I Had Self-Hate Too


  • “When you need to go from self-hate to self-love, you’ve got to get in a place of forgiveness, reset some expectations, and realign to some integrity.”
  • Have you ever resented yourself, despised something you did, or felt shame in any way? In this episode, discover how to deal with self-hate, so you can approach it in a healthy manner, and get back to feeling a sense of self-respect.
  • “A lot of self-hate happens because we know we should be moving and going…and what’s most important, is to get going. You gain self-respect as you gain momentum. You start to care for yourself and for your results again when you’re getting feedback on how it’s going, otherwise you’re just in your head.”
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of Motivation With Brendon Burchard. Please note that this episode, like all episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, Motivation With Brendon Burchard has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in the Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

“Brendon. How do I deal with self-hate?” Whoa. What a great question. Right? Because be honest. How many of you have ever just, you know, you’re discouraged because somewhere inside there’s something about yourself you don’t like or maybe even you resent or you despise or you’re angry about? Anyone has been there before, you know? And it just kind of gets in the way of your creativity because maybe you’ve done something or someone said something and you internalize it. And it’s such self-criticism that that self-criticism became recurrent and that self-criticism got into a loop in such a way you don’t like yourself. Or maybe something failed. You try to do something, you look silly or you got shamed for it. Someone said something means, and because you’re in that space, you can’t create and flow. Your spontaneity is no good anymore. Your excitement to do anything is no good anymore. And maybe it never really was fully because of something that happened to you before. And I think that that is something to always be working on.

1. Get Mental Health Assistance

You know, I know the opposite people will say, is, you know, self-love. It’s hard to go from self-hate to self-love in a Zoom call. So I encourage you, who struggle with this, to get some assistance, get a therapist, get a coach. But often what has to happen then that bridge between self-hate and self-love is a big session of forgiveness, a big session of resetting expectations, and a big session of realigning to get yourself into integrity. Where your words and your actions and your momentum matches the person you want to be. So we’ll talk about some of that today because I think that’s the bridge.

When you need to go from self-hate to self-love, you’ve got to get in a place of forgiveness, reset some expectations, and realign to some integrity.

And until we do that, I think it’s hard to be in that state of personal freedom where you really can give and serve at your best. And I don’t say that in a preachy way. I think that’s a hard journey. And we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s, you know, big things and sometimes it’s little things. I think of big moments in my life where I had self-hate because somebody did something to me and it made me feel like I was less valuable. I wasn’t lovable, I wasn’t worthwhile. I, As many of you, know the origin story of my own personal development journey was when my high school sweetheart cheated on me and when that happened, I didn’t have the emotional tools to deal with that. So not only did I feel major hurt and anger towards this person but inside that made me value myself in a certain way. It made me devalue myself. I didn’t feel worthy of love. I didn’t feel like I was enough because she chose somebody else. I didn’t feel like I could trust my mind and my body, and my heart anymore, because how could I have given this person so much? Was I a fool? Was my judgment bad? Was I a moron for letting somebody have that much control of my heart, for trusting somebody like that? Who’s ever been there before? You start questioning yourself like that and then you devalue yourself and you hear me say the phrase all the time, and I know it’s if you’ve been my audience for a long time, you know, I always go back to this phrase, but it’s so true. When that relationship fell apart, I fell apart. I, my identity, started a rumination time period of my life where it was a lot of self-loathing and what did I have to do? Well, just like anyone going through other situations, other major things happened in my life.  I had a principal when I was maybe in kindergarten or something like that, kindergarten or first grade where I grew up they could still paddle kids. Right? And they had a board for that. Like you would go to the principal’s office if you got in trouble and they had a board and they’d smack you with the board. I don’t know if any of you grew up around that, but that was like a real thing when I grew up. And that principal took a lot of pleasure in beating kids and was excessively violent. And of course, you devalue yourself, right? I’m not worthy of respect. I’m not worthy of compassion and care. I’m not worthy of even forgiveness to forgive me for the dumb thing I did, whatever it is, that got me in trouble. Right? 

So sometimes others can really cause that devaluation of self. And sometimes we devalue ourselves because of our own actions, we did something that was wrong. And it can be simple things, especially in our industry. Listen, I mean, I know this sounds very heavy, but I’ll come back to that bridge to get us there on those other topics. But even I remember, I don’t know, a couple of months ago, one of the topics we were teaching was about relationships. And so, you know, I started to research. I think about my life. I do a full two-hour seminar on relationships. I don’t know, it wasn’t the same day, but it was like a day or two later I’m in my house and I get irritable about something. I spark at my wife, you know, meaning I get irritated with her and I just say something in a tone that’s mean, right? Some of you mean might be condescending, some you mean might be, you know, flippant. So I just said something like, kind of angry and irritated, immediately regretted it, and thought in my head, “Oh, my God, I just taught a relationship workshop. I’m a jerk. I’m not in integrity with what I just said.”  

And think about how many times you knew something, you thought something, you taught something and you didn’t do it right. You told a friend to go get healthy and you’re mowing down another bowl of popcorn, another bottle of wine, and pizza. Right? You told somebody to put up that website and here you are two weeks later, and you ain’t put up your website. Right? All the lack of congruence can happen when you’re a teacher or a mentor. You can get hard on yourself about that without realizing and remembering you’re not perfect.

You’re human. You have to forgive yourself for your own indiscretions, for your own sins, for the things that you do, and you have to forgive others.

2. Forgiveness

I really believe that when there is self-hate we have to start somewhere with forgiveness. It doesn’t mean we approve of it. It just means we’re just starting to let go of its emotional talons in us. We’re not going to carry it anymore. That, however, we felt, made sense. That was the feeling. I’m not taking that away. What I’m saying is, today, as conscious adults who want to move in a new direction, let’s make that decision not to carry that around and hate ourselves. Because if we hate ourselves, we cannot fully express ourselves. If we cannot fully express ourselves, there’s no way we will find a larger and larger audience. We can’t scale it. The audience will feel that we’re still trapped there. And just as you don’t trust yourself because of self-hate, they’ll pick up on something. It’s hard to trust you. Your job is to find your emotional freedom. When you find emotional freedom, your audience grows. They trust you more. They want to watch you. They want to be with you. Oprah would have never become Oprah if she was self-loathing for the entire 25 years.  She had to find her own love. She had to go on her own journey. So do you. So start with forgiveness. And I’ll tell you what. If somebody did something to you, it sounds so crazy to say forgive them. But part of maturity will be doing that. It doesn’t mean you need to call them and forgive them. It means you need to recognize that they’re human and they made a tragic and terrible mistake. And they were tragically and terribly conditioned or trained or hurt along the way that they would hurt someone else because hurt people, hurt people. And there’s probably a chain there somewhere that you might not be aware of that goes back that caused their actions or mental trauma or disorder that caused their actions. And it doesn’t mean it makes it right.

It just means that today forgiveness means you’re going to forgive that connection between you and that person, so you can be free today.

You don’t have to forgive, even the action. You do have to forgive their intentions because maybe they were bad, but the string that’s holding your story and their story today cut that with forgiveness. That string that is holding your story in their story, that past, you got to cut that string and find your own emotional freedom by forgiving the situation. Even sometimes you already forgave the person, but you still hate yourself. You should have done something. You should have called somebody, should have taken this other action. You’re still mad at yourself for not reacting differently in another time zone of life. In the past.  You got to forgive yourself. Some people have forgiven the people who were mean to them. They forgive their parents, but they still haven’t forgiven their own selves. Still got to clip that story. You got to forgive that connection. Not forget. What happened, happened. You got to forgive. One of the greatest things I ever did, if you ever get to go to one of my seminars, you’ll hear the end of this story. I don’t always tell it, but that person who cheated on me and broke my heart, I called her and forgave her because I knew if I didn’t, I would carry that forever. I was so angry. So I called her and had a beautiful phone call apologizing for my own actions. Because when we broke up, I wasn’t a saint either. When we broke up, I was mean. I was like, “You did this and you did that. That means you’re this.” And I name-called and was angry. You know, did all the things. Has anyone ever done that before?  You’re mad at them, so you become a lesser person in acting out toward them. I had done that, so I had to apologize too. At the end of the call, I was emotionally free since that day.  I could tell the story of her cheating on me to millions of people, and I have, without ever naming her, without ever defaming her, without ever being mean, as I described it, just describing it from my first-person perspective, not blaming her for it, not pretending I was perfect tell the story in an honoring, respectful way for 15 years to millions and millions of people because there’s no emotional tie to it anymore. I forgave her. I forgave myself.

Some of you, you’ve forgiven yourself, you forgive the person, but you haven’t forgiven the situation or you haven’t forgiven God. And until you do a little of that work, it’s hard to find your emotional freedom. And so, I know everyone wants to say  “Brendon, teach me about building a website and a funnel.” I’m like, Yeah, but I’m like, if we could also get you to emotional freedom, we’ve achieved something more unique, something more powerful. Websites will change, and technology will change. But what’s most important is that you change. You find a good place again. You learn not to be so hard on yourself. You forgive past situations. 

3. Expectations

The other piece is about expectations, forgiveness, and then expectations. Some of you are still stuck in a perfectionist mindset because you were rewarded for it, but your perfectionism is driving you into burnout. Your perfectionism is the reason you haven’t started anything. Your perfectionism is your favorite excuse because perfectionism, that’s an A-grade quality excuse, isn’t it? Oh, you don’t understand. I haven’t done anything yet because I’m a perfectionist. I care so much about excellence. I haven’t started. Oh,  we get very high-minded and fancy. I say fancy, very fancy, smart, articulate, cynical people are so good about blaming their lack of progress on perfectionism because, boy,  you can respect me if I’m a perfectionist, can’t you? And so perfectionism is the great, grade-A ego coming into play, labeling yourself or labeling your intention to be so perfect is the reason you haven’t started without acknowledging that maybe your expectations are off and maybe you’re scared that where there’s perfectionism, there’s usually a lot of fear of being vulnerable, of being seen starting small, of being seen pivoting to a new thing you’ve never done before when they know you for this other thing over here. Who am I? What are they going to think of me? I guess I won’t do it because perfectionism matters to me and perfectionism is often a thing of expectation and poor definition.  

Perfectionism, if you get down to the root of the word, to perfect. Well, if you were actually a perfectionist, you would have looked it up. What “to perfect” means in the dictionary. That would be real perfectionism, and you would be suddenly shocked to realize that to perfect something is a verb and that to perfect you cannot actually perfect anything until you have first released it. You must do the thing first and then work on it to perfect it. And so if you’re a perfectionist and you actually haven’t put the thing out there and been working on it, you’re not a perfectionist, you’re a liar. And soon as you can go, Oh, whoa, I can’t wait because a perfect – that’s a definition problem, isn’t it? If too perfect requires you to let it go and to be working on it in an iterative process, well, you can’t iterate until you put the first one out. So don’t fool yourself, change your expectations and make those expectations one of the learning mindset. Oh, make your expectations the scientific process. Oh, until I start it, I can’t make it better. Until I’m in motion, I can’t gain momentum. You got to move, you got to get going.

A lot of self-hate is because we know we should be moving in and going and we’re not moving and going because out of some self-hate or self-loathing to some past situation or in the moment, our expectations are completely crazy that we need to know everything, that everything has to be right conditions. When in fact, what you need and what’s most important is to get going. You gain self-respect as you gain momentum. You start to care for yourself and your results again when you’re getting feedback to see how it’s going. Otherwise, you’re just in your head.

And the more you’re in your head about it, wondering why you don’t, the more you ruminate about things, the more you just drill yourself right in the ground with judgment.

When the beautiful thing is, once you actually release something and start doing it, you start noticing there’s no judgment. It’s crickets out there people. When you first start something like no one’s listening, and then you realize, Yeah, and they’re not judging either. You’re just starting, and then you get hundreds of people on something and they’re all saying nice things. Thank you for doing this. I appreciate your time. And you get this external feedback that’s very different than what’s in your head. I’ll give an example. Most people who go to write a book, they’re terrified of getting bad reviews and bad stars. And I can share with you that the data is pretty clear for every bad review, there are usually ten fairly neutral or positive reviews. It’s usually a 10-to-1 situation. It’s more positive, but we’re terrified everyone’s going to hate us. And if you’re still terrified, everyone’s going to hate you, you really need to leave your house more and talk with more people. Once you leave your house, you talk to more people. You realize everyone kind of lets you do your own thing. Go to a cafe tonight, a restaurant tomorrow. Most people there, they’re not even going to look at you. They’re not going to bother you. They’re in their own head doing their own thing, eating their own omelets. They don’t care what you ordered. Do you know what I’m saying, people? They’re letting you have your omelet. They don’t care. You’re so worried about what your thing is going to be. They don’t care. They’re eating their own omelet. What are you worried about? Get in motion. Your expectations that everyone has to approve or appreciate or reward support you – they don’t care. Who cares?

You, your soul, your integrity. Are you expressing yourself? Are you following your path? That’s who cares. 

Have the expectation that each day you’re going to do your best and you’re going to learn. Have the expectation each day you’re going to try and it’s going to be a hot mess. But you’re going to try your best. You’re going to bring a good attitude to it. I think that’s an unfair advantage I’ve had. Every day, I don’t expect I have to get it all done. I don’t have to do everything. I don’t have to talk to everybody. I don’t have to nail it. What I have to do every day is show up, follow my path, have a good attitude, and do what I told myself I was going to do that day. Maybe I can’t get to all of it, but usually, my expectations are pretty small for myself each day. Brendon, focus today, bring some energy today, and do three things today. If you want a longer list, I’m sorry, I ain’t got one. It’s pretty simple. My expectations for myself are: Show up, bring some joy and do your best. Come on, let’s go, kid. Everyday. Now, if I added a hundred more expectations, of course, at the end of the day, I’d be disappointed in myself, wouldn’t I? I didn’t build the entire campaign and funnel in one day. Jerk, you suck. Some of you are mad that you haven’t built a multimillion-dollar business this month. Chill out, and get some realistic expectations. You might have a family or kids and they like food. It takes time to give them food. There’s real-time involvement. Some of you forget you have to pay taxes. That takes time. It takes time to write the emails, and build the content. You got to not expect that you can do everything in a day or a month.

There – how many of you have a sheet of books you want to write one day? Just a whole sheet. I was with a friend recently and we were comparing our spreadsheets. We both have, you know, a sheet of books we’re going to write. And it was so interesting listening to how she talked about it. She was so mad at herself that she hasn’t written those books yet, and I was so excited to find the time to start writing the next one someday. Similar length in lists, and a completely different attitude. She hates herself. She hasn’t written more of them. I’m super pumped to start writing one of them. Different attitude, same list, same idea.

So sometimes your expectations are leading you to hate yourself because every day you finish the day disappointed you didn’t do it all.

Who resonated with what I just said? Sometimes you hate yourself and you’re not getting momentum and expressing yourself because you’ve had so many days you didn’t do all the things, you finish the day and disappointed yourself so many times because your expectations were unrealistic. You got all these other things to do. That’s why I always go back to the research. High performers only spend 60% of their week on needle-moving activities. The other 40% admin, team meetings, dumb stuff, life, lunch, and doing stuff that you just have to do. So don’t think that high performers are 100% on, complete, and amazing all day. Really, they’re 60% of the day, they’re fairly focused getting, you know, the major projects, working on those, but there’s 40% of the day they got to take the dumb calls, they got a reply, they got to help their kids with stuff. So, please recalibrate your expectations if you find that you’re not expressing yourself well or starting.

4. Integrity

And then I would say the last piece of this bridge: self-hate to self-love. Start with forgiveness: you, others, the situation, God, and expectations, stop trying to be a perfectionist, be realistic and your expectations. Don’t try to be perfect. Remember, you’re human. And then last now is integrity, realigning your life to what matters to you and if you say you’re going to do it, show up on more days and do it. I’m going to write a book, show up on more days, and actually write. Because your mind, your body, and your soul, do keep score. And if your scorecard sucks from the past year or two years or three years, okay, well, what’s cool about golf is every time you go on a new round, they give you a new scorecard. Well, you got a new scorecard today. What’s the next round going to look like? So what if your scorecard sucked the last year or two or three? Well, Brendon, I’ve been not as good because I had a kid or I went through COVID or I had this thing or the government did that. It’s like, okay, it’s a new day. Realign and honor your word. If you say you’re going to do it, do it. And if you say you’re going to do it, do it. Do that over and over and over and over again. Forgive yourself along the way. Have really realistic expectations. And one day you start to like yourself. You really start to like yourself. You’re not carrying emotional baggage anymore. Your mind is clear on just a few things you’re going to do each day. You say you’re going to do them, you do them, and all of a sudden you start taking some pride and joy in your days and all of a sudden integrity comes back in and self-care comes back in and respect comes back in. And now you can express yourself.

And if I may, and this would be the challenging thing, I wasn’t talking to the person, I would just coach them and I’d suggest the same to each of you. If you want to put real rockets on this self-love rocket, sorry, my metaphors got confused in my head for just a minute. I was going to say this self-love train, but I wasn’t using that metaphor.

But if you really want to care for yourself and have some self-love, get yourself back in that selfless service mode.

Sometimes the reason we have self-hate is that we’ve been selfish for too long. We’ve been selfish in the way that we live our life, even if we’re serving other people. You know, we take care of our family and stuff. Some people, they’re being a martyr and that’s their way of being selfish person. For some people, it’s all about their own wealth. For some people, it’s about their own comfort. Some people, you know, never read some spiritual texts that all say the same thing. It comes back to service to others, to putting goodness into the world. If, you know, I could wrap this whole metaphor of the self-hate to self-love. And there’s forgiveness and expectations and there is alignment to integrity, I put a big circle around it and just call it service or selfless service. Do something for other people. The more you do stuff for other people and it’s genuine and you’re engaged in it, you’re excited about it, you can draw some fulfillment from it, that self-respect and self-love comes in as well because you realize you’re put on this earth to be a force of love and compassion and care for others. And when all these things start to come true for you, you can take joy in yourself. Your self and your soul come to light. And now you want to express yourself. You want to do things for others. You have more motivation to build the page or film the podcast, or shoot the video or do the Zoom because you’re, you’re, you’re unlocked. You’ve got emotional freedom and the intention to serve. And if I could share and that’s why I think the people you saw at Influencer Summit are so amazing. Or have you seen on social media recently all the people that I’ve been, you know, mentoring or bringing out in the Masterminds, it really does come out to be that they’re amazing people putting goodness in the world and they’ve unlocked themselves to serve. And so if there is any part of you that’s like, man, I have been in self-loathing recently or I have been hard on myself, or I do hate or despise or resent a certain part of my life, maybe listen to this one 10 times on repeat, maybe go talk to a therapist or coach on this topic, maybe do a deep dive journal activity on it for a couple of days, maybe even teach on the topic to sound out how you would deal with it. Because I’m here to say you are absolutely worthy of love. You are absolutely worthy of being on this planet. You are absolutely capable of way more than you can possibly imagine. And you absolutely do deserve to cut off that old emotional baggage and connections and stories that no longer serve you at this age and this stage of your life.