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People seem to like me, but i don’t like myself. Why is this?(r/AskMen)
You’ve gotten some good stuff from others, and I would really suggest you see a counselor for depression. Here’s my 2 cents as someone who has always been well liked, has always disliked myself, and who has made significant progress on the problem in the last couple years. Sorry for how long this post is. Hopefully there’s an idea or two here that resonates with you.
First, we always compare other people’s highlight reels with our behinds the scenes footage. In other words, we often see the best in others (because that’s what they try to present to the world) but we know what we’re like behind closed doors. We know all of our own little shortcomings that other people don’t even see because we try to show other people only the best of who we are. A big part of getting over this kind of thing is realizing that nobody is perfect. You are not perfect. Nobody you know is perfect. You know those things you don’t like about yourself? Everybody has them, no matter how perfect they seem. They may be different issues, but we’ve all got them. So your friends see the best of you, and you’re worrying about the worst of you. Give yourself a bit of a break. You’re human. You also might need to give up a bit of control here; your friends think you’re pretty cool, maybe you should believe them. Are these people that you trust and respect? Maybe you need to admit that it’s possible that they’re right and you’re wrong.
For me, that idea is just the beginning. It just gives me enough mental distance from the problem that I can look at it a bit more objectively. The idea that comes to mind from there is that most people don’t like themselves. It’s a common thing and I think this is a disease of modern culture. We don’t have to hunt or grow our own food, we’re not constantly having to defend our lives and the lives of our loved ones. We’ve got too much time and too much leeway on how we can live our lives and still survive. Hell, we can even survive these days while indulging in self-destructive behavior. Things like drugs, dangerous activities, etc. But really it’s the less overt types of this behavior that I believe drive this self dislike: procrastination, lying, acting in ways that go against our own values and morals.
I believe that self-dislike comes from acting in ways that aren’t congruent with our values. I know that I’m happier and much more self satisfied when I’m actively living my values. Do you believe that service to others is good? Try volunteering somewhere. Is family important to you? Think long and hard about how you can improve and add depth to your relationships. Then act on that. Is lifelong learning something you believe to be important? Pick something that truly interests you and read about it, practice it (if it’s something that can be practiced), share it with others (find other people and groups of people who also love what you love). Is self exploration and spirituality important to you? Take up meditation, pray and read scripture (if you’re religious), read books on different philosophies of life. For me, anything by Jim Rohn has been absolute gold. He was a motivational speaker back before it was a profession unto itself. He became a speaker because he was successful in business, relationships, etc. and other people asked him to teach what he knew. I also have gotten a ton out of The Way of The Superior Man recently. Some Buddhist writings and principles have been very helpful for giving me different, healthier perspectives on several aspects of life. You get the idea. Figure out what’s important to you and make them a part of your life.
If you’re anything like me you have trouble sticking to things. I read a great thread the other day (here it is) about turning goals into obsessions by rewriting my long term goals every day. I’m really loving it. It helps me keep mind the things I really want to focus on and so far is helping me stick to the goals I’ve set.
Another big issue for me, and lot of people I’ve talked to, is the things that are hanging over our heads. The responsibilities we shirk. The stress of worrying about things that I leave undone weighs me down, makes me feel like shit, and distracts me from my goals and the good things in my life. Just making a list of the responsibilities that are stressing you out and starting to work through them can massively improve your self image, decrease stress, and allow you to enjoy your days with fewer worries.
So really, this all comes back to my first point. We judge ourselves based on our own behind the scenes footage (the crap we do, or don’t do, that other people will never even notice) while other people judge us based on our highlight reel (how we present ourselves to others and how we want them to perceive us). So first, realize that if other people like you you’re probably pretty awesome already. Then you can dig deeper and work to bring your behind the scenes footage closer to your own highlight reel by acting congruent with your values, even when nobody is looking. The more I do this the more I like myself. Yes, it’s work. But it’s really helping me.
This is all off the top of my head, so if I think of more I’ll edit it in later. These are just some of the ideas that have helped me as I’ve been working through something similar to what you’re describing. If you have any questions about anything I’ve written feel free to ask.
Edit: I forgot to add one of the most helpful things I’ve done. I cleaned up my diet. For me, getting rid of most of the sugar in my diet drastically changed my mood. Supplementing with Vitamin D and fish oil also really helped me with my depression. Check out the sidebar in /r/paleo for ideas on how to get started if you’re interested.