Friday, September 25, 2009

Why Do We Hate?

After a conversation I saw recently on Twitter by the lovely Miss_Chicken, I thought I would talk a bit today about hate and hatred.

Every day you hear the word hate bandied around a lot. People hate foods, they hate music or books or movies, they hate famous people, they hate some douchebag that cut them off in traffic, they hate the green paint in their office, they hate the smell of petrol, they hate decaf coffee, they hate Mondays.

I'm not quite sure that most people quite know what hatred is, or what it does to them. I still catch myself doing it from time to time, though I've cured myself of doing it in reference to people. I caught myself saying earlier today that I hate bureaucracy, and I've had to give myself a little shake.

You see hatred is poisonous. It makes the person with the hatred the most ill. Hatred is also a waste of your energy. As the old saying goes, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.

A few years ago, when I was at my lowest point, I talked about hate a lot. I hated myself, I hated my family, I hated how people treated me, I hated my body, I was just full of hate. My psychologist challenged me to change my thinking and let go of all the hate, which in most cases, was anger I wasn't brave enough to express. She asked me to take notice of every time I used the word hate, and see if I could find another word that expressed my feelings better than hate. I found that the more that I thought about it, what I was feeling was not hate. It was anger, fear, irritation, frustration, sadness. Those are all a lot more scary to deal with than hate. Hate is so definite, it's easy to latch onto.

I don't hate peas. I just don't like the taste of them. I don't hate Angelina Jolie, she just irritates the shit out of me. I don't hate spiders, I'm afraid of them. I don't hate homophobes, I am just very angry at them.

The question was asked on Twitter recently if hatred was borne out of jealousy. I think some hatred is definitely borne of envy, that's for sure. People who choose to literally hate other people are sometimes envious of those they hate. Particularly those that can't just leave that person alone. I've never quite understood the concept of "enemies". Why would you want to focus any more attention on a person that you don't like?

The thing is, one chooses to hate. It's not involuntary, and I believe it's something we learn. I am choosing not to hate. Like everything, it's a work in progress, but it's a decision I've made. I seem to have conquered the hating people thing, I don't even hate my family any more, though I'm still angry at most of them. But I still hate stuff sometimes. Because it's easy to hate stuff. I mean, it's just stuff, and it's annoying, or scary (like spiders, I still hate them a bit).

Every time I hear the word "hate" come out of my mouth, or my typing fingers, or cross my mind, I'm going to challenge it. Ask myself what I really feel about the think I'm stating hatred for.

Because I'm pretty sure it's not worthy of hatred, whatever it is.


The Chicken said...

I was saying to @calrion that I realised the people I don't like are ones I respect in some way... but act negatively towards me. Perhaps I'm just sad that someone I admire seems to think so poorly of me.
In comparison, there are people who are mean to me who I don't respect and as a result, don't really care enough about their opinion enough to "hate" them.

And on the other side, the people who act hateful towards me usually have no legitimate reason to. Sometimes I get paranoid and think it's my personality that causes people to act like this, but more and more I just take pity. The most judgmental people are sometimes the most insecure.

elliefreeman said...

ergh that was me (miss_chicken) by the way. "the chicken" is my old blogspot account :)

Sleepydumpling said...

I worked out it was you, LOL!

I think it's fine to not like people, nothing unhealthy with that. I don't like people who think they're better than others, or who are nice to your face but then slag you off behind your back. I don't like people who don't practice what they preach, or they're rude or mean.

But I don't hate them. Some of them hate me, they've made that very clear. But I wonder why they bother to expend so much energy on people that they hate them?

I think you're very right about the insecurity thing.

TribeRingers said...

My favourite part from this post:

"My psychologist challenged me to change my thinking and let go of all the hate, which in most cases, was anger I wasn't brave enough to express."

I too, will take a moment to think of how else to express what I may be feeling.

Katagal Kapers said...

I made a decision quite a few years ago to not use the word "hate". Because there is no one or nothing I hate, I just don't care to hate, too much effort and I can't be arsed, it is true the opposite of love is indifference and I am indifferent to many things & people. I either like/love or I am indifferent to it

Moe said...

I think in most cases when it comes to people it is not that we hate them but what they may or may not have done.

This was an interesting read. I know I use the word "hate" a lot because it is stronger than "dislike". I really do hate liver. :)

Sleepydumpling said...

You know Moe, I don't even hate the people who have hurt me any more. I'm angry at some of them, sure, but I don't hate them. They're simply not worth that much energy.

Liver makes me puke, but I don't even hate it.