Love and hate are two competing strong emotions that can take complete control of your life. They are very different. Yet, they are very much the same. Some might say that love and hate are two manifestations of the same emotion.
Defining Love and Hate
For the purposes of this article, when we are talking about love and hate, we are talking about strong overwhelming positive or negative emotion toward something or someone. When we use love and hate, we mean intense and powerful emotion that impacts a person’s judgment and leads to irrational action.
There are other less emotionally powerful definitions for the words, but those usages are excluded from this discussion. For example, we are not talking about cases where people off-handedly state, “I love pizza.” Generally, this usage really means that pizza is one of their favorite foods. Now, if they love pizza so much that it drives controls their life, that would be love.
Similarly, we are not talking about situations where someone mentions something and the other person says, “I hate it when that happens.” In that case, they really mean dislike. The response has much less emotion than the word “hate” would indicate. Instead, we are focused on cases of true hostility.
Manifestation of Love And Hate
Some people find it very easy to use the word “love” and to express strong emotions. These people find it easy to love and often just as easy to hate. Meanwhile, others are very reluctant to use such strong expressions of emotions. This is believed to be a difference in the insula in the person’s brain. It isn’t that it controls the emotions a person feels, but that it controls the intensity of that emotion.
The stronger the intensity of these emotions, the more likely they are to flip from one to another. For instance, it becomes very easy for a person to love someone and then end up hating them for the very same characteristics that drew the person to them.
Likewise, a person can have an initial dislike to someone. They may even tell their friends how much they dislike the person. Then, something flips and they end up in each other’s arms. It happens in the movies and in real life. Their initial strong dislike was really an attraction.
The connection between these emotions can lead to love-hate relationships where a person both loves and hates another person simultaneously. Alternately, the person may toggle between 100 percent loving the person one minute and completely hating the same person the next minute. These relationships are made possible because of the thin line between love and hate.
Costs & Benefits
Love is healing. It also breeds more good things. So, people might ask, “What is the downside of that?” When it comes to love, the thing people struggle with most is vulnerability. One cannot love without being vulnerable. For people who like to be in control at all times, their fear of being vulnerable can keep them from being open to love.
On the other hand, hate is damaging. It also requires that you are vulnerable, but it opens you up to all kinds of negativity. When it occurs from time to time, it is perfectly normal. However, if a person holds onto hate for long periods of time, hateful emotions can impact them not only emotionally and mentally, but also physically. Various factors come into play, but simply put, it changes the chemistry of the body, which can trigger illness, anxiety, depression, and a host of other issues. Furthermore, it changes a person’s thinking and drives negative behaviors.
What many people neglect to realize is that hating someone or something creates an intense bond between the person and the object of their hatred. Hating only hurts the person doing the hating. It does no harm to the hated although it does give them power over the hater. Joanna Kleovoulou, a clinical psychologist, summarizes it this way, “Holding onto Hate is like letting someone live rent-free in your mind.”
Creating Love and Eliminating Hate
Since hate is harmful, the obvious solution for good mental and physical heath is to convert hate to a more positive emotion. Change begins by the person acknowledging their feelings of hatred. Then the person must explore the source of those feelings and honestly questioning whether such strong feelings are warranted.
It may simply be that feelings of dislike have been blown out of proportion. Perhaps discussions with friends or family have led to stronger outward emotion than what is appropriate for the situation. In this case, awareness may be all that is needed to shift to a more neutral perspective of the situation. If that is not enough, a person can focus their intent on letting go of the strong emotions and allowing objectivity back in. With understanding and focus, love can actually replace hate.
Sometimes, however, a person has real fire burning inside them about someone, something, or a situation. Generally, this is when someone has personally harmed the person or their loved one. Letting go of hate in these situations is often more challenging, but even more important because the emotion is often so strong.
In these situations, the person can begin as previously mentioned by acknowledging the hate and understanding the source of those feelings. As, they move forward, the focus should initially be on refraining from statements or actions that add fuel to the fire. The next step is to work toward releasing the emotion associated with the hatred. To do this, the person can focus on what is truly important. With this focus, objectivity becomes a possibility.
Make a Choice
Remember both hatred and love draw things to you. Wouldn’t you rather draw into your life good things that bring you benefit?