Resisting Hate

As I explore demonizing in myself and others, I have noticed an odd phenomena occurring in conversations, especially those of a political nature. I notice my own tendency to condemn hate that I have witnessed in a political figure, which is followed by my own version of hate for that very figure. In essence, I become a contradiction: Their hate is bad, mine is justified.

I recently elaborated these thoughts below, intended to confront this contradiction in the reader. Unlike most of my writing, this article’s perspective is less about sharing my own experience, and more inviting others to check in with their own. I hope you find it illuminating for your own self-awareness and self-understanding.

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As long as hate is misunderstood and mis-rewarded as a sign of strength, it will continue.

And as long as we as individuals meet hate in the world with our own hate, it will continue around us.

We can tell ourselves that our hate is justified when intended to squash a hate we consider unjustified. This is a form of blind righteousness.

When you see what appears to be the harbinger of hate, your first impulse might be to hate MORE in return, as if to overcome the hate you disagree with. As if hate is a power that accomplishes useful ends on its own, which it never has been.

How do you assess when hate is at play in yourself? One way is when you cannot see the humanity in the person you’ve made out to be a monster.

If I meet what appears to be your hatred with mine, we go to some version of war—physically, verbally, emotionally, financially. Whether that be between countries, between groups, or between individuals.

Do you wish to hold others accountable for their mishandling of hate? Do you hate others when you see them acting out of hate?

Start by the only hate you have control over—your own.

Do you believe that when a public figure displays hatred, that you are justified in hating them?

Do you hold your hate as somehow different than theirs—what makes it so?

Would you be willing to hold yourself to the same standard that you hold them to?

As compared to the public figure, when you hate on your scale of living it’s no different, it is just a smaller sphere of influence—whether that be the driver that cuts you off in traffic, the customer service rep that isn’t refunding your money, the roommate who won’t do their dishes.

How is the public figure’s hatred wrong and yours righteous? They are different scales of influence, for certain. But your hate is just as poisonous.

Hate is hate, no matter the scale.

We fool ourselves into thinking that hating something we determine as “bad” or “wrong” gives us the fuel to overcome it. In some ways this is true. Hate is an excellent reminder of what we value. But if our hate is at the expense of another’s humanity and our respect for them, then it is more disease than solution.

What does hatred achieve? What hatred of yours has ever been appreciated by another as an invitation to change their mind and see things your way?

Nobody likes to be forced to change. The conditions needed to influence another’s mind include open hearts—yours and theirs. If you force someone to change, that is not bravery on your part—it is a form of manipulation.

Your attachment to another’s changing is a subtle form of hate—hating who they are now, hating what they believe.

Do you wish for other’s to see things your way? If so, then see how your hatred blinds you from the possibility of being understood.

When you get into arguments with people from different political viewpoints, what subtle or overt form of hatred has ever accomplished the goal of winning their hearts and minds?

Hate does not invite, hate rejects.

Hate wants to prove a point without concern for the dignity of the other.

Is your goal to win the argument or to influence someone? Can you see that you can “win” an argument and also accomplish nothing other than feeding your own sense of righteousness? That is not a win, after all, because nothing has changed.

Hate is like a demon ready to enter any of us who will take him.

Hate is elusive because when you wear him, he does not feel like hate—he feels like power. As soon as you feel justified in using him, you can be assured that in response to you, he will be looking to inhabit the one you call “enemy”.

Your hate against their hate—which hate wins?

The answer is simple. Hate is not capable of winning. Hate is only capable of sowing the seeds for future acts of hate in retaliation.

You do not need to “understand” what motivates someone appearing hateful in order to resist hating them. You need to understand why you continue to reach for hate in response.


I wish to live in a world that respects hate as a lethal drug. In small doses it seems to propel us into actions that we otherwise shy away from. We fool ourselves into calling it ‘bravery’.

I do not hate those who hate. I see them as addicts. And those with an addiction I do not see as those that must be locked up and discarded or punished.

I see those who hate as having a disease that they have not been able, or willing, to diagnose.

Hate is hard to see in yourself until you see others who resist the bait that hate offers them. When resisting hatred becomes a common practice, it will become easier for all of us to resist hating.

That said, do you want to wait until it’s commonplace or do you want to help propel others into that new reality by being a pioneer?

We don’t resist hating because it’s easy. We resist hating because it is what needs to be done.

When someone hands you hate, can you resist the temptation to hate in return?

If you cannot, acknowledge that you are an addict like so many others. Acknowledge that your hate has only appeared to fill the void in your desire to feel your own power.

Hate will never bring you personal power, unless it is transformed from a violent tendency into something else. Unless you are transforming your hate in a way that simultaneously acknowledges the value and beauty of living beings. Every one of them.

When hate appears in my heart, my practice is to meet hatred in others with something other than only hate in return. I aim to marry hate with compassion so that neither must stand alone.

I fall. I get back up. I hate. I resist. I humanize the “other”. I hate them. I try again, and again, and again.

I know that when I do NOT practice this, I feel like a coward—because hate is easy. Hate is cheap.

I know that when I do practice this, I address the addiction of hate with a balm that offers something other than a war between countries, groups, and individuals. I know that when I find another way, I experience power because I’ve released myself from the grip of hate.

When I take responsibility for my hate, I help to create a future where war is obsolete. Yes. Just one interaction, one moment at a time.

Are you willing to take responsibility for your hate?

Are you willing to hold yourself accountable to what your hate begets around you?

Are you willing to resist meeting one brand of hatred with your own brand of hatred?

Are you willing to see your hatred as no better than another’s hatred?

Whatever you choose, I respect your choice.

And if you choose not to hate, I will NOT reward you. If you choose not to hate, I trust you will do so out of a desire to be in integrity with yourself.

Let that be enough.

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PS: I’ve created a page of resources for those curious about how to resist hate more effectively.

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