It is often said that holding on to hatred is like drinking poison in the hopes that another person will die. We see examples of people letting go of hatred and offering forgiveness throughout history, including Pope John Paul II’s forgiving his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca after Agca shot and nearly killed the Pope in 1981. Still, conquering our anger and hatred for another person is one of the most difficult tasks that we can undertake. It is difficult to follow the example of a man who is on a path to sainthood when our own emotions are boiling over with hatred for a person who caused grievous harm or injury to us or our families. Learn why it’s important that you don’t carry hate in your heart.
How Hatred and Anger Work
Hatred and anger may have valid places and purposes in our quiver of emotions. When we develop feelings of hatred toward a person or situation, we use those feelings to rationalize our moral superiority or to overcome anxiety and vulnerability. Anger that morphs into hatred may be a stage in our grieving over a situation that we perceive to be unfair. Feelings of hatred can be cathartic when they allow us to vent frustrations or other pent-up emotions. Yet in all cases, hatred is a negative emotion that can be caustic and dangerous to ourselves if we are unable to let it go.
Learning to Let Go of Hate
One step toward letting go of our hatred of a person is to separate the qualities that give rise to feelings of hatred from the person himself. The common cliche is that we should love the sinner but hate the sin. Allowing yourself to feel love or appreciation for a person’s humanity will foster your ability to separate out qualities which make that person hateful in your eyes. Compartmentalizing those hateful qualities might allow you to empathize with the person and to gain a better understanding of the forces that created those qualities in the first place.
If you are unable to focus on the better qualities of a person or situation that gives rise to your feelings of hatred, turn your attention back to yourself and try to appreciate the good things in your life. Your hatred may arise from deep feelings of jealousy or envy. Comparing yourself to someone else deprives you of any ability to enjoy your own gifts and graces.
How Hatred Fuels Addiction
One of the real dangers of holding on to your hatred is a potential loss of your rationality and reasoning. Chronic anger may push you to irrational extremes that are reflected in the adage, “don’t get mad, get even.” Young people who profess to hate their parents lash out and react in ways that drive them to drugs or alcohol as they attempt to make themselves feel good.
Adults who perceive that they have suffered slights or prejudice at the hands of someone else might also use substances to ease their perceived pain. Revenge, drugs, and alcohol are artificial and temporary salves that mask your hatred without giving you any mechanisms to overcome it. If you hold on to your hatred and sink deeper into a pit of hatred and despair, alcohol and drugs will inevitably take control of your life and deprive you of any ability to let go of hatred and any other negative emotions.
Don’t Carry Hate in Your Heart: Get Help Instead
Hatred is a powerful negative emotion that everyone feels and experiences throughout their lives. If you feel that your hatred for someone or something is taking control of your life and you are unable to overcome your negative feelings, please contact the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin at 877-892-7997. We offer addiction treatment programs and support that will help you to understand and accept the source of your hatred, and to move forward in a way that you don’t carry hate in your heart.