[Caveat: All of my observations, or essays, however dubbed, are simply reflections on lessons that life has taught me, which I pass along to my loved ones and to any others who choose to read them. I make no claim to prescience, wisdom or mastery of any of these life-lessons. They simply reflect goals to which I still aspire.]
I could wish nothing worse on my enemy than that he hate someone. Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)
Think of the profundity of that statement: There is NOTHING worse for any of us than to allow the feeling of hatred to exist within us. It is surely a consumptive, acidic element that can stimulate all manner of physical and mental diseases, anguish and premature demise.
While dictionaries are not equal, and different definitions abound, as to hate, I prefer Merriam Webster’s definition:
Hate, abhor, detest, abominate, loathe…imply an emotional aversion often coupled with enmity or malice (hatred with passion)… violent antipathy…shuddering repugnance…all forms of violence…”
Hatred, thus defined, leads to "all forms of violence", and violence solves nothing. Hatred is by far the leading strychnine poison of the mind and, hence, body. If we wish to be ill, just unreservedly hate.
My mother saw the word “hate” as mental poison, and she felt so strongly about it that she forbid us to use the word – and we learned never to say it, and that conscious rejection helped diminish the presence of the thought, a win-win. We were allowed to say “dislike” or “intensely dislike”, but we were not allowed to say (hence think for long) the word “hate”. What a wonderful rule that was! No surprise, to this day, I eschew that truculent word – and. hence, that thought! My mother’s aversion to hate has been echoed by far too many to exhaust here.
I will permit no man to degrade my soul by making me hate him. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
How well conceived and said. What a thought: Hatred = degrading our own souls! Who would do that? We must not give anyone the power over us to make us hate them.
What motivates hatred?
Whom they have injured they must also hate. Seneca (4BC-65AD)
When someone injures us, to salve their own guilt, they may grow to hate us. The irony is that hate (like jealousy and anger) injures that perpetrator of hatred far more than it does the object of the hatred.
In truth, those who hate others hate themselves even more. Mistakenly, the Hater expects relief from hating others, but evil never begets good. Hatred of others is, above else, an admission of self-hate. Happily for the objects of hatred,
Evil cannot enter a mind already full.
That is, the best antidote for hatred is a mind already full of good thoughts. “Love conquers all,” as Sophocles, Virgil and Chaucer taught us; Love can be our warrior to defeat Satanic Hate. This is not Pollyanna-thinking; love is stronger than hate; in the end, hate exhausts its own fires, while love circulates with the ease of a summer breeze.
To continuously ban hate from our psyche is reason sufficient to make sure that our minds remain full of positive thoughts.
When people hate, they often seek “revenge” for something, often some wrong of their own creation, and revenge, like hate, destroys its perpetrator and also self-destructs in time. Revenge is hate's corollary and pernicious companion.
An eye for an eye makes us all blind. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Revenge is a zero sum game. No one wins by taking revenge, because the would-be last offense must always be revenged; thus, reciprocal revenge can never end. The greatest writer, who ever lived, Shakespeare, described it best in his immortal Romeo and Juliet. The irony is that this gripping “tale” of love and hate was based on an actual event (which Shakespeare uncovered in a much-tattered news report) that had occurred then some 200 years prior, in the 1300’s, in magical Verona, Italy, where he set his play. Indeed, Juliet’s house remains open as a museum to this day; my wife and I once visited it. As we walked through it and admired Juliet’s balcony, we recalled Romeo’s words, “Heaven is here, where Juliet lives.” Somehow the structure still projects their haunting memories.
As all know, these once real-life Montague’s and Capulet’s were bitter enemies, and had been engaged in revengeful acts on each other for generations. Their ultimate punishment was the inadvertent, joint suicide of their greatest joys: the winsome Romeo Montague and his ravishing child bride, Juliet Capulet, an ironic “revenge” by both families, each on the other, their mutual revenges thus backfiring in the worst possible way. The efficacy of revenge was never better illustrated than in Romeo and Juliet, the most heart-wrenching, real-life tragedy ever wrought in literature. The Divine Bard released his sobbing audience with these final tear-stained words:
A glooming peace this morning with it brings, The Sunne for sorrow will not shew his head; Go hence, to have no more talke of these sad things… For never was a Storie of more Wo, Then this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Born in hatred, revenge brooks no happiness, grants no mercy, takes no prisoners, spares no innocents, and affords no relief or lasting satisfaction to anyone -- including those who initiate it. Revenge consumes all participants like the raging cancer that it is. There is only one cure for this emotion: We must never seek revenge, period! In self-defense, we must reject revengeful thoughts immediately and move on. (More thoughts, and concrete ways to fight this Evil Quartet, are set forth in my E-Book on Amazon, Happiness in Seven Steps.)
Anger, Jealousy, Hatred and Revenge are truly the lethal Four Horsemen of Life, each of which can undo us, and all of which seem eerily connected, almost like falling dominos, each being a death knoll to our happiness. Only our vigilant, daily refusals to permit such thoughts to linger, and our swift substitution of positives, can protect us from them. Mastering these four negative emotions is literally a matter of life and death. The Good Book often offers dispositive guidance:
Love thy enemies. Matthew 1:4