There’s a lot about life I rather dislike e.g. crime, bad parenting, shoddy goods in the shops, bad-tempered colleagues, dishonest politicians, and the list goes on and on. I bet at some point we all have wanted to blame misfortune, fate, or life itself for not giving us what we think we need. Feeling disgruntled may even be your normal attitude. But if you actually say “I hate life”, it can make you extremely negative, disliking anybody and everybody.
Two people who wrote “I hate life”
On an internet forum one person wrote:
” I hate life. I neither like how it’s been nor how its going. I’ve had it with life. I give up. There is no point in me continuing. Whatever I do and try, it never works out. I can’t get a job. My life is pointless. Every one has made me negative. … No one appreciates me, its all an act.”
And another person said:
“I hate every feature on every worthless face I see. I know the hate and evil in mankind and I hate it.”
If you had been badly done to you may think “I hate life”
These are two unhappy people who are not okay with the world. They appear to see the problem as out there in a sick and uncaring society. If you suffer from chronic illness, are out of a job, got no money or had an unhappy childhood, then you may feel you are a hopeless victim of inadequate health care, unemployment, an unfair educational system, or neglectful or abusive parents – right? But you would also have a problem for, being at odds with society, you won’t feel at home in the world and won’t get pleasure in life. And maybe you wonder will you ever feel differently?
Here are just three things you can do that might help.
1. If you think “I hate life” then learn to criticise fairly
We may live with the experience of sickness and suffering but to reject the world as broken, is arguably an unreasonably jaundiced view.
Yes, there is a lot that is bad with life and it would be silly to go around with rose tinted glasses. But often in a desire to find fault we avoid looking at ourselves. Instead we criticise others unfairly, exaggerate their failings, jump to conclusions on flimsy evidence, or see everything in terms of only black and white when really there are several shades of grey.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” (Mark Twain)
If you say “I hate life” because of a mood of despair then you have probably drifted into a cynical attitude that denies anything of value.
2. If you think “I hate life” then use anger constructively
To say “I hate life” also suggests that the bitterness, that came from bitter experiences, is still with you. If so, you are probably in a constant state of private complaint against the world and there is the danger that your bitterness can eat you up.
“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, because hate in your heart will consume you too.” (Will Smith)
Often, there is not much if anything one can do about the bad side of life. But occasionally it can be possible to use the energy of your anger to do something constructive. Instead of taking on the passive role of a victim of swindlers, hypocrites, and social nuisances and stewing over their behaviour, it may be possible to get your anger out into the open and do something about it. If you have been fearfully hiding away from challenges you might try facing life head on. Why not stand up to malpractice and bullies, whilst realising you can’t fix all the world?
You could go to an anger management class and learn how to effectively assert justifiable anger in socially acceptable ways and get it out of your system rather than let it smoulder away inside. Learn to distinguish between destructive and constructive anger. Discover how to watch out for that kind of angry frustration which comes upon us when perhaps for good reasons we don’t get what we want from someone or don’t get our own way. People who do get up your nose will not deserve condemnation despite any initial feelings of contempt you might have for them. But you might be able to influence them.
3. If you think “I hate life” then recognise the positives which make life worth living
If you say “I hate life” then instead of only seeing the bad side of everything and everybody, why not try to see your cup as half-full rather than half empty? This might mean looking for something likeable in someone you don’t take to. It might mean searching for something you can sympathise with in a person who is against you. Instead of giving up on someone why not try to develop the relationship?
“Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded.” (Jimi Hendrix)
You may want to give up on someone when you feel vulnerable in their company but if you stick with trying to communicate with them you may be surprised at finding a positive feeling of involvement.
Finding a warmer feeling towards others comes more easily when we are looking for the good in them and being ready to excuse them when they behave badly e.g. by being non-judgemental and being open to the possibility of any mitigating circumstances. According to Emanuel Swedenborg’s visionary experiences of an afterlife, finding fault with others is an aspect of a hellish state of mind whereas a heavenly state of mind is looking for the good in others.
“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” (Sai Baba)
Copyright 2014 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems