How to accept (dare I say, love) the parts of yourself that you hate
I think we all have those parts of ourselves that we dislike or even hate. We all have different ways of coping with it. For the most part, we push that part of us away further, and then it manifests as something else.
Let me use myself as an example. The part that I really hated about myself (even now sometimes) is, in my eyes, the me that is overly-emotional, sensitive and moved strongly by things. Not to mention the anxiety it can cause. I rejected that part of myself for so long. To compensate for my feeling everything so much, I didn't let myself feel anything.
I think that it is this rejection of these parts of ourselves that manifests as stress and poor mental health. They also manifest as physical symptoms. The pain does not have an outlet. It is suppressed. Usually, by expressing your pain you allow the energy of it to gently flow and you will feel better. But rejecting this part of you causes more pain and it builds and stews, trapped inside your body. Slowly, you lose touch with this part of yourself, and it becomes full of unresolved pain. You don't understand that this happened. But it presents itself as chronic stress and this underlying thing that keeps dragging you down.
But you just end up hating it increasingly more, because it interrupts your life. Thus, a vicious cycle ensues.
How to that break that cycle? Here's my whistle-stop tour...
1. Stop fighting it
So before even beginning to accept it, you have to at least call a truce. Stop pushing it away. Let the dam open. Depending on how cooped up it is, it may take a while but this is the first to feel comfortable with it. First and most important step.
2. Be open and ask questions
Do this by using a journal or even internally, interacting with it. I know it seems a little crazy. But this is a must. You need to open up with that part of yourself, as well as trying new ways of doing things. Usually there is a way this part of yourself manifests, like tightening in your chest, nausea, butterflies, tightness in the face. Find it and feel it. Ask it, what is it trying to say? What is it exactly? You don't need to attribute this to something external or over-analyse. Just look within and ask yourself what it is saying related to you. Your mind, thoughts and emotions is something you have like a body. Therefore find out your own voice beneath all that.
3. Your mind is a force to be reckoned with
What is more difficult is that our bodies and minds are always against change. Your brain knows exactly what to say to you so that you don't change. We remain unware, continuing to hate that part of ourselves. That's why it can be so hard to change. It will need a lot of awareness and changing of little habits everyday. But that's where it starts. We need to get off autopilot, and notice in the moment. Every little win adds up.
4. Don't just wait for the good days, you are the captain
I think we all wait sometimes to be happy, content and in a good mood. On those days we try to be productive or compassionate to ourselves. But even if our mood isn't great, it doesn't mean we can't move forward in accepting these parts of ourselves or being a little kinder to it. On any day, we can makes small, little changes in how we talk to ourselves and letting that part back in.
5. Don't force it
Sometimes we can get super stressed out that we are not changing and get frustrated at ourselves for not loving these parts we have now decided to embrace. But be careful. This is not very different to pushing it away or treating it with contempt. Something that you pushed away for so long, will naturally not just integrate with you without any effort. Be patient (easier said, than done, I know!). If anything, this will teach you the patience that is so important to grow the best things in life.
6. A sprinkle of compassion and forgiveness (you deserve it)
Ahhh, that old nut-shell. See my post: WW3: The Battle of Loving Yourself. Loving ourselves is not feeling supremely confident everyday. It's looking at ourselves in the mirror on the bad days or the insecure days or the hateful days and changing the narrative. This is how it began, this is how I feel, but this is how I choose to continue. It takes time. But you can do it. Slowly but surely.
I will leave you with this quote, my friend:
"You work so hard to fix yourself, but maybe what you need isn't another tactic, another book, another five-step plan. Maybe, you don't need to be fixed. Maybe, what's really holding you back is the idea that you need to be fixed"(Vironika Tugaleva).