The physiology of self-hatred
Inner messages that are not so quiet
Take a moment to reflect on yourself. See yourself as a baby, as a toddler, a child, a teen, a young adult, middle aged and the version of you that is here now. As you see yourself at various ages and stages also notice how you feel about yourself at those different ages. Perhaps seeing yourself as a baby invokes a tenderness towards yourself and seeing yourself as a teenager invokes slight repulsion. Or maybe seeing yourself as a child brings sadness and seeing yourself as a young adult brings joy. As you do this simply notice those versions of yourself that are easy to accept and like and also notice those versions of yourself that you resist or slightly push away.
There are ever so slight ways that we do not accept ourselves and being able to track where this lives in us is pivotal for moving into greater love for self and all. Many of us don’t necessarily enjoy or seek out those places or parts of self that we don’t like, feel repulsed by or down right hate. Because we often don’t look for or at these parts they show up in our life as judgment of others, aloofness or resistance to what is, and appear to have no connection to our relationship towards ourself but instead as something “external” to us in our environment.
These inner subtle resistances, repulsions, and non-invitations of self are not so quiet. Though it seems that if we don’t see them or look at them somehow they don’t exist, this is not the case. They do exist and with their existences they influence not only our psyche but also create a body physiology of their own. This physiology is one in which the human organism instead of functioning as a coherent whole, like the way a symphony sounds when all the sounds blend in perfect harmony, functions as parts that are not in communication with all the other parts. These parts act as independent or separate units that are cut off from the whole of which they are a part of. In fact they don’t even really know that they are part of something larger because they’ve been isolated for so long. They have lost their connection to the larger organizing principle of the organism and thus must navigate with only their own limited resources.
Communication is the cornerstone
I relate the physiology of self-hatred to the feeling of navigating a room in your house in the dark while simultaneously every other room in your house is lit up, yet you can’t tell because you are in the dark room and it seems from where you are at that that is all that there is. My educated and intuitive guess is that this is what disease is. A part that is operating in the dark, disconnected from the light, trying to navigating with the best it has resource to in its separative and thus limited perspective. Its not bad or wrong, its simply limited and out of connection with the rest of itself.
We lose connection with ourself when we don’t accept, resist or hate a part of ourself. We might have developed hatred of parts of ourself based on someone else’s distorted perspective of us. For example perhaps one of our parents didn’t pay much attention to us when we were a child and so we developed the belief that we must not be interesting or important or valuable and we learn to ignore, hate or resist a part (or all) of ourself because we think it or we are not worthy. Or maybe we didn’t make friends easily when we were a teenager and felt isolated and not included. The tendency again is to hate this part of ourself because its not accepted or included by others. We take that feeling of external non-inclusion and make it internal non-inclusion when we decide not accept ourself as well.
One thing I have discovered through experience time and time again is that when we can dive into that part of self, rather than move away from it, it can begin to heal, to reconnect to the whole of you. On a physical level this looks like diving into uncomfortable and painful sensations. Once you can “get inside of them” with your awareness they begin to realize that they are not alone, but instead of part of something else. Your awareness is the light that is lighting up all other rooms in house. By bringing your awareness into that dark room it begins to illuminate it. Illumination brings greater resources to that part which is now coming into communication with more of you.
In this way the physiology of self-hatred is simply parts of yourself that have lost connection with the bigger and more coherent version of you. The mechanism of action is non-acceptance of self and the remedy is diving your awareness towards and into these parts so that they can find their way back to the light. It takes a willingness to feel discomfort on all levels and the courage and faith to know that something else will emerge through on the other side.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado