10 Things to Do to Support Loved Ones experiencing Self-Hate
Hearing someone's innermost negative thoughts is unpleasant at best, and devastating in the worst of ways at worst, especially if these words are coming from a loved one. I've been on both ends of this, hearing it my entire lives from loved ones, and sharing this terrible truth at times with loved ones and folks around me for myself. Sharing this truth has never been easy, and more often than not, it has led to disastrous consequences in those relationships. The most common reactions have been to ignore everything I've said, tell me there's something wrong with me, or walk away within a few days. After all, no one wants to be around a 'bummer', a 'downer,' and the dozens of terms of other awful things one gets called.
Since I'm not always in beautiful places these days, I felt compelled to write a few tips about responses I would have and would like to have in my life.
1) Validate that the person has every right to feel that way.
2) It's okay to say that you see them in a different light, without invalidating their experiences.
**3) Validate that the negative voices stem from voices that we've heard before, that the world is cruel at times, and that we're sorry that society has taught them that they're not worthy.
4) Mention that the individuals worth in your life aren't because of X, Y, or Z, it's because THEY, in everything that they are matter, even if they're not perfect.
5) Ask what you can do to help?
6) Understand when they say there's nothing you can do to help.
7) Don't take any of it personally, none of this is about you unless it is.
8) Be accountable for your role in this; how have you validated people's strengths before? Have you validated some of the offensive messages the rest of the world has given?
9) Be mindful of the things you say about yourself, when you're also not accepting of yourself, you're not seen as a reliable judge of value.
10) Work to make the world a place where value is not linked to capitalism, and we're all worthy simply because we exist, not because we're anything by us.
Finally, as something outside of the above ten or included in all of them, feel free to set boundaries, and be honest about what you're able to do to support. Be mindful of your own needs, and when you model your wellness, it's always going to be immediately supportive to others whether they know it or not.
Questions, thoughts, ask below.