This one threw me. I admit it. I think a great deal about growing in love. But I don’t often think about what I should be hating.

Dr. Cloud recounts a time when a new business partner learned of some debt owed by the partnership after he bought in. He scheduled a meeting with all the partners. He told them all firmly and clearly, “I don’t mind problems. Business is about solving problems. But I hate surprises.”

In many ways, what we love and what we hate define us.

In many ways, what we love and hate defines us. Click To Tweet

What we love we want to draw closer to ourselves. What we hate we want to move further from ourselves. I have reflected often on growing in love and acceptance. But Dr. Cloud offered me an insight into thinking about what I should not love and accept. He challenges his readers to think clearly about what they are going to choose to hate.

Hate the Right Things

What would you think of a person who said they hate arrogance, lying, innocent people being hurt, harmful schemes, evil practices, telling lies about others, and things that stir up dissension among people? That sounds like a pretty dependable person, eh? And it’s because of what he hates. He isn’t going to take part in these things and he is going to move against them in his life. (BTW, this is a list of things God hates – see Proverbs 6:16-19).

What do you hate? Can you make a list? What we hate protects what we love.

What we hate protects what we love. Click To Tweet

But hating well isn’t only about choosing the right things to hate. To hate well, we must also learn how to focus and express our hatred and rejection of certain things.

Hate Objectively not Subjectively

Subjective hatred is a pool of unfocused hate that is already bubbling around inside of us. It is waiting to come out. Subjective had is pre-loaded hat looking for something on which to unload. We’ve all done this to some extent. We’re frustrated about something in our lives (for instance, our job). That boiling cauldron of negativity gets spewed out onto others in quantities dramatically disproportionate to the issue that set us off. Subjective hatred turns molehills into mountains. Subjective hatred hates the doer of the thing instead of the thing itself.

The answer is to make subjective hate objective. This may require a little (or a great deal of) personal digging. Narrow your focus like a laser. What exactly is it that you hate? What would you hate even if your favorite person in the world did it? You don’t hate your husband. You hate his disorganization BECAUSE it bleeds over into your life when your home is cluttered and your credit card is rejected because he forgot to pay the bill. When you focus in on the object of your hatred, you protect your relationships and other things you love. You can say, “I love you, but I really hate your disorganization because it affects me. I am embarrassed when I go to buy something and the credit card gets declined. How can we make sure this doesn’t happen?” Now you can work toward solving a problem instead of unloading negative emotion on a person.

When you learn to hate objectively, you can also learn to confront with calmness and kindness situations involving things you hate. You can speak quietly and firmly because you have become clear on what you actually hate (instead of blasting someone or taking that guy down a notch).

Dr. Cloud reminds us that we get what we tolerate. We need to make our values — including what we hate — intentional if we are going to move our lives forward in positive directions. So, to hate well we need to

  • deal with our subjective hate,
  • get clear on our objective hate, and
  • build our skills in using constructive love to deal with things we hate.

If you haven’t been following the series, read these posts to get caught up:

  • Thing 1: Dig It Up. Successful people get inside themselves to find out what’s really going on. They are self-aware and continue to grow in self-understanding.
  • Thing 2: Pull the Tooth. Successful people face into difficult things and deal with them instead of putting them off (unless waiting is the most appropriate thing to do).
  • Thing 3: Play the Movie. Successful people see their decisions and actions in a long-term context.
  • Thing 4: Do Something. Successful people take responsibility for their own attitudes and actions. Things may happen that are beyond their control, but successful people move forward rather than blaming their circumstances.
  • Thing 5: Act Like an Ant. Successful people know that every big job and accomplishment is merely the compilation of small steps. Bread down your overwhelming tasks into a series of small tasks. Then do each small task trusting that they are moving you toward your goal (which they are).

Also, please forward this post to others that you think might benefit from it.

Peace to you,

The purchase link above is an “affiliate link,” which means that I receive a small commission when you purchase this item through my blog. I never recommend anything that I haven’t used myself. And it doesn’t seem unreasonable that I should derive a small compensation from the publisher (your price doesn’t change) for making you aware of this excellent resource.