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My stepkids get a bit upset when I ask them not to use the word "hate" when they talk about other people.  "The word's too strong," I tell them, "and it means too much that you don't really want to say."

"But I don't mean that I really 'hate' them," is the typical response that I hear.

"Then you don't need to use that word, do you?"  I ask.  The usual response to this comment is "whatever," the same response that we hear to many different situations.  I try to make a point of letting them know that at least to some people, casual use of words such as "hate" aren't acceptable in most situations.  Most people don't care, but I do -- hatred is a quality that's always destructive, never helpful or constructive, and always unpleasant.

Hatred leads us to do or say things that we normally wouldn't say because they go against that important inner voice, our conscience.  Hatred blinds us to the good and keeps us focusing on the bad, no matter what another person or other persons may be doing.  If we hate, a person could save a family from a burning house, and we would still see the actions as self-serving -- we could even accuse the person of saving the family because he or she wanted the glory of being a hero.

When we hate, our blindness leads us to commit acts that destroy -- they can destroy friendships, business deals, relationships, even human lives.  

The terrorist attacks of September, 2001, were a strong example of the results of hatred; the people who committed those acts were so caught up in their hatred that they could think only of destruction and causing pain and damage.  In all the training that they received, their hatred was constantly reinforced by other people who hated the same "enemy," because those people who taught them knew the value of hatred in getting someone to do something that they normally wouldn't even consider.

When we hate, we destroy our own happiness and love of life.  Our focus is constantly on the negative aspects that we see in another person or group of people.  We focus on some sort of "wrong" that was done to us so strongly that the right and the beautiful that surround us every day become clouded and dim, even invisible, and that's completely our doing -- the people we hate have nothing to do with it.  We choose to focus so strongly on what we choose to hate that we give up the possibility of helping ourselves by focusing on what is good.

Hatred is a choice, a choice made due to weakness, due usually to a feeling of powerlessness.  We choose an object of hatred because of our own perceived lack of power, whether we truly are powerless or not.  This object of hatred makes us feel "good" in a warped way -- our hatred gives us a sense of righteousness, a sense of power over those we hate.  But peace of mind, compassion, and acceptance can do the same thing, only in a positive, constructive way rather than in a negative, destructive way.

Do you hate?  You shouldn't, for it's hurting you.  It's holding you back and keeping you down, and ironically, those you hate probably don't even know about your hatred or aren't letting it get to them, so you're hurting yourself without even accomplishing what you hope to accomplish.  Let go of the hatred, for you don't deserve the kind of pain it's causing you, and you'll love the feeling of freedom that comes when you're able to live your life without it.

Humans can be the most affectionate and altruistic of creatures,
yet they're potentially more vicious than any other.  They are
the only ones who can be persuaded to hate millions of their own kind
whom they have never seen and to kill as many as they can lay their hands on
in the name of their tribe or their God.

Benjamin Spock

Hate and fear breed a poison in the blood, which if continued, affects
eyes, ears, nose and the organs of digestion.  Therefore, it is not wise to
hear and remember the unkind things others might say about you.



We may fight against what is wrong, but if we allow ourselves to hate,
that is to insure our spiritual defeat and our likeness to what we hate.

George William Russell



I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly
is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin


When you hear a person say, "I hate," adding the name of some
race, nation, religion, or social class, you are dealing with a
belated mind.  That person may dress like a modern, ride in
an automobile, listen to the radio, but his or her mind is
properly dated about 1000 B.C.

Harry Emerson Fosdick


Hatred toward any human being cannot exist
in the same heart as love to God.

Dean William Inge


Hatred, I consider, is just a standing reproach to the hated
person, and owes all its meaning to a demand for love.

Ian Suttie


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There is no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling
as moral indignation, which permits hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.

George J. Nathan

I will permit no person to narrow and degrade my soul
by making me hate him or her.

Booker T. Washington


When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us:
power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health,
and our happiness.  Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew
how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us!
Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning
our days and nights into a hellish turmoil.

Dale Carnegie


Articles and book excerpts on hatred:

An Open Letter to Limp Bizkit      tom walsh

Life is full of painful events, and people who have lost their way and hurt others.
Our pain is not lessened when we respond with hatred.  In fact, the opposite
occurs:  When we hate people who hurt us, we come to resemble what we hate,
or worse, and then we suffer all the more.  What is evil is our response.
We have choices, and love is the most powerful eliminator of all.

Bernie Siegel

I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only
answer to humankind's problems.  I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs
in the South.  I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many
White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because
every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their
personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear.  I have
decided to love.  If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it
through love.  Those who hate do not know God, but those who love
have the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


If I wanted to punish an enemy it should be by fastening
on him or her the trouble of constantly hating somebody.

Hannah More


I make it a practice to avoid hating anyone.  If someone's been guilty of
despicable actions, especially toward me, I try to forget him or her.  I used
to follow a practice--somewhat contrived, I admit--to write the person's name
on a piece of scrap paper, drop it into the lowest drawer of my desk, and say
to myself:  "That finishes the incident, and so far as I'm concerned, that person."
   The drawer became over the years a sort of private wastebasket for
crumpled-up spite and discarded personalities.  Besides, it seemed to be
effective, and helped me avoid harboring useless black feelings.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

What if someone hurts you with a weapon?  Wait.  Think it over.
You probably feel angry.  That's normal.  But wasn't it the stick
striking your body that hurt you?  Can you be angry at the stick?
Of course not.  Should you be angry at the wielder of the stick?
Wouldn't it make more sense to be angry at the hatred in the mind
of the stick wielder?  If you think about it, isn't the end of hatred
in the world what you want most of all?  Why, then, would you
add to it by giving energy to your anger?  After all, it will pass on
its own if left alone, especially if you respond to it with compassion.

Sylvia Boorstein


If you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind
that it will break out upon those who are your friends,
or those who are indifferent to you.


It is dangerous and harmful to be guided in our life's course by hatreds
and aversions, for they are wasteful of energy and limit
and twist the mind and prevent it from perceiving the truth.

Jawaharlal Nehru

If you hate a person, you hate something in him or her that is part
of yourself.  What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

Hermann Hesse


Hatred is the vice of narrow souls; they feed it with all
their littleness, and make it the pretext of base tyrannies.

Honore de Balzac


Hate smolders and eventually destroys, not the hated but the hater.

Dorothy Thompson


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Meet hatred with hatred and you degrade yourself.  Meet hatred
with love and you not only elevate yourself but
also the person who bears you hatred.

Ralph Waldo Trine

Hate gets going, it goes round, it gets older and tighter and older
and tighter, until it holds a person inside it like a fist holds a stick.

Ursula K. LeGuin


Hatred cannot last unless it is continuously nourished and stimulated.

Edmund A. Brasset

Hate is a form of corruption.  It comes from fear, and fear happens
when you live in your mind.  I believe when you hate others, you hate
yourself and your life.  When you stop hating yourself, you will not hate
others—you will understand them.  When you love yourself,
you become able to love another.

Bernie Siegel
No Endings, Only Beginnings


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When Walker first steps onto the road, he has no thoughts, no history, no memories, and no clothes. As he travels and meets people and learns from them, he comes to know more about life, living, and becoming the person he's meant to be. Walker is a parable for all of us who wonder what might be the purpose of life, why bad things happen with almost as much regularity as good things, and how we can learn from the bad examples and experiences in our lives as much as we can learn from the good things. Tom Walsh's parable is a story of the ages, a timeless exploration of ideas and thoughts that all of us wonder about, a sincere and heartfelt portrait of a man who has no past and no future, but who learns to make the most of each precious present moment as it comes.



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