Numerous times in my life, I’ve found myself at the bottom of a big pool of hate. It felt like I hated everyone, from my mother to teachers to random peers I’d never even spoken to.
Hating everyone wasn’t an easy weight to bear. My loathing isolated me from relationships, left me lonely and sucked away any positivity that came my way.
That’s because hate doesn’t lead to a successful, productive, happy life. It supports a negative way of thinking that spreads through your life like illness.
Much of my own hate has stemmed from mental illness and insecurities. But there are many reasons why someone can become so full of negativity.
If you find yourself hating people regularly, it might be time to step back and make some changes, like I did.
What is Hate?
What does it actually mean to hate someone? Hatred is a strong, dark feeling usually reserved for those who’ve tried to hurt us in some way. Yet every day, many of us catch ourselves using the word to describe mundane irritations and annoyances.
Experts have trouble agreeing on just what hate actually is. Some scientists claim hatred is an entire emotion of its own, while others think hate is the expression of multiple emotions (anger, sadness, etc.) at the same time.
Hate can be a defense mechanism in response to a person or situation you perceive as harmful. You might feel physically or emotionally threatened by someone, so your response is to generate hate for that person.
When Hatred Grows
The hate response can become a habit because it offers easy protection from uncomfortable emotions or feelings. Making people targets of intense anger creates an easy place for you to unload fears and insecurities.
People can experience emotional hate reactions after just one event, a general, long-term hatred that festers or both. Hatred can vary in level from person to person. Someone’s hatred might focus on just one person while others might feel they hate everyone.
Why Do You Hate People?
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but if you feel that you hate everyone, the problem is likely within you, yourself.
Humans are social creatures. We flourish when we connect with and support each other. If your social functioning is failing you, it might be time to look within and make some adjustments.
Here are some reasons you might be feeling so much hate:
Defense Against Insecurities
Have you ever heard of the idea that we dislike things in others that we see within ourselves?
When you’re in a place of low self-esteem, you might cringe at others’ characteristics that remind you of yourself—especially with family and close friends. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to see the reflection of what you hate about yourself in someone else.
It’s also easy to redirect your own insecurities onto others instead of bearing the burden yourself. To react with hate is a defense mechanism that helps you hide from your own discomfort.
It’s easy to hate on people who have things you don’t. Jealousy is another strong emotion that can easily lead to hatred.
Say you’re struggling with body issues because you’re having trouble losing weight. When you see someone out running, your first response might be one of hatred.
Perhaps you’re jealous of their body shape and fitness level. Or, maybe you’re jealous they’re doing what it takes to get in shape.
It’s not really that person you hate—it’s your own situation. But the person who has more than you makes a convenient scapegoat for your emotions. This ugly feeling of jealousy can easily morph into hate.
Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder have a funny way of distorting the truth. When living with mental illness, it can feel like there’s a negative spin on everything.
We can be tricked into thinking we know people’s opinions of us, as if we can read their minds. We might decide people are judgmental or “fake,” even though that’s not necessarily be the case.
We might interpret social interactions in a more negative light than we need to, or even feel hateful toward people because they can’t save us from our illness. There are so many ways mental illness can cause you to feel hatred.
You’ve Been Burned
Perhaps, like me, you’ve gone through tumultuous times and it feels like everyone disappeared on you. Your family and friends may have bowed out due to reasons such as your treatment of them, life circumstances or because they needed to take care of themselves.
It really burns when it feels like everyone’s ditched you. Your loneliness and feelings of rejection can cause you to feel hatred for those you love most.
If it seems like everyone has left your life, there’s probably a bigger problem.
You might have unwillingly driven them away, or they weren’t good supportive people in the first place. It can leave you with feelings of abandonment and hate.
While it’s a great goal to eliminate hate from your life completely, there are still going to be people you simply don’t gel with.
At work, social events and other gatherings, you’re bound to come across these types of people. Maybe something about them just irritates you to no end or you can’t stand the way they talk to others.
You’re allowed to dislike people. It’s a part of life. Some personalities just don’t click with others. But ask yourself if these people really deserve hatred. Are they worth the energy you spend on such a strong feeling?
How to Stop Hating so Much
Ridding your life of hatred will take some hard work. Take the process one step at a time, and you’ll see how good it feels to let go of hate.
A little at a time, you’ll realize it’s nice to have people in your life again—it’s much better than feeling constant hatred.
It may be helpful for you to visit a counselor or therapist who can help you identify the source of your hatred and begin making positive changes.
In the meantime, here are some tips to help you start changing the ways you think about people.
Your hate for everyone is rooted inside yourself. It could be from memories of a past trauma, anger about a situation, jealousy, or another cause for unrest. If you want to stop hating so much, you need to first address your inner pain.
Healing on the inside is the first step to reducing your feelings of hate. Find guidance through a therapist or close friend who can help you identify your struggles and guide you through changes.
As hard as it may be, take time to listen to the people you hate. Hate installs a wall between ourselves and others, dehumanizing them to us.
By speaking to each other like regular human beings, we can learn more about each other and possibly find common ground. Try to see the people you hate as human beings with stories and flaws just like you.
Focus on Those You Don’t Hate
Is there anyone you don’t hate? It might be worth it to try reconnecting with that person.
Perhaps, you’re just out of the swing of friendships because it’s been awhile. Start by remembering how to socialize with someone who makes you feel comfortable.
Channel Your Anger
Find better ways to channel your anger than projecting it onto everyone else. Start exercising, pick up a new hobby, punch a punching bag—whatever it takes to get you focused on things other than people when you’re angry.
You might want to speak to a counselor or therapist about building strategies to redirect your anger.
Be Mindful of Negativity
Try to notice each time you judge someone in a negative way, leading to thoughts of hate. Just catching yourself and being mindful of your engagement in negative thought processes helps you recognize how often you do it.
When you catch yourself thinking negatively about someone, stop and analyze the situation from a logical standpoint. See if you can turn that thought into a general statement about the person, not a hateful one.
This doesn’t mean you have to try to like everyone. The idea is to know that person without the overshadowing filter of “hate.” With practice, it should become easier to notice things about people that you don’t necessarily hate.
Hate is a complex feeling (or set of feelings) that doesn’t offer positivity in our lives. It alienates us from people, surrounds us with negativity and fills us with bitterness.
But you don’t have to live a life full of hate. It’s possible to make changes and start feeling good about people again.
It might not be easy to examine and deal with your inner issues, but the heavy weight of hate being lifted off your chest will be well worth it.