We know that hate can create lots of problems and does. Although, as a species, we have made many improvements in human life, we, nonetheless, have seen a freer expression of hate in recent years. It seems that all of the material improvements have not eliminated hate. Apparently, we cannot buy our way out of hate, so what is going on, and what can we do?
What Is Hate?
What is hate anyway? The Oxford Dictionary describes it this way:
- feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone): ”the boys hate each other”
- used politely to express one’s regret or embarrassment at doing something: ”I hate to bother you”
- intense or passionate dislike: ”feelings of hate and revenge”
- denoting hostile actions motivated by intense dislike or prejudice: ”a hate campaign”
The first thing to notice is that hate is not just one thing. It can be used as a way to be polite as in I hate to bother you.
Hate can be the expression of personal tastes. Intense dislikes can be for anything. We all have likes and dislikes for foods and other things in life that suit us or do not. I do not like soft-boiled eggs. Others might not like scrambled eggs. So if I say I hate soft-boiled eggs, I am expressing a personal preference. What I am NOT doing is harming anyone. Then there is another form of hate which is not personal as much as social. This is where hate becomes problematic because with it comes a desire to eradicate what is hated.
Karla McLaren, the emotions expert talks about the intricacies of hate, which can also be resentment, disgust, and the result of extreme boundary violations. Her website is worth visiting for more information about hate. She makes the point that when we hate, we are connecting with shadow material in us, something that we have disowned or sacrificed. Let’s say you are creative, and you had to sacrifice it because it was not supported, or perhaps you grew up in a situation with many illnesses or other problems, so the resources were not there to support your talent. You might resent or hate someone who was supported and able to invest more in developing their talent. This is an example where your resentment can create hate in you. There are remedies, of course. By recognizing what is going on, you can take steps to support your own creativity more.
Resentment And Hate Are Related
There is more than one kind of resentment. Resentment can come from injustices. We see this in situations of extreme economic inequality where heads of companies make fortunes and employees’ basic needs and benefits may be meager by comparison. The resentment created here is a denial of the basic dignity, worth, and needs of each human being. as well as our responsibility to honor the fact that we share this earth with each other and need to respect the needs of others. When this kind of disrespect is codified in social systems, it can consign people to lives where they cannot create lives with basic dignity for themselves. Of course, there will be resentment.
When disrespect and inequity are built into social systems, we can actually make hate a feature of our cultural systems. And when structural hate is challenged, it can bring a backlash. People often hate those they harm with their inequity because that other person reminds them of their own unfairness. The solution, of course, is to rectify the unfairness.
The problem with hate is that we often want to annihilate the hated person or object. There is an obsession and glee in making life difficult for the other person. The desire to hurt or kill feels redemptive on the inside when it is actually self-destructive.
Hate is a funny thing. Sometimes those who are hated have to work harder to get what they need, and in doing so, they develop skills that those who do the hating do not have. Those who hate actually shoot themselves in the foot and then punish others for it. Hate takes up time and space in your energy and life and consumes you while taking no responsibility. It is a huge mistake. The question needs to be, what do I need to change?
When hate and the inequality it creates are baked into social systems, we need to ask the same question, what do I need to change and then assess what makes the most sense? If the resistance to change is too great, sometimes we need to take our lives back from the toxic inequalities that are creating destructive resentment. This may be what is happening with the Great Resignation in the United States. People may be saying, “Enough is enough.”
How A Joy Practice Transforms Hate
Let’s talk about how a joy practice totally changes this discussion. One of the easiest ways to allow hate to flourish is to deny the good in individuals, nature, and life. It is often when the good in us is not given space, recognized, and valued that resentment is created. The important thing for those on the receiving end is to recognize, value, and support the good in themselves. The more you do, the less you will be around those who do not. Granted, systemic issues can make that challenging, but when you recognize the systemic issues, you begin to ask, how can I live in the most self-honoring way possible? There are ways.
They usually involve simplification, serious self-care, and healing where necessary. We do not have to succumb to hate. We can invest in ourselves, including supporting the new in ourselves through education and training, self-care, and healing practices. A joy practice is one of the best ways to do that because, by its very nature, it focuses on, supports, and celebrates the good in all areas of life; what you focus on increases.
Haters want you to focus on them and what they want. Haters dislike the good in others. They will insult you to bring you down to their level. It is important to understand that you do not need them. Once you get that and focus on creating and sustaining the good in you and what you offer, you can be free of the toxic energies of hate. It is worth it; you are worth it.