Have I really put the work in to earn your hate? Am I the monster your mind believes me to be? Or are your feelings stoked by association, whether it’s being African American or Asian, liberal or conservative, over or under weight?
To reach to that level of hate requires a lot of work. But as Americans, we tend to be indifferent and sensitive. Case and point: we get upset about chemicals in our food, but we can’t grow a garden.
Another example, we invite foods and customs from other regions and countries, but we Americanize them to ‘improve’ the taste and monetize the ‘new’ product.
Our egocentric habits also apply to our word usage. When in doubt, what you feel becomes your facts. We define words based on our feelings. We forget the old dictionary, a proven documented process to standardize meaning and communication. We allow a group of reality television entertainers or a pissed-off politicians to model language usage. In its current usage, hate is the highest utterance spoken of destruction. It’s not synonymous with dislike or disgust or loathing, but more wanting another to cease to exist.
The word hate is the new catchword used to describe the same feeling of missing a yellow traffic light or being offended hearing an off-color joke, to finding groups of people repugnant that you’ve never met. Has anyone earned the distinction of not existing? Just imagine, to have a parentless child, family and friends forever separated. To never be given an opportunity contribute to humanity. To be judged as unworthy even among the world’s injustices.
As we currently use the word, hate is the most extreme unnatural emotion. It is the summation of everything negative. It is the emotion that is not satisfied until the object is metaphorically destroyed. Hate will destroy its initiator if not satisfied. Hate has no boundaries.
Emotionally, it turns the hater’s being inside out. When hating, negotiating feels like a betrayal. A constant state of hate is part persistent ignorance, part misdirected energy, part immaturity and a smidgen of entitlement. Maybe a better definition of hate is “reasoned insanity.”
I am convinced that most of us don’t actually mean hate.
We are describing varying levels of physical hurt, confusion or even betrayal. It doesn’t help that our siloed conversations and the media reinforce the same charged words to either keep our attention or command its relevance in the midst of the messages competing for our attention.
Using the word hate gives us an element of unrealistic control. A simple scenario. Let’s say I went to a meeting and felt rejected because no one greeted me at the door, unlike the other attendees. If I’m vulnerable and honest, my reaction should be, “I had to calm my nerves and appear to be open and trusting. I couldn’t help but feel inhibited with the feeling of being dismissed,” masquerading more control. Instead, there is more control to be gained by saying, “I hate this place and these people.” In actuality, the vast majority of people don’t hate but are coping the best they can while attempting to be relevant.
To further illustrate the confluence of vulnerability, control, feelings and language, The Natural Communications blog published September 2020, ‘Natural emotion vocabularies as windows on distress and well-being,’ infers that people that are in a constant state of hate have a limited emotional vocabulary. While the Hoffman Institute Foundation study sheds some light on the complexity and depth of communication, listing more than 175 feelings of which there are over 70 varying degrees of negativity.
Let’s be clear, expanding your emotional vocabulary will not make other people act better, but it may help you find resolution to your feelings. Life is a contact sport, and some people don’t play by the rules of etiquette or even decency. I may dislike, or even despise, an individual. I may not want to be around certain people. I also believe justice and accountability should be sought, if necessary. But even these responses haven’t risen to the level of hate.
Unfortunately, as we live life, we will come across some unsettling situations.
These are the situations that help us improve our emotional vocabulary. An improved emotional vocabulary doesn’t mean situations change. It doesn’t mean our feelings have dissipated. If self-reflective, these interactions can improve our situational awareness, connecting our emotions and feelings to the outside world. Hate prevents us from growing. In my opinion, hate is a very special word, to be used rarely and singularly.
Life is about relationships and you can only be responsible for one side. You can’t control someone else’s emotions. You can’t control the weak-minded or those easily manipulated. You can’t control those that are immature. You can’t control someone enraged by a glance or reference.
Now, to properly put hate in perspective, there must be an intimacy and malicious intention, harm committed and an indifference to cause more harm. I know you and you know me. I have proven a disregard for your personhood, but even then, the feeling of hate should be fleeting, while always working to find better language.
Have I earned your hate? Is there a way from complete annihilation to a peaceful coexistence? Depending on the time of day I may not be at my best, but I don’t think I’ve put in the time, energy and focus to earn your hate.
In Action, Hate:
does not come from a place of creation.
does not foster healthy societies.
is an insatiable emotion.
cannot be reasoned with.
uses the lowest denomination in an argument.
will trivialize your humanity.
will lie and misconstrue context.
will distort reality.
has its own energy.
has its own ‘God complex.’
can disguise itself as truth.