What is the most toxic emotion?

No it’s not anger.

No it’s not jealousy.

No it’s not guilt.

The most toxic emotion is self-hatred.  And its siblings self-loathing, disliking yourself, being critical of yourself, being hard on yourself or putting yourself down.

Self-hatred is toxic on a physical level.  Negative emotions are stressful and cause the release of cortisol which puts the body in a state of fight or flight.  Over time, if negative feelings aren’t released or healed, the ongoing stress they create causes wear and tear on the body.  Studies have shown that stress adversely affects the immune system and, if it continues long-term, can eventually lead to illness.

Self-hatred is toxic on an emotional level because it’s enormously painful.  It’s impossible to be happy or fulfilled if you don’t like the person living inside your own skin.

If you don’t like you, if you don’t think you’re great, if you don’t believe in yourself, if you’re not kind to yourself, if you don’t have compassion for your struggles, if you don’t love yourself unconditionally then who will?

That leaves you dependent on the opinions and approval of others.  So you worry about what others think of you.  Believing that, if they like you, then maybe you’re not so terrible.

But if, deep down inside, you don’t approve of you or like yourself does it really matter who else likes you or approves of you, how much money you have, how many cars, yachts or homes you have, how many awards you have won or how much plastic surgery you have had?

Nothing can replace the feeling and – more importantly, the knowing – that you’re ok.  Worthy.  Wonderful.  Lovable.  Swell.

Have you ever thought about the fact that you won the sperm lottery?  That if a different sperm had won the race you would not be here?

Do you have any idea of what the odds are that YOU would have been born?

Seriously, one site said that about 200 to 500 MILLION sperm are released per ejaculation.  Think about those odds.  One little sperm with your name on it won the race to the egg out of a field of as many as 500 million contenders. How could you not love yourself when you triumphed over such incredible odds?

For a little perspective, your odds of winning the Powerball Lottery are about 1 in 292 million.  Which means that you stand an equal or better chance of winning the lottery than you did of being born.  Hello?  Are you with me here?

And let’s give the egg some recognition as well.  Women release an average of 300 to 400 eggs during their reproductive lifetime.  So it took the concatenation of that particular egg being released at that particular time and that particular sperm fertilizing it to create you.  I rest my case.

I really struggled with the topic of this blog.  I thought that maybe it was too heavy and negative.  I didn’t want to turn you off.  I thought that maybe I should find something lighter and happier to write about.

But I know from my work and my own life that not liking yourself, not being for you, not being on your side, can only lead to misery and being stuck in the suffocating place of living a small and fearful life.

Remember that you don’t have to believe everything you think.  That critical voice that keeps telling you that you’re no good or not good enough or that you did something wrong or whatever it’s saying that makes you dislike yourself.  You can ask yourself where that belief came from.  Or, more importantly, you can ask yourself if you want to – no, need to – keep believing those lies.

It really is up to you.  If a parent or teacher or someone told you 10, 20, 30 or more years ago that you weren’t lovable or that you didn’t measure up or that you would never make anything of yourself, do you have to keep believing them?

As someone I used to work with once said, “Do you want to allow them to continue to rent space in your head?”  And it’s rent-free for them.  You’re the one who continues to pay the cost.

(You know that anyone who told you that you weren’t lovable or ok didn’t feel lovable or ok themselves.)

What would it be like to crack open the shell of your toxic self-judgments and begin to love yourself unconditionally?

With warmest regards,