Hate is the most powerful, negative phenomenon in the history of human existence.
It is based on perceptions of the negative disposition of persons or groups.
Whether expressed in words or deeds, hate creates a dangerous social space.
We start learning the dynamics of hate from our early childhood.
For instance, we learn to hate the so-called ‘rich child’ or ‘nerd’ at school; we learn to hate the teacher who gave us low scores.
As we grow older, we even start to hate people who do not share the same ideologies as ours. We start hating the system and eventually everything that does not speak to our beliefs.
Today, we style judgements towards individuals whom we even barely know.
We condemn individuals without knowing where they are from and what it took to be where they are.
We are a generation that does not only show hate physically in families, workplaces and churches but also on the internet.
We have fashioned a culture of being negative about everything – even when the negative acts about a person or group are inconsequential. Negative things are now weighted more heavily than positive ones. No matter what accomplishments others achieve or how well they have adjusted to other areas of their lives, we always find a way to criticise and undermine their characters. Our conduct has standardised the pattern of ridiculing others and damaging their identities by often being misguided and misinformed. When we have limited opportunities to forge meaningful close connections with people who are different from us, we try to form destructive rulings to wash away the benefits of other positive interactions and create distrust between groups. We disagree with those who we hate even when they are technically right.
Have you ever thought of how we may disagree about a certain appointment – not necessarily because the appointee does not qualify but because we differ?
Irrational hatred deeply roots in our exaggerated beliefs about others. They breed through personality factors, peer groups, the role of the family and lack of exposure to diversity.
The accumulation of personal frustration causes individuals to generate poor self-esteem, directing their misfortunes to others. Our family structures sometimes also provide a distorted reality by devaluing others in front of their children.
Peer groups are emotionally contagious; violent actions such as social vandalism generate emotional excitement and serve as an approval to be part of a group.
Sustainable social peace is only possible when we refine our characters to create patterns of recovery from hatred. Individuals suffering from ongoing hatred can overcome it with compassion.
Depending on the circumstances or intensity of their suffering, it may be best to engage a counsellor or therapist to help them explore helpful solutions and offer support.
We need to reform our perceptions of seeing others as threats and rather focus on valuing and appreciating the positive aspects.
Social institutions should teach and enlighten others on the importance of harmony, thus establishing a positive multiplier effect.
Instead of pointing out the flaws of others publicly, society must establish quality leadership that see things in light.
While we remain hopeful towards a peaceful social atmosphere, let us deepen our spiritual maturity to navigate toxic criticism.
* Saara Meke Amakali is an Industrial Psychology and Sociology graduate. Email her at email@example.com