Here’s a fun fact about me: I hate drinking alcohol. Approach any one of my friends, and they will probably tell you that my relationship with alcohol will never work. Hand me a glass of vodka, and I would not drink it. Even if you give me a million dollars to drink just one drop of it, I still would not. Whether me not drinking alcohol is a good thing or otherwise, I do not care.
Despising alcohol has never caused any damage to me or those within my circle. It does not inflict the slightest of pain onto me–I simply dodge it, just like how a dodgeball player would take evasive manoeuvres to avoid being struck out. It never affected anyone, although they might disagree with my decision not to stay sober forever. However, there is a more sinister type of hate behaviour that we all tend to engage in–hating others.
Ask any one of my friends, and they will probably be able to share with you that I rarely lose my cool. Through the books I have read over the years, I have learned that hatred is a natural extension of rage and resentment. At the same time, I have seen firsthand how hatred had caused one of my friends to implode. As a result, I rarely engage in hate-motivated behaviour–whether it takes shape in the form of verbal or non-verbal expressions–because I believe that everyone that I encounter will most likely have some good in them.
However, human beings are not perfect, and I am no exception. So, I admit that there have been several instances in the past where my heart was filled with nothing but hate towards someone or something, but very few times did I let it explode onto the scene.
Over time, the destructive power of hate becomes more evident to me. Not only did the atom of hatred consumed me, but it also consumed the person I hate. So, it is safe to say that hating each other makes us gravitate towards immaturity and self-destruction.
It is challenging to suppress feelings of hatred within ourselves. I did it, and it was not a walk in the park. Nevertheless, here are several points that I came across regarding the emotional state of hatred and about living free from it:
1. No being gives a sh*t.
One hilarious aspect about hatred is that it is something that lies within us. Like any state of emotions, it is so internal that those at the receiving end see it once in a blue moon. The fact that I hate that one individual in my life does not affect him or her at all. Instead of making that said person the victim, I was victimising myself. It left me with a sensitive temperament while my target went on with his or her life, uninterrupted.
There are moments when we engage in hate-motivated behaviours. However, even so, it is much less difficult for our so-called victims to brush aside an insensitive remark or a death stare than it is for us to remove all feelings of hatred in our hearts. Simply put, no one has the time nor the sh*t to tend to your hatred as much as you do.
2. I was feeding myself poison.
If a venomous creature bit you before, you should be aware that you should seek treatment as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the wounds will get worse and ultimately, you are at risk of losing your life.
You do not even need a poisonous living organism to bring you discomfort. Even the itchy feeling resulting from the tiniest mosquito bite can be made worse if you cannot keep your fingernails off it. The more time we dwell on the feelings of hatred inside us, the worse it gets and the worse we get both in that particular aspect of our lives and our lives in general.
Upon reflecting on my past, I have realised how wretched I was in every aspect of my life when I was permitting my hatred to grow. It spreads just like the plague (or wildfire) until it dominated every part of your life in unnoticeable ways. Before I can recognise it, my hatred was all over the place.
3. It does not change anything.
This should go without saying, but it was not apparent to me back then: hatred will not make anything better nor restore peace. There is some form of pleasure in allowing your dislike for someone to go over the top, I will admit that.
For one reason or another, humanity has this bizarre notion that an invisible force such as emotions can churn out significant results that the naked eye can see. But, truth be told, it does not until it is acted upon.
Rarely have I ever acted upon my hatred – I just keep it contained and let it sort itself out. Hating someone is not relieving; neither is it beneficial nor relaxing. It only exacerbates an emotional problem–externally, if you act on your hate, or internally, if it is passive.
4. Getting rid of hatred did not get rid of other emotions.
It is all right to get angry. Expressing our genuine emotions makes us human, and at times, it can be justified. The same goes for disappointment and all the other feelings known to humanity. I once thought that if I ceased being hateful, I would have to cease all negative states of emotion, too.
However, just like any other emotion, anger can drive us to do extraordinary things. For example, reading cases of social injustice makes me furious. That rage then motivates me to rebel against such cases.
Getting rid of hatred does not mean you have to say farewell to the emotions fundamental for authentic living. Getting rid of hatred does not mean you cannot dislike what the tormentor does. What getting rid of hatred does accomplish is recalibrate your mind and create space for rational and critical thinking.
There is no denying that if hatred is all you can focus on, your judgements are skewed. When our state of mind is at the right place, we can channel our negative emotions into positive actions.
I genuinely believe that we are born to hate each other and ourselves. Dodging hatred is a decision that constantly plays itself repeatedly in our heads. It is a decision that calls for effort and the conscious realisation that we are irrational human beings in the first place. When we understand just how useless it is to grasp the atom of hatred, it is not difficult for us to release it. When we understand that our own hatred affects us more than others, we find ourselves on a better path to peace.
When we understand that our hatred for a particular being does not alter their behaviour, taking control of more beneficial behaviours becomes easier to master. At the end of the day, time spent thinking about how to manage hate is worth much more than time spent on hatred alone.