August 16, 2013 - submitted by Teresa, United States of America

Will I ever be comfortable in my own skin? I'm 27 and I still don't have anything figured out. The amount of self hatred I have is almost overwhelming. I'm afraid I'll look back at my life when I'm 80 and wish that I had just loved myself for who I am. But there are daily reminders - constant - that tell me I'm not good enough and I will never be. Does it ever get any better?

The Oracle replies:

Does it get better? Yes. MAKE IT BETTER! Ah, if only this was as simple as telling you not to worry & that many people don't know which direction to take well into their 30s...
You sound like you're stuck in a hamster's wheel going round perpetually with people telling you negative things that you have now taken as true fact. There may have been reasons for this but I imagine they are all in the past. It doesn't have to be your truth, you can change it.
If you haven't spoken to a counsellor about this, I think it may be well worth doing. I guess this goes a lot deeper and we're not going to solve this problem in 5 minutes.
Life is what you make it. Stop listening to criticism or at least stop taking it. Defend yourself either with words or action. You do not have to put up with this and nor should you. Prove them wrong and yourself by the sounds of it.
Write down the following questions and answer them truthfully:
What am I good at? What am I passionate about? What makes me happy? What lets me down & how can I change that?
Look at your answers and see if you can praise yourself. Note the only potentially negative question had a positive ending to make sure that's what you are focussing on.
Look after your body, soul and mind and hopefully one day you will look at your reflection and tell yourself just like a L'Oreal advert, you're worth it.
Have a daily affirmation or mantra and repeat it to yourself. Make sure it's something positive e.g; Don't worry - be happy.
If you have constantly been told you're not good enough by parents, siblings, teachers, bosses etc. it doesn't mean you can't escape that cycle & turn your life around. YOU need to know your worth and it's for nobody else to tell you.
List all the things that you do that don't involve yourself - animals, environment, family, friends...
If you are a giver, great. If you're not, maybe think of things you can involve yourself in that will make you feel part of a bigger picture. The world may revolve around you but to feel worth something you should probably contribute - whether it's through your job or something personal. Pay it forward or give back - you may be have time or talent you can give to something worthwhile.
Make it count so nobody can say you're not good enough and if they do, you will KNOW different.
Over to you.

Greetings. Once I saw your question I couldn't help but think about myself. Although I am very much younger than you, I still do understand what you're going through. It's OK to feel like that, it's not abnormal, but the case shouldn't be like that. I've tried time and time again to get talked through it but I came to realise that happiness and comfortableness came from within me. It's all under your control. If you really want to be happy, you will do anything to make it real. Don't hate yourself, ask yourself "why do I hate me so much?" If you come up with any points, write them down and try to improve yourself. It does get better, trust me. I try to always have something to look up to so that I can dream of a better tomorrow. Make goals for your life, and try to achieve them. Nobody has a perfect life, everybody may face those moments of bad luck, but it will get better. You are good enough and you are worth it, you are amazing in your own ways because God never makes mistakes! There are some things you might need to do to make yourself feel better. If you don't feel comfortable in your skin, force yourself to go out on public, tell yourself "what's the worst thing that could happen?" Make new friends, ones that care for you. If you already have good friends talk to them about how you feel and they might give you advice. Try not to focus on your flaws, but think about what's good about you. Don't keep thinking negatively because they say that part of how you feel depends on what's mostly on your mind. I think you'll feel so much better if you take my advice. If you don't feel better, I suggest you seek professional assistance regarding this matter. I hope you feel better beautiful! Solaf.

It sounds like there is much more to your feelings that what is on the surface. You may need to professional counselling to get to the root of those feelings. Loving ourselves is never easy and I am sorry to say is not something common among young people simply because it is something acquired with age and experience in life. I was much the same as you and struggled with this too. Loving yourself is necessary to success in any relationships you may have. You must love yourself in order to love others .This is not to say you are going to go over board but you need to recognize and embrace your self worth. You will reach a point in life where you will realize that there will always be people better than you and, there will always be those that are not , you set the standard , not someone else. You will be the very best you can be and it will be good enough for you , it will be good enough for your true friends and companions. You most certainly don't need to have it 'all figured out' to be happy , many of the most famous people in the world don't and readily admit that . Life is fluid and dynamic, full of change and surprise, one day you will learn to embrace it, that's when you will be comfortable in your own skin. Enjoy the ride!! It is bumpy at times but I can honestly say it does get better!! All my best wishes, Laurie.

First of all Teresa, you ARE good enough. ALWAYS remember that. Also, becoming comfortable in one’s own skin takes time and it helps if you try to get to know yourself better. Try an activity that inspires thought, say like biking in the park or painting or cooking. If you become comfortable in your own head, then chances are that you’ll like the entirety of yourself as a person, and therefore will become comfortable in your own skin. Figuring things out takes time as well. It comes easy to some but others may require more thought and meditation to find their direction. Take these steps to start loving yourself today and you’ll live a fulfilling, positive life. You’re still young and full of potential, Teresa. You’re all you’ve got and you’re wonderful just as you are. Believe that and you’ll be capable of anything. I believe in you.
Karina, USA.

Yes, it will get better, but like many things it will take some time and work. For me, self hate came from spending too much time with myself and too much time with the same people. If you have too much time to focus on yourself, eventually you'll reach the parts you dislike, and hearing compliments and encouragement from the same people can lose it's meaning after a while. I'd recommend trying something new. Maybe you should try a club or activity with a new group of people, you might obtain a positive new friend or find a hidden interest that way. If not, you could try something as simple as a new hairstyle or way of greeting people. Your self hatred is your mind's way of saying that you want/are ready for something new in your life, and not that you need to change who you are. It may take a while before you find something new to enjoy or before that thing becomes a positive part of who you are, but be patient!
I really hope this helps!! Liz USA.

I cant really tell you how to love yourself (I might not know myself). I understand what you're feeling, though. Try focusing on other people, observing, appreciating, or empathizing helps take focus off your life and how unfulfilling it feels. Life is full of tragedy, everyone has their own. But it's crucial to realize that its also full of love and hope. You have to allow yourself to feel more than just pain and shame about who you are. Take walks, travel, introduce yourself to new people and ideas. If you feel that nothing in your life is worth living for, go and find something that is. I think having things 'figured out' just means you've found something that makes you happy. Even that changes as we grow though, and then we go and find another form of happiness to get us through the day. Try not to worry about the future as much and live in the present. You're alive and so are constantly on a journey. We live in a world that tries to set a standard for happiness as being wealthy, married and having conventional beauty. I find it horrifying that if we are or want anything other than that, we are shamed. The truth is that whether it's a song that helps you feel connected to others, or a necklace that makes your eyes sparkle, we're all after pleasure and find it in different ways. You are definitely good enough to be yourself, you have a right to be. Sorry if I've babbled, hope this helps. Love, Darem.

Self hatred for what and why, I wonder. Mainly you are what you do. When you can’t do what you want, then change things to get closer to it. You are not complete neither in an age of 18, 27, 50 nor 80. Life is always learning, developing, changing or improving.
Not good enough for what? For being yourself? No one could better know who you want to be than yourself. For being someone people expect you to be? Find out what you really need. Don’t listen too much to those who want you just to be someone they want to see there.
Your self-criticism can be helpful for this, so far it doesn’t bring you down. Some people never doubt about their way of live, and when they do then it is too late. This won’t happen to you. Still you don’t need to worry about too giant distances. We all hope we can grow old and be happy one day, but we don’t know. So sometimes it is enough to deal with the next few years, months, or days and not to be overcharged by expectations for your whole life. There is a long life waiting for you every day. Best wishes. L.Q.

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