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Love, not Hate

April 21, 2010

Be Happy

The words we use are not the only things that define us.  Certainly, one of the best old saying of all times, “Action speaks louder than words,” tells us this is true.  But, our words, the language we use, filter how we see the world.  Our words have meaning, and even when we take a word, strip it of its conventional definition, and use it for other purposes, I believe that original core meaning still has an effect on us.  I want to talk about one word that is used so frequently now that people don’t even seem to realize how it affects themselves and the people who are subject to hearing it ad nauseum.  It is the word hate.  Everybody hates everything now.  Simple minor inconveniences are now hated, as are any little thing that isn’t quite right.  How do we distinguish those things that are truly loathsome from the simply disliked? 

When my kids were little, I didn’t let them say the hate word.  I would always say “love, don’t hate.”  It seems impossible that the concept of that word would not affect the inner sanctity of the speaker in some way.  I am a one woman movement to abolish the use of that word for colloquial purposes.  I say we take back our language and make it mean something again.  These are our beloved words and they are counting on us to maintain their integrity.  I feel so strongly about it, that I wrote about it in Cole Creek.  In the excerpt below, 14-year-old Toni is suffering over how her mother abandoned her by taking off with her boyfriend Jason.

    It was one of Toni’s favorite pastimes to despise him and she let herself fantasize all the different ways a person could hate someone.  Hating someone was a no brainer for a regular fourteen year old, but Toni had to work at it.  Her mom had conditioned Toni to never use that word.  All her friends used it.  Everyone in the entire world got to use it, even teachers.  Not Toni though.  Once in a while it slipped out.  “I hate this class,” she would say with her friends, joining in on the collective hating of all things.  But the word would land with a thud in her mouth and sit in her short-term memory as a friendly reminder to feel guilty.  For a while she used the word just to express anger toward her mom.  Her mother would respond with her usual retort. “Hate is for Nazi’s and other types of tyrants, not for things in our world, Toni.  Love, don’t hate.  Use the word dislike.” 

            Well, she didn’t dislike Jason.  She didn’t dislike that her mom took off.   No, she hated it big time with a capital H. A. T. E.  In the end though, Toni realized that using the word hurt her as much as it offended her mom.  She felt false using it, like a liar, except for thinking about Jason.  Yep, she could easily be happy about Jason rotting in a concentration camp.  She wouldn’t feel one ounce of sympathy.  Mom said over and over that hate is for evil.  There you have it.  Jason and evil were practically the same word.

Sweet Love

The worst part of it, is that the word has slipped out of my own mouth on more than one occasion.  I actually feel just like my character Toni, because it lands with a thud out in the world and the chemistry of my mouth actually changes.  I will work harder though, to love and not hate, to have the words that exit my mouth represent the thoughts I wish to convey.  It is an ongoing work, but well worth the effort.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 21, 2010 6:43 pm

    It is true!! Everytime I might try to say “hate”, I do feel gulity! I still say “love, not hate” to all my friends and customers and whoever might be around at the time. And still I say “hate is for Nazi’s”!! It sticks with you. I ask people sometimes, “Do you really hate cucumbers? Or just dislike? Hate is a pretty strong word.” On thursday night at work at Sushi Garden, one of our regular customers Lance said he hated the word stellar! I had said it as a joke to a coworker, and the other patrons around him agreed with me in that to “hate” the word stellar was a bit extreme to say the least. Anyways, love not hate is a two woman mission!! Lets spread the awareness :)))

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