I consider myself a nice and easygoing person. I don’t have enemies. There’s a person in my life though that makes me angry enough to hate them sometimes. What do I do?
We see hatred as this terrible thing, and it’s true that hatred is a really scary human emotion. Why? Because it usually coupled with behavior that’s out of control and dangerous. So if we’re “decent people”, we avoid feeling it and we sure as hell don’t admit it when we do. (So good job admitting it here).
It’s my belief that if we allowed ourselves to feel our difficult emotions, and then we processed them, emotions like hatred wouldn’t be such a big deal. Instead we repress them and that’s where the danger lies. When we repress, we shove the thought or emotion deep into a place in our bodies where it festers and either causes dis-ease or eventually explodes up and out in rage behavior.
In denying ourselves permission to feel things, we subtly insinuate that we are wrong or bad for having the feelings in the first place. Being wrong and bad makes us feel shame and fear, both of which perpetuate self hatred. When we repress our hatred of someone or something, it morphs it into self hatred because somehow, self hatred is more acceptable.
In denying ourselves permission to feel things, we subtly insinuate that we are wrong or bad for having the feelings in the first place.
In order to break that cycle, I propose you let yourself actually feel the hatred you have for this person. Feeling it does not equate to acting it out in any way. There is a difference. When we allow ourself to really inquire into and get acquainted with the feeling of hatred, we enable it to dissipate and break up. It’s through this process that we gain the insight to see what’s causing the hatred in the first place. Hatred is a cover emotion for something that’s even more painful and dangerous to feel like powerlessness, unworthiness and shame.
The next time you feel the hatred for this person arise, try giving yourself permission to let it be there. Give it your attention. What does it feel like in your body? Where do you feel it the most strongly? See if you can describe it in words: “It feels like a hot ball of flames in my chest” Remember to take deep breaths as you’re feeling it. The breathing will help give it space. Once you have a sense of the hatred and can describe it accurately, I want you to go behind it, if you will. What’s really going on? What’s the hatred really about? Remember that we most harshly judge people for doing the things that we do too (and hate ourselves for doing.)
What is this person doing that’s making you hate them so much? Are they being stubborn and unbending? Where are you stubborn and unbending in your own life? Are they making you or someone you love personally responsible for all of their problems? Where in your life are you unaccountable?
That’s the place you want to go. Zero in on those parts of yourself that you deem unacceptable. See them. Let them be there. Give them compassion. Imagine pouring a pitcher of liquid compassion straight down into the core of your body.
Not only will this help you shift your hatred but it will help you move forward in your own process. A repressed emotion equals a dark corner in your soul. Dark corners are ripe for things like secrets, guilt and shame. Every time you’re able to identify a repressed emotion and become aware of it, it’s like shining a light into that corner. Where we have light we find truth. When we find truth, we find the tools necessary to shift.
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