How To React To Hate Without Letting It Destroy You

Aki Tolentino
Aki Tolentino

Over the course of the last 19 years I have lived my life in a way that was very privileged. I’m a white, cisgender male with a fairly well off family, access to running water and ability to never go to sleep hungry. I understand that my life has been made infinitely easier than the lives of some of the other members of the human race. I don’t regularly have to endure torture or abuse, I never wake up worried that today will be my last, I don’t have to walk miles just to get access to something that every human needs, but despite all that there are things in my life that have made it difficult.

Every time I hear someone say, “Your life is easy, don’t complain,” I get incredibly annoyed. Saying that you can’t complain because your life is easier than someone else’s is like saying that I can’t be proud of my achievements because there’s probably someone who has done better things.

No matter your sexuality or anything else, we all have to deal with hate in our lives. As a Bisexual man who suffers from various other things, I know this fairly well. I’m incredibly fortunate to have grown up around all these loving and accepting people who don’t mind me being myself, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the hatred of others in the world, local or international is still hurtful.

There are many on this earth who use their religion as a justification for their own hateful views, quoting the Bible: “Man shall not lay with a man as he would a woman, it is an abomination and both men shall be put to death” or something of that ilk is said in Leviticus, which as anyone who has had a run in with a Christian bigot will know, is quoted all too often, I could list all the things that the bible explicitly forbids but given that I’ve already broken a few of them (none of the bad ones) I don’t think I need to.*

I am myself a Christian, so hearing these views from others in my church family is especially painful. The way I have been brought up is to let people have their views so long as they do not do the following: force them upon others; attack others for not agreeing; condone things that have resulted in pain, no matter the recipient; or purposefully and knowingly belittle anyone for any reason.

This may sound like I was raised by hippies in a field, but living like this is, in my opinion, incredibly rewarding. The idea that you don’t despise someone who has a difference of opinion to you but instead embrace them is sometimes seen as insane, but I see it as the only way to let people know that there is more to someone than their sexuality, gender, race, religion, etcetera.

Letting someone know that their views are thought of as disagreeable and having a civil discussion on the matter will fix much more than violence, anger, and general arseholery ever could. If you fight anger with anger you only further your opponent’s reasons to disagree with you. It may be that when you have a conversation with someone about your opinions that you are both equally as set in your ways, but if you accept that and move on as people, then life for both of you will be much easier.

It is entirely possible to completely disagree with someone but still be friendly to them and talk nicely about them. I refuse to believe that any man or woman is entirely evil, and has never done any good. I am not a fan of Donald Trump, but he has in the past purchased property for the sheer fact that it was run by racists and secluded people based on their looks, and then proceeded open it up to everyone. That isn’t something a man who is entirely evil would do. Even if he did it to improve his public image the fact that he did it none the less, which must have caused inconvenience to some degree, shows that he has at least some good in him. My way of confronting people is to look for the good in them and embrace it no matter the person or their action. TC mark

*I will say that if you would like to know what is forbidden in the bible, my recommendation is to read it.

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