I know you. You’re looking through your ex’s photos in your phone and wondering why they ruined your happiness. You’re scrolling through their Twitter and resenting the new people in their life. You cringe when you see a picture of your ex-best friend who dropped you like nothing for her new boyfriend. You’re angry. You claim that you hate them; you wish that you didn’t. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to.
I’ve never been an angry person. In fact, anger is a pretty foreign emotion to me. But when someone for whom I’d do anything breaks my trust or hurts me in a way that I never saw coming, my anger tends to build up against that one single person, as if their hurting me was a direct attack on my character. I almost feel as if I’m not worthy of fair treatment by that person, and I wonder what I could have done better. It seems this fuels a lot of our resentment toward people who hurt us: our exes, our friends, even our family. Most of us are just trying to be treated the way we think we deserve to be treated, and when someone treats us any less than we expect, we tend to attribute that to not being good enough. We begin to foster hate towards the people who made us feel this way. On the surface, however, we attribute it to them being a horrible person who destroys all happiness in their path. Because we are hurt, and we are angry.
Recently, I have discovered that hating people who hurt you only breeds hate within yourself. Hate is a strong word, a strong emotion. Channeling all of that on one person can bog us down, and we spend so much time hating the person who made it so hard for us to love ourselves, and no time actually learning to love ourselves without them. Instead, we should focus on a much larger feat: learning to accept and understand that person, even if that includes zero contact with them whatsoever.
When I think of people who hurt me, I also think of the people to whom I have caused pain. My fear of hurting people is quite possibly larger than my aversion to anger. Still, though, I end up making choices for myself which can take a toll on the people around me, whether I mean to hurt them or not, whether I think my actions are worthy of emotional pain or not. The truth is, we are all making choices daily that we believe deep down will help us progress in happiness and self-actualization. I firmly believe that I am all I have, that you are all you have. It is often most important that I make choices for myself instead of pleasing others who might never do the same for me. Call me cynical, but I am learning to defend myself and trust only those who deserve trust, and the only person that I know I can always trust is myself. So sure, I’ve hurt some people without even trying to. But it pains me, possibly even more than them, to know that I may be the reason they cry that night or think any less of themselves. This is a two-way street.
Usually when I look back on the pain I felt which seemed to be inflicted upon me by one specific person, I am thankful. I am thankful that it led me to where I am today, that it strayed me from people who do not deserve my loyalty, and that it helped me to understand that much more about who I am and the kind of people with which I’d like to surround myself. I often speak to people from my past that will apologize for their mistakes or lapses in judgment, and I will tell them that the hurting helped me. People do feel remorse; not many sleep well knowing that they are the cause of someone else’s pain.
Most people don’t realize the harm that their actions can inflict upon one person. Some people do but don’t know how to fix it without making themselves unhappy. Some people do, but simply don’t care. People hurt people all the time, on accident and on purpose, and nobody can really stop themselves from hurting people and nobody can stop themselves from getting hurt.
The only thing we can do is be the people who aren’t doing it on purpose.
So as much as it might suck, forgive. Put down your Voodoo doll, get off of their Facebook, stop calling his new girlfriend ugly. Forgive those who hurt you when you are ready, and forgive yourself for hurting others. We’re all just living to keep ourselves alive, to keep ourselves happy. There are 7 billion people in this world, but the only one to whom you owe anything is yourself. You owe yourself inner peace. Stop hating, and start understanding that each person shares this similar personal struggle. You may have been collateral damage in someone else’s life plan, but that shouldn’t stop you from living out yours.
"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less."