How do you define hate?

By: Alia Hoyt

Overcoming Hate

A man participates in a Washington, D.C. protest against hate crime issues in November 2007.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Dr. Glaser notes that hatred was probably a good thing back in the days of primitive people, when it provided the necessary motivation to attack or avoid potential enemies. But hatred can actually be physically toxic. A recent study published in the journal Annals of Behavior Medicine found that a "love-hate" relationship with a friend could actually cause a person's blood pressure to rise, at least in the short term. The study deduced that just being in the same room as a friend who tends to be critical, unreliable or unpredictable can send blood pressure up. Furthermore, many experts believe hatred causes a host of other physical problems, including reduced immunity to illness, migraine headaches and increased vulnerability to diseases like diabetes and cancer.

While it's doubtful that anyone will ever be completely able to rid themselves of hateful thoughts and feelings, it is possible to minimize its presence in everyday life. One Buddhist quote, when translated to English, reads:


"…This eternal wisdom is to meet hatred with non-hatred. The method of trying to conquer hatred through hatred never succeeds in overcoming hatred. But, the method of overcoming hatred through non-hatred is eternally effective. That is why that method is described as eternal wisdom."

Many religions espouse similar sentiments, citing that the best way to combat hatred is through forgiveness and love. Psychologists from encourage people experiencing feelings of hate to identify the cause or causes of these feelings and how hatred is negatively impacting their lives. To overcome these feelings, the site urges people to determine whether or not real or imagined circumstances caused the hateful feelings and figure out whether their thought process was rational or irrational at the time these feelings were developed. Learning to "forgive and forget" is vital to overcoming hatred, as is the ability to admit that these negative emotions take serious emotional and physical tolls.

Unfortunately, until all human beings can learn to practice tolerance and understanding, it is doubtful that hatred will ever be fully eradicated from the world. 

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More Great Links:


  • Begley, Sharon. "The Roots of Hatred." AARP The Magazine. May/June 2004.
  • "Buddhist Quotes/Famous Buddha Quotes."
  • DeAngelis, Tori. "Understanding and Preventing Hate Crimes." Monitor on Psychology. Nov. 10, 2001.
  • Dittman, Melissa. "Cults of Hatred." APA Online. Nov. 10. 2002.
  • Glaser, Jack, Ph.D. Assistant Professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley. Personal interview conducted by Alia Hoyt. June 4, 2008.
  • "Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Clients." APA Online.
  • "Hate Crime Statistics in the United States." May 21, 2008.
  • "Hate Crimes Today: An Age-old Foe in Modern Dress." APA Online.
  • "Hate Violence Today." California Association of Human Relations Organizations
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  • Ilori, Kemi. "The Effects of Hatred, Anger on Your Health." Sun News Online. May 20, 2008.
  • "The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act / Matthew Shepard Act." Human Rights Campaign.
  • "Managing Traumatic Stress: Coping With Terrorism." APA Online.
  • Murphy, Jenny. "Should Crimes Against Gays Be Considered Hate Crimes?" Apr. 26, 2000.
  • Norton, Amy. "Love-Hate Friendships May Raise Blood Pressure." Health Central Web site. June 25, 2007.
  • Sengupta, Somini. "Racist Hatred in America's Past Stirs Emotions at Exhibition." The New York Times. Jan. 24, 2000.
  • "Teen Suicide is Preventable." APA Online.
  • Tomes, Henry, Ph.D. "The Need for Hate-Crime Laws." APA Monitor Online. July/Aug 1999.
  • "Tools for Anger Work-out: Overcoming Hatred."
  • YWCA USA. "Hate Crimes Fact Sheet." Civil