Updated: Nov 10
Although there are many things that may seem totally outside of your control in these difficult times, proactively preventing and actively addressing hate is not one of them. Preventing and stopping hate starts with YOU!
This morning I saw an article about compassion fatigue, which can occur when people are exhausted and burned out from being exposed to and/or responding to traumatic situations. Although the term is often used in healthcare settings, it's now being more widely applied.
It got me thinking about another type of fatigue. One that is related - and can be - the root cause of compassion fatigue. And that is Hate Fatigue. Maybe you haven't heard the term before (and maybe it's a term that doesn't exist yet), but I'm coining it today.
What is Hate Fatigue?
It's the sadness, depression, and exhaustion that comes from being exposed to - and constantly living with - the effects of hate. Hate for a particular group of people, (Antisemitism, Islamophobia, immigrants, black people, gay people, transfolks, Asian people during the height of COVID) and hate between individuals such as neighbors and colleagues at work.
Hate is a terrible thing.
It can cause physical harm to those directly involved (like the pogrom on October 7, 2023 in Israel and the resulting war against Hamas in Gaza), physical harm to others not directly involved (like the murder of a six year old Palestinian child in Illinois) and fear, mental anguish and other negative psychological effects from constantly seeing and hearing hateful activities on the news and social media (which we are all suffering from now).
As I said. Hate is a terrible thing. And its unnecessary. No one needs to hate.
Like kindness, hate is learned behavior. And like kindness, we learn it from our leaders. If your parents hated a certain group when you were a child (Jews, Blacks), then you might have learned hateful words and behaviors by hearing and seeing what they said and did. As an adult at work, if your leaders allow or promote hateful behaviors to certain groups, you may learn those as well.
Hate leads to more hate...and harm...which leads, in turn to only one thing: more hate and more harm.
And it leads to what I have now. And what I hope you have too. Hate Fatigue.
Today, I am going to ask you to join me in breaking the cycle of hate.
Because, hate harms all of us. I'm tired of it and even though it may seem that the problem of hate is too big, too complex, too complicated or too scary for one person (like you or me) to deal with, it isn't. I can take action, to prevent and eliminate hate and so can you.
Here's a list of things you can do that I've compiled:
Please feel free to print it out, hang it up, share it with others. And most importantly, start taking action.
Call out hate when and wherever you see it. On social media, on TV, at work and home.
Don't use terms (like 'from the river to the sea') which others could find hateful and harmful.
Be mindful of what you post on social media. It could be inciting hate and causing harm for others.
Do kind acts, speak kind words and think kind thoughts.
Because the only thing that breaks the cycle of hate that leads to harm and more hate is kindness.
Kindness, YOUR KINDNESS, you kind actions, your kind words, your kind thoughts and your kind leadership, prevents and eliminates hate. Let each of us make a deliberate decision to live and work in kinder ways so that no one ever again has to be harmed by hate or have Hate Fatigue.
#NOHATE starts with YOU!