On Being Hated – Free Ebook

Learning that someone hates us deeply even though we’ve done nothing ostensibly to provoke them can be one of the most slamming situation we face. Because of technology, it’s also liable to happen to us more and more In the past, our enemies were restricted to the vicinity; now, they lie scattered around the digital planet. In the past, we might once have unwisely read about ourselves in another’s diary; now, we can make a baleful error of quietly googling our own name. Being hated feels so serious for three (3) central reasons: Because we see the hatred as a prelude to genuine practical danger; Because we feel that those who hate us might be right, that their negative information though unpleasant might have something important to teach us; And because we implicitly trust in the basic wisdom soundness of mind and sagacity of the person delivering the attack. But each of these reasons is liable to be badly off the mark. Once upon a time, our enemies might have come to bludgeon us in the night, no wonder we were very concerned. But now, almost always they can only ever impose a psychological wound, their ill-will is unrelated to further action. And yet, it’s as if an ancestral part of our minds had failed to notice our freedom, that we no longer live in tribes, and that we can flourish independently in the vast and appoints delightfully anonymous cities of modernity, unhampered by the narrow verdict of a few corrupt judges. Part of our vulnerability to hatred stems from the poignant and at origin intelligent way, we tend to keep an open mind about criticism. We know at heart rightly that we have so much to learn from other people so we continue to behave like the trusting school children we once were, waiting to receive the opinions of broadly benevolent teachers. But this important capacity to learn may lack the necessary limits. What starts off as a virtue can in time leads to a desperate unnecessary vulnerability to any incoming information and eventually a kind of madness as we leave ourselves open to attack by those who plainly don’t have our best interest at heart. We’re seldom very good at filtering whether our enemies are well-qualified judges of our right to exist. In our panic at the news of hatred, we fail to ask ourselves the one important question: Whether there is any truth in the attack? But even when criticism is correct, we should never surrender our self-love to anyone who delivers it to us drenched in contempt. There is never any excuse for cruelty. We should distinguish between the critic and the hater. Whereas the critic limits the psychological significance and fall out of their point of contention, the hater takes a small point of disagreement as a way of access to deliver a wholesale bitter condemnation of us as human beings. There is a vast difference between declaring: “YOU’RE FULL OF BULL SHIT!” and clearing the throat to say: “I THINK YOU’RE MISTAKEN ON THIS POINT.” The first move suggests that your error is a consequence of a fundamental rottenness. The second leaves open that you could be an honorable soul who just happens to be like so many of us understandably confused on a complicated issue. We should ultimately trust that anyone who deliberately harms us must be a highly damaged and therefore unreliable witness. We should not continue to believe that they may be frustrated but clever like an exasperated but fundamentally wise teacher, motivated by pursuit of the truth. However roughly handled, if one was truly wise insightful and mature, one could never want to make another person collapse internally. The desire to hurt a stranger can only have big and troubled explanations behind it. Something distorting their judgement and stripping them of the right to destroy our self-confidence with impunity. None of us are blameless, we all have so much growing up to do. A distinct openness to criticism is key to our self-development but we should aim for a confident distinction between the hater and the critic. We should be worried only by our genuine flaws and otherwise forgive the injured roaring beasts who seek to punish us for their own unavowed sorrow.

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