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Using Essential Oils to Love Yourself Again

Waterless Diffuser (photo by Vicki Carroll)

Waterless Diffuser (photo by Vicki Carroll)

Self-hatred, also known as self-loathing is a malignancy that keeps disappointment in the frontal cortex with infinite scrutiny. It magnifies the criticisms of family or friends. It catalogs every betrayal or hurt in your life as 'normal,' turning doubt to emptiness and hope to despair.

Trauma can create emotions that are so powerfully charged we become maniacal, or the polar opposite, zombie-like. Every criticism — real or perceived, constructive or not — seeps into your soul like a poisonous gas. With every new emotional blow, feelings of 'not being good enough' continue to erode your self-worth and embed themselves in your very DNA.

When you hate yourself, you imprison yourself! A self-inflicted jail cell is not an incubator for introspective healing. It is a loud echo chamber for inner defeat and outward fear. You may begin to criticize yourself even when others don't. How can one end this horrific cycle of self-destruction?

The First Step is Recognizing Self-Hatred

Self-hate doesn’t appear all at once like a package at your door. It slips in from dark corners over a period of years or decades. It comes in pieces that clump together like magnetic fragments to form an ugly heap in your life. It gnaws at the bane of your existence while simultaneously seeking to avoid detection. Consequently, you hide your feelings and emotions but suppressed emotions clamor for freedom. This is what leads to thoughts of self-harm or even harming others. You may blame others and refuse to accept the need for personal change, or you may place the entire blame upon yourself deeming yourself as worthless.

When you self-hate, you intuitively know there is a problem but you are overwhelmed by how to regain control. You secretly feel like your life has little value and underrate the energy others pour into your well-being. The intersection of suppressed and expressed emotions create a catastrophic collision leaving you to bleed at times, if not hemorrhage.

How Do I Know I Need to Get Help?

If any of this describes how you feel, it's advisable to seek immediate professional help from a licensed professional counselor or a psychologist. The first step toward healing is always recognizing the need for help. VeryWellMind suggests that if you are self-aware enough, ask yourself the following:

  • How did I get here?
  • Why don't I think I am good enough?
  • What can I do to feel normal again?
  • Why doesn't being myself inspire me anymore?

Self-awareness precedes the journey to all wellness. Fortunately, there are many essential oils that work to restore your sense of self, self-confidence and overall emotional balance. Many counselors and psychologists will agree to work with an aromatherapist to coordinate dual-therapy.

Essential oils should be used based on the advice of an aromatherapist and/or under the direction of a physician. They often have contraindications with pharmaceutical drugs or health conditions including but not limited to pregnancy, neurological conditions, and/or asthma. Certain individuals may have a reaction to essential oils based on accumulated toxins. Some oils increase photosensitivity or cause skin reactions.

Essential Oils that Help Restore Your Sense of 'Self'

First, only organic, therapeutic-quality essential oils should be used. Essential oils should be stored in dark glass containers away from extreme temperatures and light. Some essential oils will oxidize when exposed to light and air, so great care must be taken to properly store oils. Inhalation is the best method for exposure unless you seek advice from a certified aromatherapist. The nose is a powerful conduit to the body's limbic system which has been dubbed the 'emotional brain.' The limbic path leads to the brain's amygdala which processes emotions as well as the hippocampus which plays a significant role in memory and behavior.

Restoring Self-Confidence

There are numerous essential oils that can help restore confidence, personal courage, and a healthy morale. Among some of the safest oils to use are Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Peppermint (always avoid the eyes), and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternafolia). Tree oils like Silver Fir and White Fir are also confidence boosters. A tailored blend can be extremely effective because it encompasses the chemistry of several oils to create a truly transformative fragrance.

Balancing Emotions

When you find yourself overwhelmed with emotions, grounding and stabilizing oils are your best option. Bergamot can help dispel feelings of panic (Warning: It is phototoxic). Oregano can instill a sense of well-being with herbal richness while Angelica has an sweet, earthy aroma that promotes a sense of feeling grounded. Some of the safest grounding/stabilizing essential oils to diffuse are Palo Santo, Lavender, and Cedarwood. Blue Spruce, Blue Cypress, Pine, and Balsam Fir are great choices for balancing emotions as well, but note that the tree oils often have cautions attached to them.

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Thwarting Destructive Behaviors

Myrtle is best known for its respiratory benefits, but it is also seen as a symbol of God's promise of blessings and abundance. It can help cleanse the inner sanctum and reduce disharmony. It is similar to the scent of Eucalyptus. There are reports that Myrtle helps remove thoughts of self-destructive behavior. The oil was/is used in purification ceremonies. Diffuse 8-10 drops of Myrtle up to 30 minutes three times per day if you are contemplating self-injury (this excludes suicide in which case you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - see below).

Encouraging Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn't for the offender; it's for you personally because it enables you to LET GO go of something painful. These three essential oils can help aid a forgiving spirit: Helichrysum, Spikenard, and Copiaba. Frankincense is a good oil for introspection and deep emotional healing. All of these oils are great for diffusing up to 30 minutes three times per day.

Releasing Suppressed Emotions or Lifting the Spirit

Bergamot, Balsam Fir, Juniper Berry, Lavender, and Tusga are essential oils than can serve a dual role: raise one's spirits while also helping to release negative emotions. Diffuse 8-10 drops for 30 minutes three times per day. Orange is also a commonly used oil for inspiring attitudes and is very affordable. During particularly difficult times, dilute with a carrier oil and rub 1-2 drops on the bottoms of your big toes and on the heart center of both feet (located in the center of your foot, slightly to the left). The heart-mind-body connection is well-established in science.

Atypical Climb (photo by Vicki Carroll)

Atypical Climb (photo by Vicki Carroll)

The Climb Back to Safety

YOU are uniquely wonderful and have something to offer the world. All the magic required is that YOU believe in YOURSELF. Don't let others dash your hopes, dull your senses, or deny your progress. In your climb back to safety, here are some exercises to add to your essential oil regimen:

  1. Lighten up. You aren't perfect so don't try to be. Salvation, as a concept, realizes we can't be perfect. We can and should strive to be better people and that's good enough. Being misunderstood, falsely accused, demoralized, or otherwise broken down by others simply requires that you find more GRACE for yourself.
  2. Forgive. Someone once said that "Forgiveness is the fragrance of dew the violet spreads on the heal that crushes it." This is overly simplistic because forgiveness does not require that we maintain painful relationships with anyone. It does require that we LET GO of baggage that harms us or contradicts our sense of self.
  3. Share Your Feelings. Even chickens don't like living in a coup. TAKE A DEEP BREATH then let your emotions out. Share how you feel. Vulnerability is not the nemesis of beauty; it is the center piece. Sharing your vulnerability is your road to healing. If you're feelings get dismissed or rejected then you told the wrong person, but you weren't wrong to share.
  4. Find Your Faith. Purpose is purposeful. Faith is a part of any miracle. Faith and purpose give 'Belief' its good name. Get involved in a local church, synagogue, or shelter for the homeless. There is good in every one who seeks to do good.

Resources Available to Help You:

Suicide Prevention

If you are contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, or text TALK to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line.


If you are contemplating or engaging in self-injury, visit or the Psychology Today Therapy Directory. Mental health professionals are available to help you chart a course to permanent healing.

Harm to Others

Crime never pays. Call 911 and request they send Crisis Intervention Trained (CIT) officers. Then prepare your environment before police arrival by removing any items that could be used or perceived as a weapon. Turn on all the lights to improve visibility and turn off all audio equipment to reduce distractions. Keep your cell phone in your hand.

Aromatherapy Resources:

There is no requirement for registration or licensure of aromatherapists in the U.S. Core competency is determined by instructional organizations such as the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and the Institute for Spiritual Healing & Aromatherapy (ISHA) which certify or maintain accredited programs. There are several ways to find a legitimate aromatherapist"

  • Search the NAHA Directory of Aromatherapists. An aromatherapist must meet NAHA's credentialing requirements to be a part of this directory. Please note that not all members of NAHA will pay to be included. NAHA also tracks continuing education credits for aromatherapists in the U.S.
  • Search the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) list of "registered" aromatherapists: Find a Registered Aromatherapist Database. ARC is a U.S. based non-profit which has developed testing intended to ensure core competency is obtained and demonstrated, hence, allowing aromatherapists who pass the ARC exam to be called Registered Aromatherapists.
  • ISHA has a practitioner directory on its website. The list only represents those who have chosen to publish their contact information and who remain in good standing with the organization. ISHA does not endorse anyone on their list.
  • Local holistic practitioners and massage therapists can usually refer you to a qualified aromatherapist. Likewise, natural, herbal or alternative medicine stores are usually aware of contact information for local aromatherapists.

(NOTE: There are many articles published about essential oils which were written by lay persons who may or may not have reiterated content from a credentialed or qualified source. This article was written by a Certified Professional Aromatherapist.)

Aromatherapy is the use of therapeutic-quality essential oils to promote healing from mental, physical, and emotional stressors. It does not purport to diagnose, treat, or cure a medical condition. Essential oils are condensed and can present serious safety concerns. They should not be ingested or applied topically without the advice of a qualified Aromatherapist. Avoid use during pregnancy. Keep away from small children.


Vicki Carroll, NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist ®

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