“I really hate ______________________________!” (Fill in the blank for yourself, and then continue reading.)
I had a great conversation with one of my sons recently on the topic of hate. Hate is one of those words of great meaning that has become commonplace and overused. It is not a bad idea to review the words we use from time to time, especially if we find ourselves using certain words frequently.
Back to the conversation…
The word ‘hate’ was used to describe someone, as often happens in the life of a young person. Hate becomes the opposite of like, and sneaks it’s way into the vernacular.
“Do you really hate that person?”
“Well, no, but you know what I mean.”
“Maybe you dislike their behaviour, but hate is a pretty personal emotion to have about a person. Is this person invested in your heart?”
“Yeah, that would be a better way to put it. I mean, I don’t wish they were dead or anything like that.”
“Exactly. We easily think of hate as being the opposite of love, but that is actually apathy. Meaning that person has no emotional or soul-driven impact on us or are sense of self. Hate means that person still has an emotional connection to you, some would say to the extent that we wish them dead.”
“That makes sense. I mean, this person does a lot of things that make people around them angry or irritated.”
“Here’s something to consider before we go so far as to saying we ‘hate’: Do you think that person realizes how much dislike they create in the people around them?”
“So really, it ends up hurting us when we allow that person so much space in our hearts and minds, they become someone or something we wish hurt upon, and they may not even know it.”
“DAD, YOU TRULY ARE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!”
OK, OK, I made that last part up, but the rest is pretty much the flow of the conversation…
It reminded me of a conversation I had with my Dad when I was a preteen, right when I learned to use ‘hate’ in every second sentence. Looking back on that time, I get the impression I hated everything. My Dad finally interrupted with that same question: “Do you hate them? Or do you dislike them? It’s a big difference.” I asked what the difference really was, and his response is much like what you see above, I did not want them to burn in Hell, or die, or have some vindication for whatever injustice for which I wanted to blame them. They just rubbed me the wrong way. I needed to learn that space in my mind and soul is not given free of charge; it needs to be carefully determined and validated as part of my growth as a person.
And that is still something I am learning. Especially when I am in close context with a person, or in a tense situation, especially one outside my control. I can start assigning and assuming motives and thoughts, and I burn out on interpreting actions that are not my own. It is extremely taxing on our system when we let someone take part of our soul for hate. It effects our leadership, our relationships, and our view of the world around us.
So, go back to the top and answer that question. Then ask yourself how much of your soul are you willing to give up for that decision.