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The Value of Acknowledging Hate

Image of angry young child in an airport. Raleigh Psychotherapy, Counseling, Katherine Broadway

Hate has become socially unacceptable. In part, that is because unbridled hate has caused pain and destruction, and in part because people are afraid of strong emotions. If you look at its roots, however, hate is not inherently evil.

Hate has several meanings. Hate can be used as a verb expressing intense dislike, aversion or hostility to something or someone. Forms of “to hate” are usually followed by an object. It can be something specific, such as to hate an enemy or to hate ice cream. It can also be something more abstract, such as hating conflict or politics.

In modern times, we have also started using the same verb to express an unwillingness or dislike of doing something. How many times did you tell your parents, ‘I hate spinach”? Or how often do you think, “I hate to clean the house or mow the lawn.”

Hate can also be a noun. In that case, it is the embodiment of feelings of aversion or hostility. For example, when something is “filled with hate”, it conveys the intense dislike or hostility felt by its author or creator.

It is only when it is used as an adjective that it relates to an action or behavior. As an adjective, it describes actions that are related to prejudice or intolerance that are

motivated by hatred: hate crime; hate group; hate mail.

Hate is a normal part of life. Like any other feeling, it is neither good nor bad. It is a messenger that comes to tell us to pay attention to ourselves, and that there is something we need to learn.

It is only when hate becomes an action that is directed for the purpose of doing harm that it becomes negative. It is not inherently evil.

I challenge you to see hate differently. It can be a positive force for change, if we do not condemn ourselves for feeling hate and if we learn to not act upon it before we have time to discern its true meaning. If we learn to use the feeling of hate as a red flag, we can see that it can be a resource in our lives.

Seven Ways Acknowledging Hate Can Help You Grow:

1. Builds resiliency:

Acknowledging a feeling of hate but not acting upon it builds your ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and leads you to self-knowledge. It builds your confidence to be able to think and make decisions rather than being controlled by your impulses.

2. Shows us our fears:

Most hate is born of fear, so acknowledging hate points the way to our fears. Because we are so fragile as human beings, our very existence often is threatened. Out of this threat are born the fears of annihilation, rejection and loss. It comes when we feel that we will lose something we love or want. It comes when we see someone, some idea or movement that is different from ourselves.

3. Shows us our inadequacies:

When we feel confident and secure, we know we can take care of ourselves. When we are among friends and in a place that we trust, we feel safe. It is when we face that new situation, idea or person that is different that we begin to fear that we will not able to maintain our sense of self and safety. It is out of fear, that we will hate that which is different rather than approach it.

4. Challenges us to look beyond the surface:

There are times that each of us has been kind, understanding and giving and instead of being appreciated, we are misunderstood, discounted and even insulted. At these times, we often feel hatred and want to show that person that they are hurting us. It is at times like this that we need to think carefully and dig deep to understand what is being stirred up inside of ourselves.

5. It helps you define your values:

Defining your values is a life-long task. What you value will change as you grow and mature. Being put in a position to experience hate will show you what is important to you in a whole new light. You may not care about equal rights until you experience being treated with disrespect and not given what you feel you deserve.

6. Rethink our own identity:

We learn who we are in many ways, one of which is see our reaction when we

encounter ideas, values, beliefs and people who are different from ourselves. We may think we are open and accepting to all people and beliefs until we actually encounter that which we thought we accepted.

7. Creates change:

Hate is a powerful emotion. It creates a lot of energy that can be used for good or ill purposes. It shows us direction, and as we learn to accept our feelings as valuable assets to be held, heard and evaluated they become powerful agents for change. Hate can tell you that you need to change and that the energy you feel from the emotion needs to be used constructively. It may mean acting immediately or it may mean waiting until the time is right for action.

It is when we do not take the time to process the meaning and simply act in a moment of passion that hate creates harm. It is not true that all we need is love; we need its opposite as well so that we can recognize and appreciate both emotions. We need hate that is matured so that it can be used with love and is a force for positive change.

Are you struggling with acknowledging that you feel hate? I can help you create something positive our of the experience. Call me at: (919)881-2001.

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