The Nature Of Hate

And How We Transform It To Love

Crystal Nicholls
Jun 21, 2018 · 3 min read
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Look how he abused me and beat me,

How he threw me down and robbed me.’

Live with such thoughts and you will live in hate.

‘Look how he abused me and beat me,

How he threw me down and robbed me.’

Abandon such thoughts and live in love.

In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate.

The Dhammapada: The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom, translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita

Hate is a false human emotion. When we take the time to recognize and examine our hate, where does it actually come from?

For most people, hate has become a reaction; a story that replays itself over and over again. We don’t even know why we are reacting in this way anymore. When we become aware of our states of mind, we can see that hate is just a facade. What pain lies beneath? What emotions and traumas are we hiding by turning toward hate?

Sometimes fear is the real emotion beneath our hate. Fear of the unknown, fear of the other, fear of embarrassment. We are unwilling to admit we are afraid so we avert our attention to someone/something else. “This person is the reason I didn’t get the job”, or “that group is the reason terrorism exists”. Fear makes us vulnerable and our society equates vulnerability with weakness. The world is suffering right now because it is full of people who do not recognize their fears.

Maybe pain is the emotion we are afraid of facing. Hate is much easier to deal with than pain because it lets us off the hook and gives us a different way to channel our energy. If we cannot find a job, it is easier to blame a group of immigrants than to admit to ourselves that we are hurting.

When I take the time to examine my own hate, I notice that it changes from hate, to embarrassment, to self judgement, and only then do I notice the real emotion behind it. Discovering the emotion behind hate is an exercise in patience; but it is always there if you are willing to look.

Hate robs us of our peace and poisons our souls. It clutches at our chests and makes our bodies rigid and tense. It makes us suffer an event twice.

How do we transform hate to love?

We transform hate to love when we stop identifying with our emotions and become willing to feel them.

We transform hate to love when we become aware that our emotional states are temporary. We then learn to take a breath and let them go.

We transform hate to love when we see our vulnerability as our strengths.

We transform hate to love when we realize that there is no separation. You are me and I am you.

We transform hate to love when we realize that hating another is more harmful to us than it is to them.

If we are open to feeling our emotions, we can learn to rest in our awareness instead of the emotions themselves. This is what the Buddha meant by “abandon such thoughts and live in love”.

Awareness is the deep, vast place that exists inside all of us. It is full of peace, acceptance and love. It is who we truly are.


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Crystal Nicholls

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I am a dancer and certified nutrition coach. I help performers and creatives boost their energy and overcome creative blocks.


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