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Understanding and Avoiding the Hate Trap Published: Sunday, October 21, 2007 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

A strong sense of injustice resulting in bitterness and resentment in commonly coupled with extreme anger.  The net result of this dangerous mix is hate, a truly toxic emotion at all times in all persons.

Just as love is the most powerful positive emotion, hatred is the most powerful negative one.  Resentment, bitterness, and anger are dark channels to this harmful passion. 

Many people seem to believe that love and hate like the same flip sides of a coin that is resident in every person.  Research does not support this interpretation.  There is very little, if any, love in the person who reflects extreme bitterness, resentment, anger, and hate.  Hatred demands more and more emotional space until it crowds out all positive emotions.  Raw hate is a dangerous and very unhealthy thing to sustain in a person.  This is a close to evil that someone can get.

Hate begins with grievance, and as Dr. Fred Luskin, the co-founder and director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project presents in his book Forgive for Good, this condition in any circumstance, complaint of resentment a person think is unjust or hurtful.  A grievance can be real or imagined and it occurs when two things coincide: 1) Experiences in life that we didn’t want to have happen. 2) We deal with the problem by thinking obsessively about it to much.  When these two things happen at the same time, we basically rent out too much space of our minds to a particular hurt, regardless if you have reasons to feel that way.  If you rent 90% of your mind to tenants of resentment and bitterness, you will have a host of difficult problems in your psychological building, damaging the whole physical, mental and spiritual facilities.  The person will quickly move to being cynical, mistrusting, pessimistic, angry and very prompt to commit serious mistakes while interacting with other people. 

Doctor Luskin uses the metaphor of a television set, with the person deciding what he/her will tune in or out.  Offenses and mistrusts are equivalent to sex channels.  If a person watches these types of programs, the result tend to be inner insecurity and sexual tension or confusion.  If the person decides to watch a good program that portrays purity, respect, dignity and consideration, the person gets educated and will achieve greater sense of will-being. The question is, what channel is healthiest for you?

The endless loops of grievances stories are actually ineffective attempts to enforce unenforceable rules.  Many people find themselves victims of rules they cannot enforce, and sometimes they pretend to become creators of such unenforceable rules for others.

The healthy solution is that even though organizations strive for uniformity and standardization, in the world of globalization, agility management, creativity, innovation and quick response, leaders, managers and professionals in general have to make a clear and sustained effort to stop playing as the traffic cops of the organization reality.  Not everybody’s rules will ever be the same as yours.  The best you can do is to live up to your own execution and behavioral standards. 

“Les Miserables” is a book that has impacted millions of people.  In this beautiful piece of literature the main character, Jan Valjean, is condemned unjustly for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family.  Upon his release from prison, hardened by the injustice and years of hard labor, he steals silver from a priest who gives him meal and shelter.  When caught with the items, the priest refuses to accuse him of stealing and load his pack with even more silver.  This act of mercy changes Valjean life forever.  He becomes a man of mercy and benevolence. All that was needed was of someone to be compassionate with him.

So, the point that human beings should focus on their critical choices, which are: 1) Survival (how to continue, adapt and make a difference in the way to the future). 2) Security (how to create a safe environment adequate for execution and results).  3) Self-esteem (how to increase the sense of self-efficacy, and thus of self-respect). 4) Love (how to truly care for others). 5) Self-expression (how to share your ideas, perspectives, opinions and recommendations with dignity and respect). 6) Intellectual development (how to create value by way of acquired knowledge and wisdom). 7) Spiritual growth (how to develop your relationship with God).

 As Plato suggested, a life has to be constantly examined.


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