Like an old barn, many of us have been around a long time. We have withstood a lot of life’s storms, bad weather and hard times, but we are still standing, even though we find ourselves leaning to one side occasionally.

The danger comes when we lean toward anger, bitterness, hatred, cursing and other negative or harmful things. We need to prop ourselves up away from these leanings so we will stand straight and tall again.

This little analogy is particularly appropriate for our times, as we see so much hatred and anger all around us. Those emotions cause so many problems not only in society, but also personally. Hate blocks clarity, clouding our judgment and causing us to be more impulsive and aggressive. Anger can lead to unacceptable actions that we immediately regret. Rather than enabling us to see possible solutions, we become so entrenched in our own position that we become irrational.

Experts say chronic hatred and extreme anger can add to our stress and take a toll on our physical and mental health. Apply that to a business, and the results are financially devastating. The cycle is deadly.

Psychologists say that carrying hostility around can kill us. Wishing evil on someone does more damage to us than to the objects of our anger and hatred.

Hate has a way of bringing out the worst in people. Used as a means to cover up feelings of fear or pain, hatred can quickly become all-consuming.

Most of us have experienced feelings of hatred at one time or another. If you have wronged someone, you should make amends or at least apologize.

Hate prevents you from seeing things that may be beneficial in solving problems. But attacking someone just because of who they are is destructive at every level. Learn to let hatred go, and instead look for positive points instead.

On the reverse side, you will encounter people who dislike you for petty reasons or out of jealousy. But don’t let that unjustified hostility get to you.

WikiHow offers up some great suggestions on dealing with haters.

Ignore them — bullies try to provoke a reaction, so don’t respond. Don’t engage them in any way. If the hater physically or verbally assaults you, get another person or someone in authority involved. Try not to provoke bullies.

Project confidence — self-confidence is your best defense against a hater because they start to realize they can’t get to you. Stay positive.

Avoid them — don’t hide, just stay away from situations where you might interact with haters. If you must confront haters directly, explain respectfully where you’re coming from.

Prove them wrong — the best way to quiet a hater is to show them up. If they say you can’t do something, do it well. Let their hate fuel your ambition.

Nip it in the bud — when you see a situation escalating, remind the other person that you are willing to work together but only in a respectful atmosphere. Let them know you have no intention of tolerating anything less.

An old Cherokee told his grandson a legend about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil and filled with anger, envy and hate. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.”

Mackay’s Moral: Don’t let hate seal your fate.

 

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.