Elemental Love Work: Some musings on self-hatred

From John Welwood's Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, "There would be no hatred of others without hatred of self. If we truly felt good about ourselves, we would have no interest in wasting precious life energy resenting or attacking anyone. The urge to blame others arises only out of feeling bad about ourselves, which originally developed out of not feeling truly seen or honored by other people. Self-hatred is the hidden underbelly of all the violence and nastiness in the world"


"Trying to be good can never result in a secure sense of inner value because this very effort presupposes that we are not good enough and thus only reinforces our self-hatred. This sense of unworthiness also makes it hard to let love in, even when it is available. Not loving ourselves makes it hard to let others really love us. This frustrates those who are there for us, causing them to withdraw and leave"

Some interesting thoughts on self-hatred. I think there's some validity here. As I've come to change my relationship with love and consequently my realtionships with others around me, I've been able to see how much many of my actions toward others has been motivated by a dislike of myself. While I don't think being self-obsessive about it is a solution, I do know that recognizing what motivates your choices does contribute to the quality of life you can live. To be seen by others or honored by others, first you need to see yourself and honor yourself. Good and bad fall away in that awareness...it becomes something more primal, more direct...something you feel...the emptiness at the core of the self in my case.

I mentioned to my wife today that I've been growing more selective about who is in my life and what I'm doing in my life...That selectiveness, far from being a judgement of other people, is actually a statement of love to myself, a recognition of what really nurtures me and provides me the challenge of growth. Some of my love work has really challenged me to find what invigorates and excites me, and I recognize that the enjoyment I take from the activities I'm doing is part of loving myself and valuing myself. It's also a recognition of what I value for myself as an identity.  In choosing to look at my selectiveness in this way, it allows me to judge less, and focus more on living and loving.

Working with love as an element of my spirituality has easily shown me just how important it is to not divorce my spirituality from the other expressions of my life. In unifying those expressions, I can start to let go of the frustration the self hatred, the other feelings which are really an investment of emotional energy in things I have little control over. In choosing to live and love my life, I'm consciously choosing how to manifest my life and steering it toward what will satisfy me, instead of keeping myself in the detritus of my dissatisfaction