Freud defined hate as
as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness
The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a
“deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object.
The urban dictionary has a more visceral definition (and one that I find very satisfying)
when you dislike someone so much that if you and the other person were in an empty room with a knife in the middle, one or both would be dead
So when we are cautioned not to do the things we hate, we have a choice.
- We can take the time to make a list a catalogue all of the things we hate and studiously avoid them
- We can start liking everything
Both sound like an awful lot of energy. Let’s look at it from an input/output perspective.
If I input the same fixed amount of energy into making a list and avoiding the items on the list my output is that I only do the things that make me happy. Sure, I spend some energy moving away from what I hate but think of how much happier I will be.
I can’t help but think, though, of all of the things I could be missing out on.
One example comes to mind.
I used to hate running. Hated it. Cross country in grade school was grueling. I couldn’t keep up with the class. I faked being sick to get out of it – good enough that my mother took me to the doctor.
I remember the sensation of sitting on that crinkly papered bench, hands by my side, gripping the edges of the cracked, faded and pale green plastic cushion, as Dr. Bernstein explained how when you are running you breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Your nose filters out the toxins so you get good, fresh air and when you breath out of your mouth you get rid of anything that is gumming up your lungs. That lesson stuck. I still finished dead last.
Grade school comes and goes. In high school, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces Militia as an infantryman and guess what? More running. In Big Black Cadillacs, no less.
I’ve written about Master Corporal Jones before but it bears repeating. I could do all of the strength exercises they required of me – pushups, pullups, windsprints and even one time I sparred with a staff (got my ass kicked, but they had to hold me back from going back for more) – but I struggled at all things related to running, breathing exercises from Dr. Berstein be damned. MCpl Jones had to grab me by my webbing and drag me across the finish line because he would not let me quit.
Over the past few months of exercising and weight loss, I have come to enjoy running. Maybe it’s because I am carrying less weight and I am stronger. I still breath through my nose and out through my mouth. I don’t run for hours on end – maybe forty five minutes is the longest and twenty minutes is about average – but I run. Actually, I am looking forward to running along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa at the break of dawn this Canada Day. I anxiously await how that sun looks on the dappled water on that Sunday morning.
So, I’ve take something I’ve thought I hated and turned it into something I enjoyed. But ,if I avoided what I hated, I would never know the pleasurable feeling of a good run. The feel of my feet in my shoes, the sound of my shoes on the pavement, the rush of blood and the pulse of energy through my body, that exhausted feeling that comes with powering through the last hundred metres or so, going as fast as you can, the almost meditative state you can achieve while in motion.
It’s great. It’s awesome. And I hated this?
So, yeah, my advice on how to avoid doing what you hate is to love everything as much as you can.