Most of us grow being taught that it is not OK to hate. I have heard some people say that if they told their mother when they were little “I hate you” they would get their mouth washed out with soap. Religion has also frowned on hate. The encouragement is to always love and that you shouldn’t ever hate. When I grew up my religion taught me to hate the sin— not the sinner. But, as I grew up I would quietly think, ‘yeah, but if we didn’t have the sinner we wouldn’t have the sin’. I often stayed stuck with hate toward the sinner. Many times it would be one of my older brothers who would tease and torment me.
One time, I was picked up by an Uber driver to be taken to the airport. He told me that he was from Somalia and that he and his mother, father, brothers and sisters were literally running out of Mogadishu for their lives. Insurgents were chasing them with machetes. He told me that the insurgents caught every one of them and butchered them with a machete. All were caught and killed, except him. He alone escaped. He now lived in Phoenix. I thought to myself how rude and unrealistic would it be for me to ask “did you forgive them so that you don’t hate them?”
It’s been my experience that most people hate and have a reason to. It has also been my truth that it isn’t helpful to pretend you don’t hate when you do. It hasn’t been realistic to run away from hate with positive mental attitude or to cover it with religious dogma by intensifying your determination to love those who hate you. In my world, some people will try many therapeutic modalities. Yet, when they are invited to face the pain of their hate, they duck and dive and go to the next modality, never willing to come to terms with the pain of hate.
I believe that when you hate someone or an experience you must face and address it. Hate is as human as any other powerful experience. I have learned that in recovery I must lean into hate and embrace its reality-not run from it. There have been many people and experiences in life that I have hated and there will be more in the future. Asking God to help me not hate only was helpful when I was ready to face the pain and the ugly reality of its impact in my life. I think of hate like other powerful emotions (anger, rage, shame, jealousy, love, etc) as an energy source. My path toward healing the hate is focused on shifting the hate from the person to the issue at hand and eventually to what I love. I can use the same energy expended to hate and eventually utilize it toward experiences that I love. I don’t have be best friends with those who have egregiously hurt me. Yet, we all know, that if I do not do something with the hate I have, it will eat a hole in my soul. I will become an embittered person. So, I utilized the grieving process to address this powerful emotion which includes the expression of being pissed, sad, resentful, and jealous with its deep heartache and sorrow. This phase takes as long as it takes. The key is not to balk or to try and duck and dive the hate toward the person by running from it. Shifting the hate from the person to the issue becomes a result of healing through grieving and mourning. The issue of injustice, egregious selfishness and hurtful acts perpetrated toward self and others will always be disdained and hated. The shift helps me to redirect the energy of hate to the issue of injustice at hand. Eventually, through doing grief work, the energy of hate can be redirected and transformed toward what you love. The energy will be re-focused from injustice to a blazing energy toward justice making; from the energy of fear and hurt to courageous boundary setting; from oppressive domination to freedom and empowered living; from betrayal and sabotage to self-embraced empowered living and saying “No More”- Of course this requires a process and intentionality. It is not assembly-lined. Yet, working with the high charged energy of hate in this way fuels congruence and authenticity and genuinely empowers the capacity to send love in response to hate. This affirmation is an action. It is a transformational process.
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