Love, self-hate, and everything in-between

'Simply put, we love that which we are not'

Having been in quarantine for over two months now, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time with myself. And by a lot, I mean an almost disturbing amount of time with myself. 

For some people, that’s not an issue. Many introverts find the extra alone time to be recharging, therapeutic, even cathartic. They find that they are blooming in this extra-time alone. For me, though, and I know for many others as well, this time alone has been incredibly difficult. I’ve been forced to face the fact that I dislike so many aspects of myself. More specifically, I deal with plenty of self-hate. 

Most of the time, when I have plenty of distractions and the ability to detract from these sides of myself I dislike, I’m able to hide the fact that I am the way I am. On the outside, I’m a very loving, affectionate, and kind person. People often find it strange that I harbor such negative feelings towards myself. How can this be? 

It makes more sense the more you think about it. By turning the idea of self-hate on its head, the answer is better illuminated. I find that people who self-hate are often overly perfectionistic, overly loving, and often incredibly caring towards the people they love in their lives. How can people so loving be so self-hating? Simply put, we love that which we are not. 

In wanting to better ourselves, and in wanting to improve ourselves to the standards we set, we find that we constantly want to be the things we love. We want to improve on our abilities to write, to digest new information, to socialize with others, to help those in need. We so much want to be better that we dislike most or all that we are. 

In my own case, I find so much that I am disliking this time spent with myself because there is so much that I want to be. A better writer. A better speaker. A better person. In isolation, all of these things which I am not are brought to my attention with stark clarity. I’m forced to reckon with the fact that I may not be all that I’m cracked up to be. 

As with most things, we have a natural tendency to be too hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up to the point of tears, so unhappy with how we are as individuals that we fail to realize what we are. 

At the end of the day, we are human. To be human requires tremendous bravery. To strut forward on this path of existence and pave a way for others to trot. To go forth on the path of the unknown and to forge a better day for others. 

Even if we have been incredibly unproductive during quarantine, we must not forget that each one of us is incredibly deserving of love, of compassion, and of support. Though we may not yet be the people we want to be, we still have time, and so long as we are doing our best we have much to be proud of. 


 Reach the reporter at cbeal4@asu.edu and follow @beal_camden on Twitter. 

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