Thursday, 27 December 2007

Too much hatred

I find it almost impossible to hate people, to be jealous of them, or to hold grudges. I think I've only actively hated two people in my life, and then only while they actually had something to do with me.

My father was a terrible grudge-holder. He would remember objectionable things I had done indefinitely, and never failed to bring them up when he wanted to get the better of me.

I've known people who could happily rage all day about the umpteen people and things they loathed with a vengeance. Everything seemed to arouse their teeming enmity - work colleagues, flatmates, relatives, overdue buses, stray dogs. I just don't know how they kept up the non-stop vitriol.

But I seldom nurse resentments against people. Partly because it's a terrible waste of emotional energy and partly because I give them the benefit of the doubt. If someone's done something nasty to me, I assume it's not personal but just due to a character quirk or some private difficulty that's upsetting them.

Some people think I'm too charitable and that unpleasantness shouldn't be excused so easily, but I don't like rushing into harsh judgments. I know I'm capable of being unintentionally rude or insensitive myself if I'm under stress or just not thinking properly. Those who live in glass houses....

As for those who conceive festering hatreds for people they've never even met, like celebrities or politicians or civil servants, where does this well of venom come from? Why this desperate need to mentally tear someone to pieces? All that sour, bitter emotion must taint their whole personality.

And I won't even start on all the burning religious hatreds that destroy whole communities and countries and are practically impossible to quench once they let rip. It's frightening how the smallest seed of hatred can rapidly grow into something monstrous and uncontrollable. I'm just glad I'm not prone to this tempting vice.


  1. Nick, I agree. Why hold onto hate when the only person it damages is yourself? My dad held onto grudges too.

    I don't bear huge grudges although I do harbour teeny weeny antisocial fantasies of getting my own back on people who have pissed me off.

  2. I don't even do revenge fantasies - though perhaps I should, it doesn't cause any actual harm after all. I must admit I took a devilish glee in an obnoxious former boss getting burgled.

  3. "Expect the worst, hope for the best" is generally how I go about living. I try not to invest too much energy into hating assholes. It sounds like new age crap but I do like to remind myself that I can't control other people, I can only control how I respond to them.

  4. Re control: very sound principle. But it's amazing how many people think they CAN control others. Usually the same people who can't control their own inane behaviour.

  5. I'm glad you are not, too. You are one lone voice of sanity in an increasingly deranged and angry world.

    I wonder, too, where so much festering enmity comes from. We are all walking wounded in one way or another, but spending our precious and limited energy on destroying others just keeps us all a bit further from the peaceful world most of us crave.

  6. Just found you today. I think the culture teaches people that everything is about the individual.. so consequently, all actions and reactions must be about us as individuals.

    There was a saying.. I can't recall *who* said it at the moment.. that if we knew how little people actually think about us, we'd be surprised.

    As you said, most things are not about us at all.

  7. Heart - I hope there's more than just one lone voice! You're right, our energy is precious and limited and we should use it wisely.

    Chani - Hiya! That's true, so much of our culture stresses the individual and that's why some people can't empathise with others and wind up hating them instead.

  8. Nick I wish I was more like you...I do detest groups of people but very rarely individuals....If I fall out with someone though I am usually the one trying to put thing right no matter who was to blame. That came with age....It is far easier to be happy than really really is....

  9. I'm sure you realize how lucky you are not to be dragged down by the weight of anger.

    I think anger is so prevalent because in general, folks are pissed off about the nature of Life, period.

    Life is frightening, unpredictable, monotonous, mundane, and just downright uncomfortable a lot of the times.

    Most folks are not really living, either. They are simply playing a role (which they've confused for their identity) and their actions ( far from being borne of pleasure) are done mainly out of obligation and what others 'expect' of them.

    Of course, folks are angry. If you were merely playing a role-- as opposed to genuinely living as you were meant to do--wouldn't you be angry, too?

    Hehehe. Great post, by the way.

  10. Ah, I know what you mean about trying to put things right. I'm a habitual peace-maker myself - I can't stand fights and bust-ups, they really distress me. At work it's always me trying to smooth the ruffled feathers. And I might detest a group for as long as I'm passing them (like drunken louts) but then they're forgotten.

  11. Oops, that last comment was for Manuel! DMB - I should have mentioned I was strongly influenced by my maternal gran - she said to me one day "You don't want to grow up bad-tempered like your father". And I didn't. Yes, life is scary and frustrating all right but I try not to take out my frustration on others. Have to admit I think I role-play a lot, I often just don't have the courage to say and do what I really believe. I'm afraid of causing the fights and bust-ups I just referred to.

  12. I'm with you on the no hate thing- I have never and hopefully will never hate anyone.

  13. Good for you. What's the point of all that wasted energy - does it ever achieve anything?

  14. Hi Nick,
    thanks for the festive greeting. I have not stopped reading your blog and tried to post this morning but realised I'd forgotten yet another blog password!
    I too love Grayson Perry ceramics.

  15. Big hi after all this time, Bel! Hope you sort out the technical problems and you can give us an update on what you've been up to post-Vancouver.

  16. Hi Nick,

    This is very timely in light of recent events in Pakistan.

    I feel defeated when I harbor anger or hatred toward someone, for me the ability to analyze my moment of anger and then to move on is a gift of maturity.

    Unfortunately to some hatred like nectar; they get all of their emotional nourishment from anger and hatred. Love is lost on them.

  17. I guess that's true, MDC, some people have been taught through a very defective upbringing to get their emotional fulfillment from hatred rather than love. Very sad. And once that pattern is established, it's very diifficult to change.

  18. I'm with you on this one Nick, I try not to harbour grudges as I so dislike someone living rent-free in my head!
    I also don't personalize others' behaviours, it is their baggage and not mine if they start to whale at me.
    The only exception is when I'm driving. I curse and swear far far too much and personalize every action taken by other drivers.
    Well, we all need something to work on and I've just finished 3000 KM to Toronto from NL and at times the air was distinctly blue.....not perfect by a long shot yet!!!!

  19. WWW, that's a wonderful way of looking at it - having someone else rent-free permanently in your head! Who needs them there? And that's right, so often it's just other people's private baggage, nothing to do with oneself at all. I'm sure the road cursing is an essential safety valve - we've all got to let off steam somehow! Have fun in Toronto.