Dealing with Hatred and Intolerance the Right Way Rather than the Easy Way

Alexa and Adam

You can either fall in love or fall in hate.  The choice is yours, but you’ll look a lot better with love on your psyche than hate.

In replying to a recent comment left on an earlier post, Overcoming Hatred and Intolerance with Love and Tolerance, I started thinking about the haters of the world.  As I was reading the comment left  on the post, I have to admit – I felt straight up anger for anyone who would show such hatred toward another person.  The thought of one person treating another with so much hatred that it interfered with their life makes me see red.

Then I stepped back for a minute (out of the red) and realized that anger isn’t the appropriate response.  Pity is.

My husband’s older sister, Mary Catherine, was a hard-working, hilarious, full of life, spirited, fun to be around woman.  She could make some of the best biscuits you ever ate, too!  She loved dogs and ABC soap operas.  She collected elephant figurines and Native American  statues.  She’s also one of the rare people that could hang with me, cup for cup, when drinking coffee.   I respected the heck out of that.

She was also gay.

Sadly, I have to say “was” because she was killed in a mining accident several years back.  The thought of anyone treating her with hatred or intolerance seems unthinkable  to me.  After all, she led her own life and wouldn’t  do anyone any harm –  unless, of course, they harmed one of her dogs.   Then there might have been trouble.   I respected the heck out of that, too.

I just don’t get why people have to involve themselves in what other people do or don’t do.  Come on.  If I can be blunt for a minute:  If you aren’t invited into the bedroom, what does it matter to you what goes on there?!  You can agree or you can disagree with other people’s lifestyles, choices, habits, loves, hates, and so on.  You’ve got that right – just as they can agree or disagree with your’s.

You can like or dislike the way a person looks, dresses, or drinks their tea – just as they can have qualms with your  style or looks.

We’re all different, after all, and we all have our way of doing things.  What’s perfectly beautiful to one person may be a hot mess to another.  Look at the different cultures around the world!  People who expect everyone else to look  just like them bore me to tears.   I’m much more drawn to people who don’t just expect diversity in the world, they insist upon it.

If you experience hatred from others, for whatever reasons, realize that you have two choices:

  1. You can be drug down to the hater’s level.  If you aren’t careful, hatred can rub off on you and.  Then, before you even realize what’s happening, you’ll be just as angry.  You’ll become just as intolerant.  And you’ll be filled with just as much hatred as they are.  Believe me, it won’t look any better on you than it does on them.  No one ever wears hatred well.
  2. You can rise to a level the hater’s will never know.  If you recognize their hatred for what it is (a crippling weakness), and find it within yourself to feel pity for them, you will have experienced the kind of growth that a hater will never know.  Don’t return their scowls with scowls of your own – smile!  Come on, give them the brightest, sweetest smile you have in your arsenal.

There’s a lady who has to be in her 70’s who works at a local candy store in the mall.  My daughters and I spend a ridiculous amount of time at the mall, so I see this lady in action almost daily.  When there are young people in the vicinity, she’ll come to the front of the store and scowl a nasty, hateful scowl.  She drives me nuts.  One day an  adorable little black girl (about 8 or 9) stopped to look at a beanie baby display.  I  slowed my walking down because I kind of suspected what would come next.  Sure enough, here came “Sunshine” practically running to the front of the store, staring the little girl down the whole way.  She didn’t even smile at the child, let alone speak to her.

I have to admit, I preach and teach tolerance and kindness but I was 2  hearbeats away from taking the lady to the side and giving her a piece of my mind!  Just then the little girl’s mom came up and took her daughter’s hand.  She smiled at “Sunshine” and said, “She’s just looking.”   The worker still didn’t say anything.

The worker caught my eye and I gave her an icy look that I hoped pierced her skin.

I felt nothing but anger for the rest of  the afternoon.  Then, I started thinking – she’s the one that lives with that hatred all day and all night.  The little girl only feels it occasionally.  And the mom?  Well, the mom (with patience and understanding most of us couldn’t muster)  obviously learned long ago to rise above haters.  I felt angry FOR them until I realized that they weren’t the victims.  “Sunshine” is the victim.  She’s the one that has to see one of the ugliest things in the world every time she looks in the mirror – hate.

She can never escape herself or her hatred.  She eats breakfast with it, she watches tv with it, she has lunch and dinner with it, and she sleeps with it.  She is most definitely the victim, and I began to feel a little bit sorry for her.   I still wished with all my might that I’d asked her, “How does it feel to have been so completely outclassed?” –  but, I’m trying to feel more tolerance.

As for haters, there’s hope for them too.  If you have any hate at all residing in your heart, recognize it for what it is: POISON.  It’s a poison that will cripple you if you don’t find a way to get rid of it. Set the hatred across from you  at your kitchen table and grill it.  What has it ever done for you?  Where has it gotten you?  What friends has it won you?

What has it cost you?  Has it ruined your reputation?  Would people think of you as a hateful person?

Once you recognize the hatred in your heart, you’ll be well on your way to dealing with it.  Another comment that was left on a different post (A Totally and Completely Free Make-Over), hit the nail on the head.  This post was dealing with being kind to others and treating them as good as you possibly can.  The comment left included this wonderful advice, “My rule of thumb is to never say something you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. I try not to even *think* mocking or rude thoughts about someone…”   She hit it square on the head.  Everything begins in the mind – so if you can stop it in its tracks, chances are it’ll never see the light of day (as in coming out of your pie hole!).

When my girls were little, I’d always teach them the importance of positive thoughts – whether they were about one another, schoolwork, chores, or whatever.  Positive thoughts bring about positive actions and positive words.  The same is true of negative thoughts.  So, take the great advice left in the comments and keep a close eye on your thoughts.

You’ll have far less apologies to make if you do.  And far less “Must Save the World” bloggers wanting to get all kinds of sassy with you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are disrespectful, offensive, or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Dealing with Hatred and Intolerance the Right Way Rather than the Easy Way

  1. There is hatred out there – prejudice, jealousy, gossip, bullying, all so upsetting to the victims. Friends can be a great help and offer comfort and foresight.

    But retaliating may not be wise or helpful and we can review the situation and effects. Who is harmed by our anger and revenge? Will we cause ourselves even more grief when we try to get even?

    Why was the person hateful? There might even be a reason for someone to be mean mannered in past life experiences, upbringing and well, hatred by others.

    Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) put it nicely; “It’s hard to have one’s watch stolen, but one reflects that the thief of the watch became a thief from causes of heredity and environment which are as interesting as they are scientifically comprehensible; and one buys another watch, if not with joy, at any rate with a philosophy that makes bitterness impossible.”
    .-= Grampa Ken – Social Fix´s last blog ..Internet Safety Tips =-.

  2. Of course, the real problems emerge when “haters” merge and either singly or in groups begin to take action based on their hatred. We are seeing far too much of that. And the anti-Islamic, anti gay, anti immigrant hate groups have gone far beyond what we can just ignore and rise above. The causes: ingorance, peer pressure, fear of change, whatever they may be need to be addressed. Leaving those who hate on this level alone in their misery doesn’t seem to stop it, nor does feeding it with media attention. Even teaching the truth in classrooms engenders legislation efforts in Arizona and Texas and those making public statements against it are labeled left wing liberals. It’s a scary time..