Recently, a couple of friends on FACEBOOK have earnestly lamented how hate and blame have thwarted them from moving on. They wonder if it's somehow weak to forgive wrongdoers? Did they "give in" to the person who mistreated them by forgiving them? Yet, by doing so, they continue, only will they finally heal.
I say embrace that hate. Feelings are real and rarely betray us. Accept the damage done you. Acknowledge the loathing you feel. Those people who seared themselves into your brain with their nasty deeds probably deserve your hate, and they probably won't, or didn't, change all that much.
For me, a hate has been a great motivator. Not corrosive hate. Not the type where you seek out voodoo dolls, drive-by stalk or wish harm, disfigurement, death. Oh, I've felt that, too...that kneejerk and immature response where you daydream about car accidents, crane collapses, slow-moving-but-painful-cancer. That particular layer of hate is counter-productive; you have surrendered even more power to those individuals to bring you more harm, to your soul, to your energy, to your night's rest.
I believe in a measure of forgiveness so I CAN forget, but it is never total. Some things remain inexcusable. I was treated very badly by some people. I was mocked. Told I wouldn't achieve even a measure of what I hoped. It was predicted that I, as a gay man, could not weather some of the storms of the business world. My husband were denied our first mortgage by a man in a too-short tie who clasped his hands over an ample belly and said a relationship like ours wasn't stable.
You can strip these kinds of memories and anecdotes of their ability to pick the scabs, to put it crudely. Some turn to religion. Some chant, run marathons or turn to prescribed help -- and there's nothing wrong with that. I also try to remember that Karma, is indeed a bitch, or maybe a bastard. We're not guaranteed the glee of seeing someone get their comeuppance but I do believe meanness is a boomerang, with sharp knives. I was reminded of this just today, so I make a small detour to explain how and why:
When I lived in Key West several years ago, there was a couple who, from our first introduction, had great disdain for me. We're talking Stinkface, if I approached. I had no idea why. Maybe it was because Greg and I had some means, a lovely home and looked happy. They just didn't like me. I once greeted the stout one at a public event with a perfunctory "It's nice to see you" and he eplied, "I know" before walking away to join his partner, who resembled a weasel. They were grasping, pretentious, showed up at the opening of an envelope and would push themselves forward in photo ops. One teltale sign about them: neither could hold a job long, even though one made sure he was always noted as a Dr. in captions. (A doctorate in what, I still do not know.) Their mouths seemed to run far ahead of their skills or work ethic. Not surprisingly, with most bridges burned, they left Key West, to what they assured everyone was greater glory elsewhere -- Tampa, I think. And now I see on Facebook they have mounted a GoFundMe to help get their car out of the shop. The cost is $1500. The narrative they weave is a sad one of transportation and mounting storage fes, but what it tells me is they have no savings. Can't they call a friend? A family member with a credit card?
Were they humbled, posting this for the world to see and, hopefully, contribute to? Maybe, but I doubt it. They think it's their due.
Do I take great glee in this? Nah. Nor do I fashion into some hybrid of motivation, becuse I never felt the need to impress them. I'm not even sure it is hate I feel, although they clearly despised me. Mostly, I was mystified at their dismissal. I have enough friends and I probably don't need more, but that they so clearly didn't want to be counted among them was confusing.
I am a great proponent that everything in my life, the most glorious times and the most miserable moments, happened for a reason, and it formed who I am as of right now. They gave me strength, mettle, determination. I became defiant...probably more than I need to be. I certainly know my cyncism, if not sarcasm, was spawned by it. The key is surviving them as they happen.
Hate can help you survive, and even prevail.