I hate people.
No, you don’t. Or, maybe you think you do. If you are a member of the group known as “people haters,” may I ask you a question?
Can you hate people and love yourself?
I am not judging. This question comes from a place of love and curiosity because I am a recovering people-hater. Many times I have let the phrase, I hate people, roll off my tongue. It’s usually because I woke up on the wrong side of happy. Other times I may have found myself repeating this mantra because someone cut me off at a stoplight, let a door slam in my face, or even looked at me the wrong way. Saying that I hated people became as natural as breathing.
I made the decision to mindfully stop my people-hating habit because friends and loved ones around me were starting to get a vibe from me that wasn’t the authentic me. They would say things like, “I know you don’t like people, but I’m having this party. . . “ Or, the conversations would be, “I’m having a get together, but I know you don’t like being around people.”
What? I like parties. I like get-togethers. I like to be included. Don’t we all? Was I really emitting such a hateful stench? Even my kids were repeating the hatred mantra. What did I create? I believe in raising beautiful souls who walk with empathy and consideration – not hatred. Yet, I felt that’s exactly what I did. Which made me consider this question:
How much are we really loving ourselves if we’re filled with so much loathing and annoyance for others?
Because, let’s be honest, most often we don’t hate the people. We hate their behaviors, and I’m quite sure that we all have exhibited less than perfect behaviors in the past. So, aren’t we really just hating ourselves?
There’s a trend on the internet (oh, the internet – you challenge me so much!) of articles that talk about hating people. I recently read an article written by a mom who said she hated people because she felt judged for not always doing the right thing. She felt judged by all these “self-help” articles and blogs that made her parenting skills look subpar. I know that some of these articles can trigger feelings of worthlessness, can create an unhealthy environment of comparison, and, if you’re in a bad place, it can send you even deeper into that bad place. It’s easy for us to tell people what they should do and what you would do. It’s just as easy for us to tell ourselves what we should do to live up to other’s standards of worthiness. Those are judgement words that have no place in fostering loving relationships with others or building a loving relationship with yourself.
How do we walk through each day letting annoyances roll off our backs so we can move with love and understanding?
I’m going to share some of the mindful tools I’ve used to help me in my journey to love more and hate less. Maybe you’re already doing these things. These suggestions are merely that – suggestions. Not things you should be doing because we must all come to our truths on our own paths.
Helping others is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life. When I give my time and my energy for a cause that is close to my heart, I am generating happiness from the inside out. I have one rule for myself about volunteering. For it to be an effective soul-enhancing experience, it must be something I want to do. So many people feel coerced into volunteering for anything and everything. Guilt is a powerful captor. If you feel guilt or forced to do something, it’s not going to make your feelings of hatred and disgust dissolve. It will have the opposite effect. Before I volunteer for anything I mindfully consider how the experience will have a positive effect on myself as well as others.
Unplug and Recharge
Let’s talk about the online world again. It’s this parallel universe where the worst aspects of people are highlighted and encouraged. So many arguments begin online in comment streams that often escalate into rounds of name calling and threats. The internet has the potential to be all-encompassing in terms of information and connection, yet I feel it’s so suffocating. When I am away from my phone or computer for hours at a time each day (and I don’t mean those sleeping hours), I feel better amount myself, better about the world, and I love people once again. There are friendly, smiling faces everywhere I go, when I’m willing to look up from my screen.
Haters live on the internet. Lovers live in the physical world. I know which place I prefer.
Learn People’s Stories
I believe that disconnection leads to apathy. I feel that many people fall into the people-hating cycle because we’ve stopped treating people like people, but like objects. Objects don’t have feelings. People do. People have stories. There are reasons that they are hurting. There are reasons they are acting out. I’m not advocating excusing poor or hurtful behavior. I try to take a mindful approach to figure out why people act the way they do. I seek out their stories and I try to listen.
Learning how to love people instead of dismissing them with a hateful attitude is hard. I feel we’re conditioned to be cynical and distrustful. Even though I believe I’ve come a long way from the hater that I was, I still struggle with seeing things from a perspective of love sometimes. It’s a journey, my friends. Let’s be mindful of our thoughts and create a collective experience of love, healing, and understanding. Until next time. . .
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