Sunday, August 7, 2016

How to keep Hate from Disrupting Life

We are continuing to address ways to curb hate. Let's look at the next few steps as ways to prevent hate from disrupting your life.

If you have worked through the previous steps (outlined in the previous few posts) you may now be able to find the opportunity to negotiate constructively and specifically to resolve sources of conflict and anger. After discovering what it is specifically that distresses you about the other and you are communicating rationally, it is time to look at where changes can be made by both parties. Perhaps when you understand more about them you can realize that only a change in your perspective is necessary to resolve the hate and anger. Or each of you can discuss how compromise may be made in the situation. Perhaps your hate comes from fear of the other, fear they will harm you in some way.

  • Once that is examined there may be ways you can resolve that fear with more knowledge about the other. Educate yourself and others with more specific knowledge about the individual, group, or culture. The more specifics you have the less likely you are to fall into stereotypes that breed hate by dehumanizing the other.  Education must incorporate empathy, specificity, and the other elements of this strategy to curb hate. The information you acquire needs to come from various perspectives, not just from others who are steeped in hate-speech and stereotypical thinking. The United States of America is one of the best educated country in the world, yet hate and hate-speech abound. Stereotyping is lazy thinking. And even educated people can be lazy. You need to go beyond the labels and stereotypes.

  • Having raised your awareness about the many facets of the individual, group, or culture, you can more easily cooperate with the other in mutually beneficial ways wherever possible. Working together on something positive builds trust. Trust can replace feelings of hate. It isn't necessary to trust them completely with everything. Build it a bit at a time. It is great to see police departments working with neighborhoods to build trust. Some are handing out ice cream. Some are building playgrounds and recreation opportunities. Some are visiting schools for extracurricular activities. I've seen where groups of different faiths are building worship spaces for them to share and groups of one faith are reaching out to help people in need who are of a different faith. These are all building trust and lowering anger and hate.

  • When you find yourself feeling hate, try to put things into perspective instead of overreacting. Ask yourself if you fear is based on reality and if it is as important as you think. Is the anger from that fear worth the level of hate you are experiencing? Exploring your feelings rationally often can resolve those that distress you unduly. We can get addicted to the rush of Adrenalin from anger, but addiction costs us the ability to think clearly and act reasonably. Relationships suffer and opportunities are missed. Ask yourself honestly, how important is it? What could you do to deal with the situation without feeding the anger?

You are on the way toward curbing anger. In my next post we will explore the final steps in the strategy. We can make our lives and our world better when we have curbed hatred. You are well on your way.

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