Have you ever been around or know a person who will have an issue with another individual but in reality, the issue lies first and foremost with them? It’s these types of people that I often want to provide with a mirror so that – as any good parent would say – they can take a long hard look in the mirror.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a person who always wants to see the good in everyone, see past their flaws, give them the benefit of the doubt and give them second, third, fourth and fifth chances. However, if there is a person who either abuses all of those chances or just refuses to legitimately address their issues or substantially have reason for them, I begin to question their integrity and their likeability.
If you don’t know why you have an issue with something or someone, how can there be an issue in the first place?
“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.” – Cassey Ho – @blogilates
Now I have encountered several of these people in my life; at primary school, high school, work and everyday life, and I’ll admit on perhaps one or two occasions – but quite some years ago – I may also have exhibited this mindset, I’m nowhere near perfect. But this is the sort of playground mindset that you leave behind in the playground once you start maturing.
I think my first exposure to this was in one of my primary schools – I was never the cool kid – where I had two friends that I was close with and then, a new girl started at the school and we all sort of became friends and I remember that she would constantly talk about how she had SO many friends at her other schools. Now that was neither here nor there to an 11 year old me; until I noticed her slowly ordering my friends to never talk to me or hang around me. They would run away from me at recess, they would no longer want to be in my group for projects and I got really confused. So when I confronted this girl about it, her response was:
“I always have a lot of friends. They’re my friends now.”
And my reaction was: “…..what’s your point? How is it a problem that they are my friends too? Have I upset you?”
But there was no further reason as to why she hated me, simply, she was the one who was supposed to have more friends than me.
Initially I thought, okay maybe that is a fair reason. If someone is popular I can’t really make them not be popular, perhaps this is how it is supposed to be. But I couldn’t shake my confusion about why she actually hated me. Yes you can be popular, but what is your problem with ME? There has to be a reason why, every time I try to talk to you, or offer you something, or want to work with you, you see that as a negative thing.
Now, this scenario repeated itself a couple of times throughout my various high schools as well, to the point where it almost became routine and I got comfortable with it.
Oh I’m being nice to you and including you and still talking to you but you still think I’m the worst person to walk the Earth? Okay then.
It’s never something that I should have gotten comfortable with experiencing but at the same time it desensitised me, and as a result of that I began noticing that without valid grounds for hating me so, and by merely trying to keep their own ego inflated and their own precious view of the world completely intact; cracks would form and they’d ultimately begin losing out on experiences and friendly exchanges.
“You don’t realise how much energy a negative person is sucking away from you until they’re no longer there.” – Cassey Ho – @blogilates
Once I began to distance myself from their constant negativity I began to notice the action going on around that person differently. For example, there was a boy in one of my high schools who – I’m not even kidding – pretty much loathed me.
No idea. When I asked him why he hated me, his response was: “You’re so nerdy.”
To which my then witty response was, “Yes I am. Now why does that make you hate me? How does me being intelligent make you so disgusted? I don’t see this as a bad thing because I still talk to you and work with you in class. So why exactly do you hate me?”
And he didn’t have a response. But he wanted to make sure that I was nowhere near him, that I didn’t talk to him or his friends and that he never had to be involved in work or presentations with me. But because he was investing SO much of his time into ensuring that he never heard my name, never saw me in class and never acknowledged my existence, he didn’t notice that some of the guys he was friends with would still talk to me, that people beyond our argument couldn’t understand why there was an argument to begin with, and most of all, that some people began showing less and less interest in him because he became so fixated on hating me for a reason that no one knew.
That was probably the first occasion that I wondered what he would see if I slipped him a mirror.
Would he see that he was just hating me now for the purpose of keeping up the appearance that he hated me?
Would he see that he didn’t have absolute control over everyone to make sure that I wasn’t in his social circle?
Would he see that his attitude was becoming one that a select few of his current friends couldn’t stand?
I began to question his likeability even though I was able to take the high ground and still interact as though nothing were wrong, because really, nothing was. Or at least, nothing was reasonably wrong. I continued to give him the benefit of the doubt and chances to act kindly even though he was clearly beyond reason because I knew I couldn’t hate him without legitimate reason.
Sure, he said he hated me. He had made verbal threats against me. He had tried to punch me. He sauntered about singing how much of a nerd I was. But did I hate him in return? No. Those actions weren’t favourable at all, but it didn’t give me the right to loathe his existence.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Me hating you because you hate me is not correct.
But then where does one draw the line to say, you clearly don’t see the error of your ways and I’m done trying to be the nice guy?
Thankfully this line was drawn for me when I transferred away from that school and as the years progressed elsewhere, I hoped I’d never encounter those sort of playground antics in my life again because of how pointless they were.
How wrong I was.
History repeats itself and this time I end up encountering someone who was a mix of both my primary and high school experiences. Still to this day, I think both of us have no idea why I’m hated, and I’m not sure if I ever will know. But I continue to give this girl the benefit of the doubt due to my kinder nature.
This particular scenario has been playing out now for nearly two years and it seems (somewhat unfortunately) inevitable that it may continue to play for a while to come in one way or another. For those playing along at home, you probably already know who is being addressed in this scenario, but I want to put it out there that there is no hate from myself. However this scenario has been prominent in my thoughts recently due to interactions with the person at hand.
My main point in this entire post is, I cannot hate a person without legitimate and validated reason. Hate is an incredibly strong word that needs an incredibly strong basis for validation. You can dislike a person, you can find them unfavourable, you can think of them as annoying for lesser reasons, but you cannot hate a person without serious intent. Granted, there have been more unfavourable actions and words from this other party than from myself, some of which I may never forgive, or some of which I would want to openly confront her about, but I may not get the opportunity to do so, or I can simply rise above them.
This is a person that I find I have several things in common with in my current everyday life, but all these similarities are seen as threats to her view of how life should be and hence, I once again end up in the category of non-existence when really that category itself should not exist.
I ran into this person again just under a month ago, at an event that I was already sure she would appear at. It was just another one of the things that we were both interested in. Yes, I wouldn’t be working directly with her but when you’re in the same building for over 40 hours in a weekend, you’re bound to see one another’s faces. With my partner attending as well, his words of advice were, “Just ignore her, she can’t do anything to you, so you just go and be awesome at your own job.” But while his words were wise and heeded, it wasn’t the prospect of her doing something that would have irked me, it was the fact that she would do nothing at all. The fact that she would do – as others before her – completely attempt to ignore my existence like I was a sort of bad dream.
How? When you have no reason or validation to base hatred off, can you insist on hating a person’s existence?
I continued through this weekend like the mature adult I am; my job required me to run tours, assist performers and go and liaise occasionally with other exhibitors in the event and every so often go and find another volunteer to run a job. Every so often I’d end up going past her place of work and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest, I’m sure if we’d made eye contact I would have offered a smile or a wave, but I already had it stored in my mind that those actions wouldn’t be reciprocated. In return however, it was not possible for her to pass my booth like it was just a blank spot on the wall that deserved zero attention. It’s not often that I see someone put so much effort into making sure their gaze remains fixated at the furthest point away from me. There was one particular instance and the end of the first night where I did end up holding a conversation with her, and while I was making every effort to remain kind and friendly about topics that were mutual to us, there was definite awkward chill in the room that I believed had no business being there when I was not being offensive and it was a mere meeting of acquaintances.
There was only a second occasion on that weekend where our paths crossed again, this time at an after party that both my partner and I were attending. Upon seeing a friend that he knew, my partner struck up conversation and it so happened that his friend and this girl were attending together. Even under the influence of multiple bourbons and several tequila sunrises respectively, my partner and I still engaged in light-hearted conversation with no ill feeling between us all, until we both noticed continual jabs and tugs being directed at my partner’s friend to try and exit the conversation as quickly as possible. When the conversation was over, we were simply confused – it didn’t dull our night – but how is it that in a room full of adults, there was a child? A playground influence who couldn’t handle reality? And as my partner asked, not for the first time, “We still don’t know why she hates you do we? I don’t think she even knows.”
And so again, I wondered what it might be like to offer her a mirror so she could see just what her actions were doing.
Investing all of your time into making sure someone’s existence doesn’t exist gets you nowhere. It becomes wasted energy because you fixate yourself on hating this one person that other things slip through the cracks and you lose total control. I am friends with multiple people who have been or are her friends, I still do hobbies that I love to do which means we could inevitably run into one another once again, I am still here and I don’t intend on going anywhere any time soon.
But why is it, that my name is not allowed to be mentioned around her? It in turn turns away friendships, I have had at least two people who are now so perplexed by her efforts to hate me that slowly she has come to ignore them as well. One of my best friends now doesn’t interact with her on the same level as they once did because they don’t believe that adults should act this way.
When does a person like that stop and realise that they are doing more harm than good. Nothing is gained from acting this way. Because you end up turning people away, or I end up needing to explain the situation to friends, fellow hobbyists and event employers as to why I can’t be in her vicinity. If there were to be a party coming up, I’d need to double check first if she were attending and then explain, “No it’s fine, I’m more than happy to say hi to her, it just won’t go both ways.” If there is a pole event or workshop I have to ask if she is participating because part of me believes she’d walk out of the room if I were to poke my head in there. I have to inform event employers that I can’t work her booth at the same time as her because she won’t know how to act around me.
All I want is that mirror.
For all of them.
So they can look into it to see that none of their actions bring good in return.
Because how do you tell someone that their fixation is invalid with substantial argument? How many chances do you give a person before you give up completely? How much benefit of the doubt do you give a person before you realise that they just want to be that young kid in the playground yelling nasty little insults and wanting to bang their chest about having all of the friends? How do you let someone harbour hatred and be fine with letting them carry on like that? How do you finally walk away from someone who wants to see the problem in every solution?
It’s perhaps not something that I should dwell on, but it does frustrate me to see a person preaching that they love everyone and projecting the image that they are so innocent – to the point of being a victim by my hand – when their true nature shows as they try to erase your existence.
I want people to be capable of voicing their concerns and their reasons for hate. There should be no shame in openly saying: “This is why I think this way, and here are the proper reasons as to why I do so.”
Honesty is appreciated. But facades, and double-crossing, and immature actions are not. You can’t call yourself a good person and – in the case of these three people mentioned – say that you are distancing yourself from toxic energies. You are merely manifesting them and then trying to create the smoke screen that they are not yours.
It won’t carry you through life when you do have to make critical decisions and partnerships with people that perhaps don’t like 100%; but if that person was your boss you couldn’t ignore their existence and pretend they can’t irk you. You need to own up to feelings and clearly state why there is such dislike and look inside yourself to understand if it can be validated.
Hate is a strong word.
Hate is a strong feeling.
The energy you project is the energy you receive.
If you project hate, you will receive hate.
We are in a society where we cannot afford to hate our neighbour, and this is why I refuse to hate people.
You cannot retreat from hatred once you have declared it.
So think carefully, and look at yourself in the mirror before you decide if hatred is the energy you want to project.