Hate is a powerful emotion that is often fueled by other emotions.
A person may hate someone that caused them trauma, direct harm, or negatively affected their well-being.
Sometimes, hate is something learned as a child, where the child is taught through the words and actions of adults.
And still, hate may be something that a person develops much later on from feeling as though they are marginalized or passed over for someone else.
The complicated nature of hate makes it a difficult thing to easily unpack and heal from.
You don’t want to spend your life carrying hate with you because it really only leads down one of two paths…
Either it will fester, disrupting your peace of mind, harmony, and happiness as you watch the person you hate live their life.
Or it can erupt into lashing out through conflict and violence, which is only going to harm you in the long run.
How do you stop hating someone? These steps can help.
1. Understand why you hate the person.
The place to start unraveling your hatred is by asking the question, “Why?”
Why do you hate them?
What did this other person do that caused you to hate them?
Is there a tangible reason that you can articulate why you hate this other person?
Did they wrong you in some specific way?
It’s important to note that there may or may not be a clear and obvious reason.
Many survivors of the ugliness of humanity struggle with feelings of hatred for the people who harmed them.
A child who grows up with a violent parent may find themselves hating that parent for all of the fear, powerlessness, and harm they experienced.
An adult who gets into a terrible car accident because of the negligence of another driver may find themselves hating that person for driving distracted.
Hatred can also be fueled by insecurity, jealousy, envy, or greed.
Perhaps you hate a relative for the success they seemed to easily acquire while you struggle with survival. It’s easy to slip into a mentality of hating other people who may have things better than you do.
Maybe you hate your partner’s friend because you feel distrustful of their friendship. Perhaps their closeness or unique features of their relationship make you feel uncomfortable, and you respond to that discomfort with hatred.
Whatever it is, you need to dig through the situation and honestly identify the “Why?”
2. What if I can’t find a “Why?”
Sometimes we are just too emotionally invested and close to a situation to pull it apart effectively.
It’s possible that whatever hate you’re feeling does not have a direct reason. If that turns out to be the case, it would be best to seek the help of a trained mental health professional.
You’ll need to speak to someone you can be open and honest with. That’s not always possible with friends or family, mainly if they aren’t emotionally intelligent people or tend to talk about your personal business too much.
3. Work on healing the harm that caused the “Why?”
You can make hatred less powerful by healing the emotions that are fueling it. Think of it as depriving a fire of fuel. The less fuel there is, the less hot the fire will burn, the sooner it will go out.
A person who is an abuse survivor will have a lot of emotions to sort through. They may feel inadequate, angry, or sad because of what they experienced.
They may also feel self-conscious, foolish, or mad at themselves for not trying to make a change sooner.
They might have been tricked into believing that they deserved to be abused and need to make peace with the decisions they made while their vision was unclear.
Or maybe the person is looking at a relative that seems to enjoy a lot of easy success despite not doing the right things.
A person who is struggling may feel hateful, insecure, and jealous because they just can’t seem to get ahead, no matter what they do.
It’s easy to dislike a person who appears to be rewarded continuously for doing the wrong things.
By chopping the source of the hatred up into the relevant emotions, you can create a better strategy for resolving each of those emotions.
In turn, that will deprive your fire of the fuel that it needs to keep burning.
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4. Humanize the person that you hate.
It’s easy to build up an image of a person to hate in your mind.
You may not actually know how or why they got to the point where they are inflicting harm on someone else.
You may also be unfairly judging someone’s life that you don’t know as well as you think.
Abusive people often come from abusive backgrounds.
Does that make it okay or absolve them of responsibility for their actions?
What it does do is help us see the human being behind the harm.
Some people grow up in abusive homes and become abusive adults because that’s all they really know. They’re used to the ugliness, the anger, and the violence. That’s what’s normal to them.
They need to make an active effort to realize that the way they are conducting their life is wrong and take steps to change it, but getting to that point can take a long time.
What about that relative who always seems to have an easy time?
They definitely have their problems too. Life isn’t sunshine and rainbows forever. They may have gotten lucky in whatever circumstances they have, but have a complicated personal life that they are quietly struggling with.
It’s frustrating to watch someone be rewarded for doing negative things, but sometimes that’s just how things go.
Do you have any preconceived notions about the person or people you hate that you can challenge?
Anything that you assume to be true that needs to be better explored to determine whether or not it actually is true?
The mind likes to fill in blanks where appropriate, so you may find that the perspective driving your hate may not be correct.
Fixing those perceptions can help realign your perspective.
5. Forgiveness is a journey, not a destination.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool for resolving hatred.
However, forgiveness in this context is not for the benefit of the person that caused the harm. It’s for you to forgive yourself for being human and feeling the ugly feelings that humans sometimes feel.
As you work to resolve the situation that caused and fueled your hatred, you will likely find it pop back up in your mind from time to time.
This is normal.
Each time it happens, you will need to forgive yourself and accept the situation for what it is again.
It’s hard in the beginning, but it does get easier as more time passes, and you keep working on healing those wounds.
Eventually, you’ll find it popping up very rarely, if at all.
Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen overnight. Healing these kinds of wounds is a long journey, one that you are more than capable of making!
6. Do seek professional help if in doubt.
Hatred is an intense emotion that is often fueled by the ugliest experiences of humanity. It is not an easy thing to navigate and may be beyond the scope of self-help.
If you’ve experienced trauma in your life that is causing you to hate the people that caused it, or even just feel lost in making progress, it is a great idea to seek help from a certified mental health professional.