“I hate people.”
I have heard far too many people mumble these words. Even good people who treat others very well, almost as if they had actually liked people.
People. Who are they? Well, the word, “people” can be defined as “persons, whether men, women, or children, considered as numerable individuals forming a group.” A simpler definition would be “human beings, as distinguished from animals or other beings.”
Here’s a visual aid I constructed on my very own. Aren’t you enamored with my skills?
These are all “people.” They are included in the one’s that you “hate.”
It is not completely impossible that there are some people out there who may actually hate all the examples listed on my picture. But the truth is that there are generally at LEAST 1-2 other humans on this planet that we actually like. It is VERY rare that the number is actually ZERO. Also, you are a “people,” which means you would also hate yourself (Which I hope you don’t because I am sure you are beautiful, wonderful and lovely).
So can we PLEASE stop generalizing all of humanity into a terrible a category that every fiber of your being is against?
Ok, now that is out of the way, let’s talk about WHY we think we hate people.
From my own experience, it’s when we see another human do something that makes us question all of humanity. It could be something small. It could be something large. I had my own moment yesterday with somebody. They acted one way to my face and another behind my back. (I’ve never understood why people feel the need to act different depending on who is standing in front of them. It seems much easier to maintain the same persona all of the time IMO, anyway).
Here are a few more examples. You are out on a walk because it’s a beautiful day outside. You observe another human, driving, blow through a stop sign and perhaps simultaneously looking at their phone. We may mutter, “I hate people.” When really, we hate when people are so selfish that they don’t abide by particular rules or laws and put others in danger. Here’s another; there is a story of a police dog shot in action. Somebody reads this news and then says the favorite line, “This is why I hate people.” The dog actually survives because there is an incredible Veterinarian who tends to the animal immediately and saves its life. The Vet is also a person, though, and falls into the category of which hatred is still placed upon. Really, we may just actually hate those who do harm to animals. Somehow, we forego rightful credit to the humans who attempt to repair and save these animals.
So, are we in agreement that the generalization of hating all of humanity due to some unacceptable acts of a few individuals is a bit extreme and unnecessary?
Beyond the hate.
Are you willing to go one layer deeper? Perhaps to labeling and harsh judgment? We all do it. We are all guilty, whether we realize it or not. Even in the example above about the stop sign and perhaps being on your phone while driving, MOST of us are guilty to some degree. Several of the things we get frustrated about, we are probably guilty of ourselves. Are there more extreme things we are innocent of? Sure. Regardless, as humans, in what environment do we rehabilitate the best? Strict punishment and judgment or forgiveness and grace?
This could easily go all over the place, so I will attempt to be as succinct as possible.
Let’s say you have a family member who got into the wrong crown. You turn your back on them, call them a drug addict and a loser. You place them in this hypothetical box with this label, keeping them there in your mind. Nothing they do can change it. Trapped. They see your actions and your beliefs of them and live up to them. People who should care about them don’t and so they remain the same. Over time, they grow comfortable in your hypothetical box, because they might as well since they aren’t going anywhere.
Now, am I telling you that it’s your fault they are drug addicts? No. Am I telling you to be an enabler to their bad behavior? No. Simply, I am saying, we need to tell and show these people that we believe them to be more than this. That they do not belong inside this box and help them see the world outside of it and how they can be a part of it.
We need to hate the behavior. Not the person. We need to love the person, and for them to know and feel that they are loved. Not label them, not cast them out, not lump them in with some horrible group with a terrible reputation. We need to truly care about each other. Because we need each other.
Grace changes us.
Do you remember a moment in your life where you made a really big mistake? One where you were full of shame and where you felt you deserved harsh judgment and/or punishment? And every time you swallowed, you felt a lump in your throat that would remain there until the truth was finally exposed and you would finally face the punishment of your actions?
Have you ever been right in the middle of that place and then somebody showed you grace instead? Where they hugged you and told you that we have all made mistakes and that you are forgiven? Where they’ve just assumed your overwhelming shame is already enough cause for you to never do that thing again and so they are merely there to be your encouragement to pick up and keep going?
Did you not have the most relief you have ever had in your entire life? Where you know you deserved something far more harsh, and this grace was so beautifully unexpected? You vowed never to make the same mistake again.
I’ve been there. Those moments changed me. Softened me. Helped me heal. Had somebody just mumbled, “I hate people” in response to my actions, that change probably wouldn’t have occurred. Or maybe it would have, but much farther down the line with much heavier consequences.
I don’t think I am the only one with these types of experiences. I am certain that I am not.
Can we agree to attempt to recall these moments next time we are tempted to generalize somebody’s temporary lapse in judgment and behavior and rekindle a misdirected hatred towards all of humanity?
This website is called More Than Dreamers. In order to be so, we must first be believers. Believers in each other and believers in ourselves. Let’s get the hate and the anger out of the way so we can move forward and change the world.
Were you once bitter and callous towards people and realized you needed a change? What was your moment of being softened? How have things changed since? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.