Hate is an attitude, a feeling, an action of being. When you hate it consumes you more than other emotions. Try being hateful and simultaneously smiling at your sister. Or try being hateful and making a wonderful meal for people you love. I believe energy is real, and if you are hateful, this hateful energy spreads into your whole life. The hard thing is, when someone directs hate at you personally, the energy is so charged, it’s the easiest thing in the world to react and be as intense and hateful as the perpetrator.
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to put this into practice – to not become a hater myself. In one month, I had two different people attack me personally online, on Facebook. The attacks were over-the-top accusations about my being in the world, from pointing out obvious things like my privilege, to much less sane claims, like I was a “bad witch”. The first time it happened was the day I was launching my online store. Being a one woman show here, I was literally setting up my website, making sure my handmade products were ready to go, writing a letter announcing the launch, etc… And I get hit with this crap – on my homepage of Facebook, a semi-public space for my social network to see. I also received an array of private messages, supporting the allegations that had already been posted.
Initially, I knew it was something I couldn’t take personally, because – WTF, these things weren’t TRUE, and I needed to continue directing my energy toward more productive things. But in reality, I had a mini-meltdown, verging on anxiety attack, feeling fueled and burnt by this hate! I tried talking to the person reasonably, which didn’t really do much. I decided to block the person and make it clear that I was not up for this kind of bullshit. This is called self-preservation and boundaries. It is inevitable that someone is going to be displeased with me – I’m putting myself out there in the world, being as vulnerable as possible. If I choose to hate right back, I’m falling prey to hateful manipulation. I’m not getting even by getting mad, I’m letting them win their game.
I recently became obsessed with Louis Theroux’s documentaries. Although I had heard of them, I was shocked to see the Westboro Baptist Church’s relentless force of hate as they picket soldier’s funerals, yelling at people, “God Hates Fags!” Their message is that, since the USA supports gay rights, the troops are fags, deserve to die, and will burn eternally in hell – along with the rest of the world who isn’t part of their church (some 75 people). Watching the story of their congregation unfold, their beliefs were completely unreasonable to me. The children go to public school, where they have no friends, and the whole church has been alienated from the community and world at large because of their outrageously hateful messages. Louis points out at one point that, because they are putting out so much hate into the world, they are insulating themselves with hate, of course all they see in the world is hate. If you have one shred of compassion for humanity, you could easily fall into the trap of abhorring “The Most Hated Family in America”. And all this will do is continue the cycle.
There is an appropriate place for anger – which can feel like hate, a fiery emotion, explosive, maybe even violent. However, falling into the trap of hate, directing that toward anyone rather than solving it within yourself, allows you to be controlled. Personally, I have found a few things that work to diffuse anger.
· Writing in my journal
· Going for a run, or otherwise expending physical energy
· Being outside
· Talking to a trusted friend
· Focusing on the breath
It is not wrong to feel extreme emotions, just be aware of them so they don’t control you, so you don’t become a victim of hate. There are many reasons to get pulled into a negative spiral if you look around – international news, racist acts in the community, environmental destruction – but if we stay in that negative pattern we won’t be able to get the momentum to do something truly productive, contributing to the healing of hate. Here’s to responsible emotional awareness, raising our vibration together, not hating the haters.
Peace + Love,