Monday, April 7, 2014

Hating hurts

Back in college*, I knew this girl. She was everything I couldn't stand; she was whiny, she apologized for herself 30 zillion times every day. She needed help with everything; and if I couldn't help her when she asked for it, she'd apologize for asking and then ask if I didn't like her anymore. In short - she had very low self-esteem, and was really, really annoying.

I tried telling her to 'please go away'. I tried being a little mean, shutting the door in her face and walking away from conversations in the middle. She came right back. I told the R.A. that she was a 'problem' and could they please switch my dorm rooms to another building? He said 'no, that's not enough of a reason' and wouldn't let me do it. Friends asked me 'how do you tolerate her' and 'what is the deal with her, she knows she's not wanted?' I told them I didn't like her, that I wished she was gone.

Since I couldn't make her go away, I started avoiding anywhere I might run into her. I kept away from the student union, I turned around and went the other direction when I saw her coming. When I did go back to my room, I jumped whenever the door made a noise, thinking it was her. By the end of the school year I was feeling pretty bad about her, about dorm life, and about school altogether. Then the semester ended and I never saw her again.

Now I'm wondering - what would today's me think of old me? What would I do if I met someone like this now, perhaps at work?


Hating someone is no fun for the hater - I was distracted so my studies suffered, I was catty and mean and I don't like myself that way. I had taken an official 'position' - I didn't like her and I told everyone I thought this way. Taking a position is kind of like joining a political party, once I join it I will defend it to the end.

If I went back in time and talked to old-me, I might tell myself that by keeping this position, I was hurting myself. I needed to change my position and stop hating her. I needed to see the situation differently. Perhaps I needed to have empathy for her. She was amazing (as we all are) and deserves respect for getting up every day and putting herself through her day.

Do you work or live with someone right now, who you don't like? Do you think having empathy would help?


*Some of the elements of this story have been changed to protect identities.


SL said...

It does my heart good to know that hating hurts so much. A woman I worked with hated me, for no reason that I ever understood. I always treated her professionally and civilly. I'm glad to know she made herself more miserable than she made me.

ES said...

Nothing productive to add -- just wanted to let you know i read it! :D :D

Janet said...

Thanks for reading ES!

SL - It sounds like you are saying that it's good that it hurts people when they hurt others. I understand that urge to 'hurt back' or to want to have some kind of karmic justice in the world.

Do you think that applies to you too? Are you miserable when you hurt or are mean to other people?

SL said...

I'm miserable when I hurt other people unless they deserved it. I probably take less vengeance than I am entitled to.