Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, ADHD, complex trauma or any myriad of life’s challenges, there seems to be a prevalent underlying voice of self-hatred that perks its head up at times more than others. I think the Dalai Lama has a good take on this.
Jack Kornfield shares the Dalai Lama’s story in a recent edited book The Buddha Is Still Teaching. The Dalai Lama said when he first heard the word self-hatred he was confused. He said that self-hatred was a very dangerous attitude and he and his fellow Buddhists work quite hard to overcome their self-centered attitudes.
The antidote to this was to understand that all people (and beings) have what he calls “Buddha Nature.” In other words, everyone inherently has the capacity to wake up to a sense of clarity about what helps and hinders them in their lives. Everyone has the innate capacity for compassion, empathy and wisdom.
This is very counter to some other views.
However, if we were to buy into the Dalai Lama’s beliefs what is the net effect? Might it give us more hope or belief in a better life?
I would argue yes.
If we come from other spiritual traditions or are inherently against anything spiritual, that is fine.
Here is something to do to get in touch with your innate capacities:
Consider someone you respect who is living or dead that you consider to be a wise person or being. Now, imagine them inhabiting your body and mind during difficult moments or moments of self hatred and see how they might handle it.
Easier said than done at times, but with practice, what you might find is that there is a sense of greater patience, understanding and compassion. This is what leads to more effective action.
What do you do during moments of self-hatred that help you?
Please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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Last reviewed: 13 Oct 2010