If you ever listen to people converse, the word hate comes up more often that you would think. “I hate Brussels sprouts!” Or maybe even, “Oh, I hate when that happens!” We even us the word hate to describe how we feel about projects at work, boring tasks, wasteful elements in our lives AND how we feel about our appearance. We use the word hate to describe our intense or emotion charged dislikes, never realizing that the word hate has a powerful and damaging presence. Using that word programs us to react a certain way to the things it describes even when that emotion no longer applies.
“I hate you” is a VERY powerful way to dismiss, remove or end things. Or “I hate those people”…fill in the blank about who those people are when we use the word hate we are giving ourselves an emotional way to describe how we are feeling, when hate may not actually be the emotion we are trying to communicate. Yet hate is the only word we know that provides some semblance of drastic, angry, get out of my face and never come back emotions, so we keep using it. Hate is final, dramatic, repulsive and cruel.
Envy, greed, chaos, rejection, loss, going without or avoiding all together – they all serve as a preamble for hate. When we use the word hate to describe the everyday it no longer remains an emotion we avoid. Hating is now acceptable and eventually bleeds into our attitudes, our actions, our thoughts about ourselves and others with the power to determine our choices in how we treat everything. Hating people becomes the same phrase as hating broccoli or being late. Hating groups becomes easy because we already use that word to “hate” one person. And before we know it we hate often, easily and without thought. And what was once a word, or simple descriptor becomes a gut wrenching reaction to public events, unknown groups, demographics and statistics used to combine people AND eventually shows up in our actions. We yell, we scream, we have allowed our hate to escalate to more than just situations or vegetables, it is now the way we naturally react to “X”…fill in the X with anything, and it gets hated.
Maybe instead of teaching our children not to hate, we need to teach them better words for expressing their strong emotions WITHOUT using the word hate. We need find ways to let them leave the word hate for extremes…and the extremes we do not want them to experience. By altering our poor use of the English language, by finding better ways to express frustration, envy, greed and feeling used or wrong – instead of using the word hate – we help prevent the dilution of hate and reserve it for the things we should hate – poverty, prejudice, fear, manipulation or even people hurting other people. “I do not like broccoli” could work just as well and leave hate out of it all together. It may not get the reaction you want, yet it communicates the message clearly…stop feeding me broccoli!
Let us keep the word hate on the shelf. Let it be a one time word, the one we hear and wince, gasp and even fear because once hate is out in the open it has the power to bring darkness to everything it touches. When we know how to tell people to stop, or how much we dislike by using some word other than hate, we have the power to converse reasonably, positively, and with hope that our language will indeed influence our actions. Broccoli and boring aside, hate is the one word we want to conquer before it conquers us.