Why The Person You Hate The Most Is Often The One You Love The Most

by Paul Hudson

I doubt that I’m alone in saying that I don’t like most people. I’m fairly certain that most people don’t like most people -- which, when you think about it -- is amusing and interesting in itself.

The concepts of liking and disliking things is likewise interesting. You’d think that such a crucial process, a process that governs all of our decision-making, would be objectively measurable. It, however, isn’t.

When we talk about liking or disliking something or someone, we don’t say that the individual is likable or dislikable.

We don’t say that that something or someone is liked or disliked; we say “I” or “we” like or dislike that something or someone. By nature, to like or dislike is entirely subjective. The real question is: Why does this matter?

It matters because what or whom we like or dislike reflects more about us than it does that something or someone under the microscope. Of course, we may believe that the reasons we have for liking or disliking something or someone would be shared by everyone else, but the fact is that they wouldn’t be.

For any person who has a certain opinion, you’ll find at least one other that has exactly the opposite opinion -- and as we’ve already established, because liking or disliking something or someone are subjective, they as well are nothing more than opinions.

Good and bad are not the same as likable and dislikable. There are people in this world who like bad -- even if it’s for twisted reasons, bad does give some that pleasurable feeling we experience whenever it is we come into contact with something or someone we like.

The only way we know whether or not we like or dislike someone or something is by the way that someone or something makes us feel.

It’s incredible that even the littlest things can make us feel something emotionally. What’s even more incredible is the depth of our emotions and how only other human beings seem to be capable of showing us those depths.

You can like and dislike things, but you can only truly love or hate other people. Only people are capable of finding such creative ways of pushing our buttons.

There is one complication that makes understanding love and hate a bit difficult. Because they are such elevated states of emotion, they often overlap -- making it difficult to differentiate the two.

The truth is, you can’t always differentiate between love and hate. Emotions aren’t so black and white; they’re more like complex cocktails served at mixology bars -- lots of different ingredients blended together to make one unique emotion.

This isn’t to say that every person we hate we also love. Don’t be ridiculous. But it does mean that it's sometimes the case. Most often it’s between two lovers, or past lovers rather.

When you find yourself in such a situation, how you interpret those emotions that you’re feeling will make all the difference.

If you interpret that love/hate cocktail as primarily love, then you will hopefully learn from the experience, grow as an individual and continue the healthy relationship.

If, on the other hand, you interpret the emotions as under the umbrella of hate, then you’re likely going to deny yourself love and instead break things off. Unfortunately, doing so more often than not catches up with you. Let me explain.

With the understanding that loving or hating someone reflects more about us than it does about the person in question -- just as does liking and disliking -- in mind, what sort of things do we believe can spark such an emotional response from us?

Lots of things that have little relation to us can make us feel strong emotion. The things that make us feel the strongest emotions, however, are always those that do involve us directly.

It’s the things that we feel either benefit or harm our egos that solicit such intense emotional responses. Think about it. We love the people we love because they’re either someone that our egos want or someone that reaffirms our personal value by loving us in return.

We love to love because loving is as close to selfless as any want or yearning can possibly be. We love to be loved because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

This means that we hate people because they are hurting our egos in some way. They may be lashing out at us and demeaning us. They may be disrespectful toward us or simply using and taking advantage of us, belittling us in the process. Or… they may be telling us some truth that we don’t especially want to hear.

That’s the thing about egos… they come off so strong and resilient, but at the first signs of potential bruising, they push you to run for the hills. In order to love someone deeply, you have to let that person in -- all the way in. That someone has to know you inside and out.

The problem with this is that when you allow someone to see the real you, it often doesn’t line up with the version that you have of yourself. If his or her version isn’t quite as spectacular as your own, it takes a mature and intelligent individual not to be offended.

It all comes down to the person you are and the person you believe yourself to be. Most people -- statistically, you’re likely to be one of them -- refuse to take a good look at the person they’ve become. Most people simply don’t want to know -- or are too afraid of what they’d have to come to terms with.

The true problem arises when we find an individual we fall in love with. For the stretch of the honeymoon phase, most people don’t point out the flaws of the other.

It’s once you’ve been dating for a while and you get very comfortable with each other that your partner is bound to show you a side of yourself that you aren’t especially excited to address.

Most people will then feel insulted, attacked and hurt -- maybe they'll even lash out in response. Things escalate and the love that we once felt has somehow mutated into hate.

All of this, surely, could have been avoided were we mature enough to understand that it’s okay for the person we love to point out our flaws and weaknesses.

They aren’t doing so to hurt or insult us -- although this will also vary from individual to individual -- but to allow us to see ourselves the way everyone else sees us. It can be difficult to get a full view of our lives from a first-person perspective -- we need someone to help us see.

Instead of hating your lover for showing you your flaws, ask him or her to help you work on correcting them. If they are truly flaws then you should be happy to address them sooner than later.

A relationship is a partnership, and partnerships are only worth something when both parties are working toward improvement and further success. Your instinct may be to hate those that hurt your ego, but keep in mind that our egos aren’t capable of running the show.

They aren’t equipped for such complex reasoning -- they only respond, never act proactively. You can listen to your egos, but at the end of the day, you need to use rational thought to make the right decision.

Before you call it quits, make sure the person you once loved, whom you now hate, isn’t the best thing that could have ever happened to you.

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