In my life, I have always thought myself to have a hard head when it comes to looking at two sides of something. Not that I'm stuck in my ways, but once I see a side of something it's hard to understand where the other is coming from, especially if the other side has ideals that are damaging to a person or community.
I'm not the only person with this mentality, however. It can be found virtually anywhere- especially on the internet. People outwardly slandering politicians, their least favorite characters on TV or actors in reality shows and movies, and even people they work or live with is what seems to make the world go 'round.
On Twitter especially, "cancel culture" is an exhausting new trend that involves holding people on a pedestal to be perfect and then "canceling" them without trying to educate them on their mistake. Some of those who have fallen victim to this have deserved it, especially those who have apologized for doing something wrong only to turn around and do the exact same thing again. Even so, what is it that makes people hate others so much? What is the driving force behind loathing and spreading hateful messages anyway?
Do we hate people simply because they do something wrong, or is there more to it?
While at my last college, I had a professor who is one of the smartest people on the planet and has changed my life in a tremendous way since meeting her nearly a year ago. One way that she changed my life is by showing me different ways to look at the world. She's someone who has proclaimed her hatred for our current president to the extent that she never wanted his name to invade our creative space, yet she never let her emotions stay stagnant in hatred. One day, she was talking about why she hates him, and frankly why she dislikes anyone in general.
She sees her own undesirable traits in them.
Thinking about it now, this is such an obvious realization. If you don't like how messy you are, you'll call out other people for leaving a mess behind them. The human condition is to project our own dislikes and such onto others, but it is also to not want to face the negative parts of ourselves that we're scared of or think are "ugly."
If memory serves me right, my professor said she doesn't like Trump because she sees her own egotistical nature in him. This moment was so profound for me, and really sticks with me to this day. This moment inspired me to reevaluate why I might dislike people in my life, and I came to find some really interesting things.
I dislike Trump because I don't like how sometimes I can be ignorant of other people's ideas and care about only myself. I am so quick to write someone off for not responding to a message I sent them, but will then turn around and ignore someone who I know has been waiting to hear from me. I get so easily annoyed with someone who acts like they have themselves put together when in reality they're just as stressed as I am because I try to act the same way and it eventually ends up doing more harm than good.
I try not to use the word, "hate." Growing up, I was always warned that it was a strong word that I truly didn't mean, and I genuinely don't think there is anyone I truly hate in this world. I hate concepts, but people are not as cut and dry as the things they believe in or think about. Still, I've found that it's important to not use a tool such as thinking of how you are reflected in others' actions to make what they've done less harmful. Sure, you've realized why what they do upsets you, but just because you see that same trait in yourself doesn't necessarily make what they've done alright.
Correction starts with the self. The things you can control are within you, and everything else needs to be left to the wind. You will not be able to change the way Trump acts, the way a significant other talks to you, or how someone on the street conducts themself. You can only fix how you resemble their "undesirable" traits and respond to their actions and words. I challenge whoever reads this to think of someone you dislike, whether it be a celebrity, cartoon character, or public figure, and try to pinpoint how you both resemble each other. You'll be surprised by what your mirror reflects.