Psych-Hack: Self-hatred and the Billionaire

Icon_StivanoMy core philosophy posits that Success, Happiness and Freedom are distinct and unrelated, and must be pursued separately if you’re to achieve any of them in a sustainable way. I don’t like playing amateur psychiatrist (well, maybe a little), but this Donald Sterling guy is too good of an illustration of the canard “money doesn’t buy happiness” to let it pass. To do this, I’ll be employing gross generalizations, personality stereotypes, inferring personality traits from the ether – all with the goal of illustrating a vital truth: All hatred flows from self-hatred.

Seriously, I don’t want to sound all woo-woo, but self-love is prerequisite of loving anything or anyone else. The reverse is also true. And nothing generates self-hatred like succeeding wildly in one part of your life (finances in this case), while thinking it will improve your happiness.  That’s where bitter old bitches like Ebeneezer Scrooge come from. If you don’t like yourself, even a little, make it your mission in life to eliminate any justification or brainwashing for it – then love yourself.

04_MelBack to my original screed, proof that Donald Sterling is a self-hating mofo (actually, add Mel Gibson to this same list, it’s pretty much identical). To argue this hypothesis, I’ll offer three characteristics of the self-hating man (women have a whole different list), with the hope of illuminating behavior that should act as a red flag that either you, or somebody you know is a potential emotional ecosystem danger.

1. Looking Banged up

01_SterlingOkay, if we’re lucky enough to make it to 80, we’re going to look a little banged up just from the mileage. My father is well into his eighties, doesn’t have a billion dollars, and looks great. Why? Because he likes himself, he likes knowing he doesn’t look bloated and grotesque. But a self-hater, hell, he likes looking like he’s a toxic mixture of booze, animal fat and Viagra – he’s daring people to notice. That’s one of the big tells of the self-loathing, they’re always looking for a reason to argue, and the more venal they are the more arguments they’ll get into.  This can leech into their professional lives, but they tend to keep it at the personal level – they treat the ones closest to them the worst.

2. Hanging out with Hoochies (and other vampires)

02_HoochiesI don’t mean to pick on Hoochies, but they make for such an easy illustration (you can substitute any type of drama-creating companion). This is NOT to vilify the time honored “older man – younger woman” paradigm (if nobody’s hurting anybody I don’t care what kind of relationship you get into, life’s short, joy fleeting), but there’s a way to do it. George Clooney (who is single) dates Oxford educated Amal Alamuddin, who specializes in international law, human rights, criminal law and extradition – and is hot. Donald Sterling (married) dates V. Stiviano, who, well let’s face it – nobody seems to know what she does except accept lavish gifts – and is a hoochie.  Seeing her photo reminded me of a great speech from “Murder, My Sweet” delivered by an outraged Ann Grayle – “I hate their women, too – especially the ‘big league blondes’. Beautiful, expensive babes who know what they’ve got… all bubble bath, and dewy morning, and moonlight. And inside: blue steel, cold – cold like that… only not that clean.”

03_ClooneyClooney embraces an abundance mentality, resulting in (seemingly) positive relationships with a variety of intelligent, accomplished (and, okay, hot) women. The self-loathing Sterling embraces a scarcity mentality resulting in fear of loss and a tawdry desire to “control his woman” (this exact behavior is what got caught on tape, and eerily similar to Mel Gibson screaming at Oksana Grigorieva, another hoochie turned ace reporter). The moral is: Be a Clooney – love yourself, and you’ll happily pass on the company of some shiny low character, because you know there’s a high quality person right around the corner.

3. Pretending you’re something else

One sure-fire way to tell if you’ve got some self-hate juju bubbling inside is if you go out of your way to seem to others like something you’re not. Presenting a public face that masks your “true self”. In Sterling’s case, his inner self contains a healthy dose of racist, but his outer self courts the adulation of the NAACP and others through philanthropic deeds. He “dates” a mixed race woman, but takes issue with her posting pictures or her with people of color. The guy goes out of his way to manufacture drama in his life. And people who manufacture drama (i.e. meaningless turmoil) are just trying to drown out the silence in which they hear their own endless condemnations of self – not good enough, not lovable, not good looking, not thin enough, etc.

The lesson Sterling teaches us here is be internally consistent, hypocrisy is just another flavor of self-hate. Live a life where if somebody secretly recorded your most private conversations and sold them to TMZ, you might be horrified by your prolific use of profanity (oh, wait, that’s just me), but you won’t find yourself destroyed because people actually see the real you.

In summary

You know, as I was writing this I realized I should be clear on what I mean by “self love”. It is not narcissism, which is self-hatred in this sense, you love yourself without desire to change, to evolve – you’re perfect. No, self love as I define it is “I’m at peace with myself because I’m win/win with others, but I’m going to keep on changing, evolving because I believe I can, if I’m good today, I can be even better tomorrow if I choose to be”. And this kind of self esteem requires energy, inner resources you can tap into when things are challenging, and this brings me back to hate – and why it’s bad!

Hate takes energy. Think about the last time you got all wound up hating somebody or something, it leaves you exhausted. Find the discipline to love yourself, and you’ll find you simply lose the instinct to hate.  The world will still be a tough place, full of challenges and ugly souls. And when you look at the darkness you’ll understand – crazy racists, child molesters, killers, dictators, whatever – they’re not the other, they’re just broken versions of us. They may deserve being shunned, sanctioned or simply put down – it doesn’t require hate to stop them. To hate them is to waste energy, it’s up to you to use that energy for something that leaves proof of your best self.