I will permit no person to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him or her.-Booker T. Washington
Hate is one of the strongest emotions around, yet one that has no real benefits for anyone. Hatred is one of the destructive emotions, and it can harm not only the person who feels it but those people who love him or her, too. Our souls most definitely become narrow when we allow hatred to be a part of who we are, and our souls degrade quickly when we’re in its grasp.
We use the word “hate” quite loosely. “I hate that food,” or “I hate that guy,” we say, not speaking of true hatred but of dislike. Perhaps this looseness with the word has kept us from staying aware of the dangers of feeling the true emotion–or rather, of allowing the true emotion to control us. For that it does–hatred controls us and our emotions, and when it’s in charge of us we become miserable creatures indeed. We lose our brightness, we lose touch with much of our positive sides, and we lose our ability to live our lives fully.
Booker has it right: we permit people to hurt us when they can make us hate them. No matter what someone else has done, it’s still our choice whether we’re going to sacrifice a piece of our humanity to hate that person, or whether we’re going to maintain our humanity and not narrow ourselves through hatred.
We always have a choice, and once we permit someone else to make us hate them, we’ve lost that choice–or at least we haven’t exercised it fully. Hatred never does anyone any good, so why would we allow ourselves to become less than we can be because of someone else’s actions or words?
Questions to consider:
How would you define “hate”?
Why is it so easy to hate?
Why do many people see hatred as a positive thing?
For further thought:
We may fight against what is wrong, but if we allow ourselves to hate, that is to insure our spiritual defeat and our likeness to what we hate.-George William Russell