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Hating Hate

Serena Mao

Being disliked isn’t a pleasant feeling: humans are inherently social creatures, and we all like approval and validation from others. However, a fear of being disliked often causes us to become increasingly cautious, afraid that any minute detail in our actions or words could trigger someone to adopt a negative view of us as individuals. 

This haunting fear seems to linger in the back of our minds––we don’t want to express our opinions because we know someone thinks differently; we don’t make a joke because others might think we’re trying too hard to be funny; we don’t approach another person because they’ll see us as desperate and lonely. When these feelings overwhelm someone, they create an individual who largely keeps to themselves, only speaking and acting when the course of action is 100% socially safe. As a result, although this approach may be effective in diminishing one’s negative reputation, it also works to diminish one’s positive reputation as well as their reputation in general.

Assuming that we seek social approval, expressing ourselves and putting ourselves out there increases the number of people coming into contact with us or acknowledging our presence, thus increasing the likelihood of them forming a positive perception of us. Of course, these same “risky” actions also increase the propensity for hate or disagreement. However, acting too much on the safe side only constructs a strictly neutral reputation: no one seems to know what you’re like, what you think, but since they can’t think of anything negative, you simply exist. Sure, there aren’t any negative feelings, but the impact you make on others’ lives is minimal. Often, people can agree that being more involved is more ideal than isolating oneself and staying far from social circles.

Consequently, it’s unnecessary to avoid being disliked. If you are socially active and speak your mind, there will inevitably be those that disagree with you or find you annoying or irritating or whatever other negative feeling they can dream of. But in order to live fulfillingly, it’s necessary to be interactive with society and the people around you. It’s impossible to be famous without haters. In the end, the benefits of reaching and branching out despite the lingering fear that you will be disliked greatly outweighs the potential drawbacks.

About Serena Mao

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