When it comes to how I speak I’m not usually someone who exercises a lot of self-censorship. I like to believe that I have the freedom to say whatever I want to say.
At the same time, and despite my often rebellious attitude toward my speech, I’ve come to realize over the years that words have real consequences.
They affect how people perceive us, they affect how people respond to us, and they ultimately affect the kinds of relationships we build with others on a daily basis.
There are certain buzzwords that are important to pay attention to in our daily speech. Buzzwords are words that often create a strong emotional reaction in others. When we say them, they usually have a bigger impact than just everyday, “neutral” words.
One of these words is “hate,” which has a particularly negative connotation to most people. Using the word too much can make you come off as cynical or angry – and that can turn people off from you or make them see you in a more negative light.
It’s also an easy word to replace in our daily language. Instead of saying you “hate” that person, or movie, or song, just say you “don’t like it.”
The message is still the same, but the words you choose to use make you sound much more polite and respectful.
And this isn’t just a superficial change in speech, it’s also a change in our beliefs and attitude.
As Steven Pinker discusses in this video, language is a window into human nature. The words we choose to use on a daily basis reflect our inner thoughts and beliefs.
So by using the word “hate” less, we also become less hateful in our attitude toward the world. Changing your language isn’t only about benefiting your daily relationships, but also benefiting your own self.
My challenge to you is to try and spend just one day minimizing the word “hate.” Try to catch yourself before you say it, and if you do say it then immediately correct yourself, “Well, I don’t hate that person. I just never really connected with them.”
At this point in my life, I like to think I don’t really “hate” anyone or anything. Sure, there are some things I like less than others, but I don’t put the energy into “hating” anymore – that’s draining and toxic, and I don’t need it in my life. When I use “hate” these days it’s almost exclusively in a joking way.
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