Published On: 08/11/20226.3 min read

Has it ever happened to you to see someone for the first time, randomly, on the street or in a bar, and have this negative feeling towards them? That general negative feeling was about you and you only. I’ll explain why that’s happening in a second. But first, let’s explore a bit what makes you hate others.

And before starting, I want to mention that I know hate is a strong word, but I’ll use it to generally define any negative feeling you may feel towards someone.

How do we end up hating someone?

I guess it comes down to beliefs, expectations, and emotion regulation.

First: beliefs

Your beliefs, compared to your values, are contextual. You may believe that people should never lie when they are in a church or when they are speaking to a police officer, but give people the chance to lie so they won’t hurt someone close to them.

That’s a belief.

It would be a value if you would think that people should never lie, no matter what context.

Second: expectations

When you believe people should never lie and they do, that’s when your expectations aren’t met. Right?

And the more people are doing something that’s at the opposite pole of your expectations, the more you’re inclined to develop negative thoughts and emotions towards them.

Third: emotion regulation

If people lie to you even though you told them you don’t lie being lied to, you start experiencing the negative feeling behind the lies you’ve been told.

The ability to regulate your emotions is the way you manage the emotional experience you’re going through.

This being said, when people act against your expectations (that are generated by your beliefs) and you can’t regulate the resulting negative feeling, you end up hating people. The more it happens, the more intense the hatred will feel.

The way you look at others through your past experiences

Your beliefs are part of your past experiences.

For a second, imagine that you’ve been lied to as a child. Your parents would almost all the time lie to you, hoping that those lies will set you straight. Your friends would almost always lie to you, having fun with how gullible you were. Your teachers would lie to you every time they had the chance so they convince you to learn all the things, even though you may not need to know them.

It happened so much that now, as an adult, you hate lies. You hate them so much, you can’t trust anyone.

All these lies that you’ve experienced as a child made you look at people through a very different set of glasses. You don’t trust anyone and, in order to trust someone, you create all these tests in order to see who’s worthy of your trust. And you’re doing it so much that it changes the way others see you.

Because you’ve been lied your whole childhood, now you see everyone around you with a lot of skepticism.

Everyone else exists based on the perception you have of them

Right now, when I’m writing this article, I’m in Velo Coffee (a place in Brasov – look it up on Google Maps).

If you would come inside right now and see me, your mind would generate various thoughts based on what you see when you look at me.

I’m wearing a navy hoodie, I’m with my AirPods in my ears, and staring at my MacBook. I have my legs crossed and from time to time I take a sip from my orange juice. When you see me, your mind automatically starts thinking and sends you a lot of thoughts about me based on your past experiences.

Without your thoughts, I would not exist. Your mind is creating me and it’s what gives me life. Your mind feels the need to acknowledge me so it can understand, before anything else, if I’m a threat or not.

Your mind doesn’t see the spider in the corner of the room because it’s a detail so small that it can’t notice. Instead, something that’s as visible as another human being is immediately put into context and analyzed fully in a matter of seconds by your subconscious mind.

And then, your mind draws a line and comes up with something as simple as ‘look at this dude’, ‘I’m not alone here’, or it can be something more detailed like ‘will I bother this person if I sit in the other side of the coffee shop?’.

All these thoughts are generated based on the experiences you had in your past and even if you can’t relate to the above examples, you’ll have your thoughts (based on your past experiences) that will be generated spontaneously by your mind.

The world doesn’t hate you - you hate yourself by hating the world

The world doesn’t hate you – you hate yourself by hating the world

Let’s continue with the above situation.

Imagine you come inside Velo Coffee and you see me. Right away, your mind says ‘look at this dude staring at his laptop’ and you feel some kind of negative feeling.

That negative feeling is not about me. That negative feeling is about you. You have that negative feeling about yourself because it’s you who’s generating these negative thoughts. I haven’t done anything. My presence is acknowledged by your mind and because your mind needs to know more about me, it invents ideas about me.

Now think about someone you actually hate. Think about the reasons you hate that person. Take a few minutes and actually make a list in your mind with all the reasons you hate that person.

After that, look carefully at these reasons and try to understand how your past experiences got you to a place (emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually) that made you have these kinds of hateful thoughts.

And finally, a very important question: Are the hateful thoughts describing the person you’re hating or are they describing the way you feel?

If they’re describing the way you feel, you don’t hate the world, you actually hate yourself.

It’s the way you look at yourself that drives everything

If you see yourself as someone who never lies, then there are chances that you’ll see yourself as someone who doesn’t accept lies from others.

The more you identify yourself with the version of you who hates liars, the more you’ll hate these people. But because you’ll hate those who lie to you, the version of yourself that doesn’t accept lies from others will absorb all these negative feelings.

The way you look at yourself is what makes you see others in one way or another.

The stronger you identify with a specific version of yourself, the stronger the beliefs around that version are, and the stronger the negative feelings will be.

Become conscious of which version of yourself is holding the strongest beliefs and try to de-identify with it.

PS: Here are three more ideas you can spend some time meditating on:

  1. You don’t hate others, you actually hate yourself. And the same goes for loving others. You don’t love others, you actually love yourself.
  2. What makes you hate yourself?
  3. What makes you love yourself?

With love and optimism,
David

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