10 Ways to Combat Hatred That’s So Prevalent in Society Today
With so much divisiveness in our world, fueled by different media, including social platforms, it’s easier than ever to hate. We hear people on the news and even in person, loudly saying, “I hate this person” or “I hate that group because they have such ridiculous ideas.”
We may seem so smug and self-assured about our views but where’s the wiggle room for some discussion and a possibility for a different feeling?
We’ve come to realize that hatred is a very strong word and an emotional suck. According to one definition, it represents intense dislike and ill will. Even when we read such words, we see black clouds emerging everywhere. To us, hatred is the ultimate in strong feelings about someone, some place, some event, and even something as mundane as food, clothing, hair styles, makeup and tattoos that’s too extreme in most cases. Of course, there are exceptions.
But the problem is that if you use such a strong word so much in everyday discussions, you may find the strong feelings that emerge can begin to eat away at your core like battery acid. What is the payoff? Usually more anguish, anger and hatred. And often it’s so palpable in certain people that others shy away. “Why would I want to be around a person who exudes so much hate and negativity?” And the person consumed with hatred might wonder why they don’t have friends or speak to family members.
As a rule, people gravitate to those people who are positive and emit good vibes. It’s a downer to be around someone who is always miserable, angry and raging about something. Also, it can be scary. No one wants a relationship based on fear of another person and being reprimanded or yelled at.
Hate or love doesn’t have to be a black or white situation. We always look for the gray and what we consider the middle ground. Here are 10 ways we’ve come up with to combat hatred in our little spheres of the world. Try not using the word “hate” and lowering the decibel to maybe “dislike” or “not like.” See how it feels and see also what suggestions you might send us for removing some darkness from our world.
- Stop being so negative. Focus on the positive. Instead of saying, “Why haven’t you been available for lunch, it took months to get you to meet me?” say instead, “It’s so great that you finally made time in your busy schedule to get together. I so enjoy our time and can’t wait to see you.” A lot less off putting, we think.
- Be informed. If you hate a certain activity or group of people often based on hearsay or misinformation on social media, learn all about it before you decide you hate it or don’t like it. Maybe visit the library and find books or articles about an issue that sets you off. Online sources such as Facebook can be skewed. If it’s a certain food group or one item, perhaps, be brave and try it again.
- Listen to another person’s point of view. You have a friend who might support this politician and you do not. Don’t hate them for it, get together and talk it out, if you can. If the discussion gets too heated, divert to another neutral topic like a recent trip to a museum or concert or even the weather (“Can you believe we’ve had seven weekends in a row of rain in New York City?”). And definitely ask the person why they hate something whether it’s classical music, the ballet or museums? Listen closely to what they say and try to understand their point of view.
- Think before you speak. Make post-it notes to remind yourself to relax and chill before you get together with a person or group who have a very different point of view. It takes practice but how courageous to do so. And definitely avoid the word for such silly dislikes as “I hate lima beans” or “peas” or “I hate peanut butter in my cookies” or “I hate Tudor-style houses.” Dial down the wording to “I really am not a fan of …….” and see how much nicer it sounds and how much better you feel. People are also more likely to listen to you when you are less negative.
- Learn deep breathing and meditation, try some form of exercise or use music. Slow down and think about what you’re doing and saying before you utter any strong opinion and try to banish the word hate from your vocabulary. If you must visit a doctor or dentist and have hated going into that office, try using a headset during the exam or teeth cleaning, for example.
- Do an activity together that puts you on neutral territory and shifts the mood away from something negative. Maybe play a board game or cards or pickleball and see if you can compete honestly and without hostility. Bond over something unrelated to the issue at hand. A walk is often a perfect antidote.
- Dig into your spirituality. Pray if you believe in doing so. Accept that most people are good at heart. And learn why they believe in what they do but don’t expect to change anyone’s view; the point is mutual respect.
- If your hatred permeates your everyday life, maybe talk to a clergyman or a therapist. Something else is at play and might be prompting the hatred. Does the person remind you of someone from your long-ago past or a difficult boss or parent, with whom you never were able to resolve issues? This is complicated and doesn’t happen overnight.
- Live in the moment rather than carrying around the weight of hatred. And if certain situations or people set that off, avoid them if there’s no middle ground. Form new relationships. People have even given up relationships with parents and siblings because they tried numerous tactics, and nothing worked.
Have a hatred journal and write down why you hate something and the reasons. Perhaps, if you see the reason in writing and you’re brutally honest, you can start taking steps, one by one, to moderate the hatred so it simply becomes a dislike.
Hatred is toxic for you and society at large and can be dangerous. The good news is that you have the control to flip this around in many cases or to avoid situations that set you off. Without hatred in your heart and head, you’ll live longer, stay healthier and feel freer. It’s good for you, and it’s good for society.
Once you’ve cleansed your brain of hatred, you might find that people will enjoy being around you more and…you’ll like yourself better as well. And isn’t banishing the word and notion a great way to start off a new year.