to ask any questions or to leave comments on the content.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general

FAQ about the self-loathing definition

What does self-loathing mean?

Self-loathing means not liking or respecting oneself, not being content with oneself, having strong feelings of hate towards oneself.

What is self-loathing behaviour?

Self-loathing behaviour implies negative thoughts and actions toward oneself.

A person may feel that they are not good enough, that they fail all the time.

In terms of action they could, for example, punish themselves by no eating, thinking they don’t deserve food, etc.

Is self-loathing normal?

Self-loathing is not a normal condition.

We should respect, love, take care of ourselves the way we do for others.

Self-loathing behaviour is not healthy behaviour. 

What’s another word for self-loathing?

Some synonyms for self-loathing include self-denigration, self-disgust, self-contempt. 

What are examples of self-destructive behaviours?

Some examples of self-destructive behaviours include alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts.

What is the opposite of self-loathing?

The opposite of self-loathing would be the behaviour of appreciating oneself.

A person who appreciates themselves is proud/content with their thoughts, actions, way of living. 

Further Reading

  1. How to Deal with Low Self-Esteem: A 5-step, CBT-based plan for overcoming negative thoughts and eliminating self-doubt
  2. I hate the way I look: Overcoming self-loathing, BDD and Eating Disorders
  3. The Little Book of Good Enough: Quiet Your Inner Critic, Ditch the Doubt, and Own Your Worth
  4. The Self-Loathing Man: Isolation, Solitude, MGTOW
  5. Self-Loathing: A Collection of Inner Demons
  6. “I Hate Myself”: My Journey out of Self-Loathing, Severe Depression, and Suicidal Longing 


Narcissus meets Sisyphus: Self-love, self-loathing, and the never-ending pursuit of self-worth (2001, RP Brown)

Trainer self‐loathing? (2006, DM Kopp)

The Impact of Self Loathing on Disordered Eating Attitudes among Obese Females (2011 JL Edman) 

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