Introspection: Why You Hate In Others What You Hate About Yourself

by Sue Giesler

I was watching an episode of a new crime series on TV the other day when a Mexican girl confronted her father saying, “You wish you were white. You wish you were white so they’d like you better. You hate yourself and you hate us for looking like you.”

According to famous German novelist, Hermann Hesse, she’s right.

He said, “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.”

Whenever you’re judgmental of others, you’re, in fact, judging yourself.

When you point your blaming index finger to someone, you point three fingers to yourself.

Does that mean if you dislike the rapist, the war criminal, the pathological liar, you are identifying yourself with these people as well?

Not necessarily.

What Hesse was referring to, and what Freud and Jung referred to before him, is that kind of dislike has a very particular energy.

You’re triggered by another person in a way that’s obsessive and almost irrational.

When you hate the same kind of people wherever you go, what you dislike in them is likely something you dislike about yourself.

Sometimes what we consider an imperfection in other people pushes our buttons or touches aspects of ourselves that demand our attention.

Think of the mother who pinches her daughter during dinner when she wants another portion of food, but fills her plate a second or third time; her daughter’s gluttony confronts her own difficult relationship with food.

It’s the hypocrisy of the mother who whips her son to teach him not to hit other people, or the homophobic person who hides homosexual feelings.

Bestselling author, Debbie Ford, said in her book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”:

 "We see only that which we are. I like to think of it in terms of energy. Imagine having a hundred different electrical outlets on your chest. Each outlet represents a different quality. "The qualities we acknowledge and embrace have cover plates over them. They are safe; no electricity runs through them. "But the qualities that are not okay with us, which we have not yet owned, do have a charge. So when others come along who act out one of these qualities they plug right into us."

But, what if studying those you hate was the right path for self-improvement?

Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Observing those you hate is as important to bettering yourself as studying your role models.

Everyone is your mirror. If you accept this and apply it to all your relationships, they’ll be positively transformed by this simple knowledge.

Identify what it is about the other person that triggers such a heavy emotional response and you will know why.

Most of the times, we hold others to a standard we impose on ourselves.

If your lazy coworker is getting on your nerves, maybe it's because you created the idea that only by working extra hard do you deserve your place in the company.

You don’t allow yourself to slow the pace, and if your coworker doesn’t match your amount of dedication to the job, he or she isn’t good enough.

Through our interactions with others, we come to understand ourselves better.

When you can name what it is you hate so much about others and identify why it resonates so deeply with you, you can accept it.

You can accept this is who you are and then work on what you could improve to be more at peace with the person you see in the mirror every morning.

Try seeing each person as unique and complete, just as he or she is. Start with yourself and extend the compassion to those around you.  Some people can’t help being who they are, just as you can’t help being who you are most of the time.

The only way to live peacefully with the traits we like less in ourselves is to acknowledge them, own them and take responsibility for them.

You’ll only feel whole when you embrace all aspects of yourself.