Hate (PBP Week 15 – Belated as Usual)

 “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” ~ Coretta Scott King

I feel like I need to say these words out loud in light of recent events in Boston and in the wake of personally witnessing instances of homophobia, fat-shaming, and racism….

Hate is not acceptable. There is no room for hatred on my spiritual  path.  Hating someone because they are different in any way – physically, cognitively, socially, culturally, sexually- is simply not acceptable to me.  One of the most beautiful things about the human condition is that, as individuals, we are each an unique expression of both innate and environmental influences. To hate someone because they are in some way different is to hate the very nature of human existence.

Hates invests far too much time, energy, and emotion into a no-win situation.  No matter how justified a person might think their hatred is, nothing will be gained from either the verbal or physical expression of hatred.  The person who lashes out in hatred may feel a sense of satisfaction that the object of their anger (or fear, etc) has been hurt, but at what cost does this satisfaction come?  There is something more than simply wasting resources when we make the choice to hate.  Hate dehumanizes the person it is being directed at, but more importantly, it dehumanizes the hater themselves.   When we stop seeing the humanity in another person, we lose touch with our own humanity and our ability to be compassionate, forgiving, and empathetic.

The dehumanizing factor of hate is what, in my opinion, makes hate such an attractive option when we feel fear, anger, or confusion.  By viewing a person as something less than fully human, we feed into our own false sense of superiority and allow ourselves an excuse for expressing the ugliest parts of who we are.   Hate is a choice to devalue another person and it is a choice that we will all be faced with at some point.  All of us  will come face to face with someone who makes us want to shout, ball up our fists, and possibly do much worse.  There are individuals whose actions will be so despicable and destructive that we will struggle to see them as anything other than an inhuman monster.  We may never fully come to terms with the actions of another person, but always, we have a choice of how to respond to that person.  We can choose to perpetuate hatred  or we can make the choice that hate stops here and now.

This is my choice:  Hate is not acceptable. There is no room for hatred on my spiritual  path.


3 thoughts on “Hate (PBP Week 15 – Belated as Usual)

  1. Agathi 28 April 2013 / 3:34 pm

    I believe even hate has its place. The hatred you’re talking about here – of people, either individuals or groups – is definitely a very bad thing. Not to mention useless. But other kinds – such as hatred of injustice or of poverty – inspire us to take action against these things.

    I dunno, maybe that is too much like the “love the sinner, hate the sin” Christian philosophy that homophobes so love to espouse. I just think a lot of our “negative” emotions get a bum rap. We have them for a reason.

    • Starannon 28 April 2013 / 3:55 pm

      I see your point, Agathi…but whereas Aisling is talking about “hate” as a destructive emotion directed at another being, you are discussing “hate” as the dissatisfaction with a condition. Two different things, entirely. You may say you “hate injustice” or “hate poverty” and most of us would agree. But you are not lashing out in a hurtful way at Injustice, or at Poverty, by stating this. If dissatisfaction with a condition leads a person to take steps to reform and correct that condition, then yes, this expression can certainly be a good thing.

    • Aisling 28 April 2013 / 4:05 pm

      When I speak of hate in this post, it’s strictly in terms of hostility in interpersonal relationships. I wasn’t even contemplating hate of situations or concepts, but you bring up a good point. I agree that any strong emotion can be a powerful motivator. Anger is a big one for me, particularly when it comes to social justice issues.

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