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The temptation, with dealing with anxiety, is always and invariably to focus on the ostensible
cause of our worry: the journey to the airport, the forthcoming speech, the letter one is
waiting for, the presentation one has to hand in… But if we proceed more psychologically,
we might begin in a different place. With great kindness and no disrespect, we may step
past the objective content of anxiety and look instead at something else: how the anxious
person feels about themselves. An unexpected cause of high anxiety is self-hatred. People
who have grown up not to like themselves very much at all have an above average risk of
suffering from extremes of anxiety, because if one doesn't think one is worthy, it must
follow that the world is permanently and imminently at high
risk of punishing one in the way one suspects one deserves. It seems to fit that people
may be laughing behind one's back, that one may soon be sacked or disgraced, that
one is an appropriate target for bullying and rejection and that persecution and worse
may be heading towards us. If things seem to be going well, this must just be the deceptively
quiet period before others are about to realise their error and mete out some horrific punishment.
For the self-hating, anxiety is a pre-emptive anticipation of the pain one unconsciously
feels one is owed; very bad things must and should happen to very bad people. Part of
the problem and one of the curious aspects of the way our minds work is that it isn't
always clear that one is even suffering from low self-esteem; hating oneself has just become
second nature rather than an issue one has the will to rebel against or so much as notice.
To tease out the sorrow and start to feel it again (as a prelude to treating it), one
might need to fire a few questions at oneself. We've prepared a Self-Esteem Questionnaire 1. Broadly speaking,
I like myself as I am. Agree strongly Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Disagree
strongly 2. People should be relatively grateful to have me in their lives. Agree strongly
Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Disagree strongly 3. If I didn't know me,
I'd think I was OK. Agree strongly Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Disagree
strongly 4. Growing up, I was given the feeling that I properly deserved to exist. Agree strongly
Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Disagree strongly If one finds oneself at
the disagreeing end of many such questions, it may be that one is an agitated person not
because one has more to worry about but because one likes oneself rather less than normal
– and certainly less than one fairly should. The cure isn't, therefore, to try to dispel
anxieties with logic, it is to try to dispel it with love; it is to remind the anxious
person (who may be ourselves) that we are not inherently wretched, that we have a right
to exist, that past neglect wasn't deserved, that we should feel tenderly towards oneself
– and that we need, both metaphorically and probably practically too, a very long
hug. The logic of this analysis is truly counter-intuitive. It suggests that when panic next descends,
one should not spend too long on the surface causes of the worry and instead, try to address
the self-hatred fuelling the agitation. Anxiety is not always anxiety: sometimes it is just
a very well-disguised, entrenched and unfair habit of disliking who
we are.
Out Emotional First Aid Kit provides a set of useful salves to some of life's most challenging psychological situations.
Including friendship, love, sex, work and self. Click the link on screen now to find out more.
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Self-Hatred & Anxiety

21 分類 收藏
Summer 發佈於 2020 年 8 月 2 日
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