Hate is such a strong emotion. To forget someone you hate requires letting go of certain negative thoughts and feelings.
So, how do you forget about someone you hate?
Christine Scott-Hudson, MA MFT ATR
Licensed Psychotherapist | Clinical Art Therapist | Creative Wellness Expert, Create your Life Studio
If recalling the painful betrayal of a friend, or a particularly cruel break-up, or a time you were wronged, consciously decide to make like Elsa in Frozen and “let it go!” We cannot change the past.
People with high-functioning depression often suffer when they keep repeating hurtful memories over and over in their heads. This is known clinically as rumination. Ruminating on someone who did you wrong, or a mean thing a person said does not serve us in the present moment.
Here is a high functioning depression-reduction guided imagery technique I have developed that you can use to help you become mindful of your ruminating thoughts and more easily let them go: Think of a color that reminds you of the person with whom you are struggling to forgive.
For example, if you had a really boring middle-management weenie boss who was an unimaginative joy-killer who wore beige pantyhose, you may associate her with the color beige.
Or, if you had an unstable friend who wore purple all of the time and acted like an airy-fairy hippie, but who was actually narcissistic personality-disordered and toxic, you might associate her with the color purple, or if your partner of ten years suddenly bought a red sports car and started having an affair with a coworker, you may think of the color red.
Next, take the color that reminds you of the person with whom you are struggling to let go, and imagine their head like a balloon of that same color.
So, your boring joy killer middle management boss becomes a beige balloon, and your toxic friend is now a purple balloon, your horrible ex is now turned into a red balloon.
When you notice that you are beginning to recall the betrayal or offense, imagine you are holding a balloon of that associated color, and then, imagine releasing the balloon and letting it go. Visualize the balloon floating far away, high up into the sky, away from you.
And then, consciously say “I release you, ________.” You can imagine waving goodbye, or saying “Bye, Felicia!” or “Bye, Felipe!” You may add an affirmation like “This does not belong to me” or “I am letting you go.“
In the beginning, you may be letting their balloon go all day, every day! But, quickly, this exercise will train you to become mindful of just how much time and emotional bandwidth it is taking to rehash these old hurts, and you will more easily and quickly identify these unhealthy thoughts and will just let them go.
We have all been wronged. Don’t allow toxic, mean people any more space in your heart, mind, body, and soul.
Think of what you have learned from their departure, and go where the love is. You deserve to be happy. Let that balloon of resentment go!
Symone Lewis, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist | Founder & CEO, Shoulder Bare LTD
Process it however painful
Not wanting to think about something or somebody is a desire not to experience negative emotions, most basically anxiety. The main way to treat anxiety is to reduce avoidance of the unpleasant stimulus.
So if you are scared of spiders little by little expose yourself to the thought of spiders, then picture yourself holding a spider all while improving your ability to cope with the anxiety by being in a relaxed state. This is exposure therapy.
Much of mental anguish is the avoidance of the thing that causes you grief or anxiety. The best way to process grief is to actually process it however painful…it gets better in that you can manage your anxiety and pain more and more over time.
So if you don’t want to think about someone you hate, take a different approach and process anxiety. Go to a therapist and possibly change how you are thinking about the situation or gain insight into why that particular person triggered such a high level of anxiety for you (childhood and such like how you were raised, or a specific terrible thing that this person reminds you of, etc).
Natalie Stoner, M.Ed., CLC.
Transformational Success Coach | Owner, Bloom Where You Are Academy
Focus on yourself
This is going to sound cliché, but I always say clichés exist for a reason. Love is the antidote to hate. In a situation where persistent thoughts about another person are negatively impacting your life, the very best way to refocus and get your mind off of them and instead focus on yourself.
Honestly looking inward is a great first step, taking responsibility for any part of the situation you caused can ease the sting of hatred pretty quickly. If that doesn’t do the trick, I suggest the following process.
Identify the origin of your negative feelings towards the person
Have they harmed you or someone you love? Do they have something you want? Do they embody a characteristic you find distasteful? It is important to dig deep and be honest with yourself about this. You don’t have to share it with anyone and you will get past it more quickly if you dig deep and uncover the real reason.
Build yourself up
Once you have done this, you can use the information to build yourself up in areas you feel a lack in. In my practice I have seen that fear, envy or hatred are often a pretty accurate reverse-compass clearly pointing in the direction of our truest desires (just not with the narrow end). We often know what we want most clearly when looking at the opposite.
Hatred can take different forms and if it is the hatred of a person who injured you or your family in some way there can be several ways to get closure. If there was a crime committed, seeking justice can soothe negative feelings.
Often in these situations, there is a feeling of outrage because a person has behaved in a way that breaks norms and takes advantage of the trust of the community. Check in with yourself. You may find that you can take your outrage and do something positive with it.
Hatred resulting from envy can be a much heavier emotion, a resentful longing, covetous desire for another’s belongings, appearance, qualities, or good fortune that you don’t have but want. It almost always shows us where there are opportunities for growth.
Envy is a message from your deepest self that you are lacking something. It shows you where you have unmet needs. In this instance, using self-love and self-development to fulfill the lack is the fastest way to forget about the object of hatred.
Finally, empathy and compassion can also go a long way to easing your anger, put yourself in their shoes, see if that doesn’t make it a bit harder to hate them.
Certified Life Purpose Coach | Women’s Change Agent | Author, 70 Days of Happy: Life is BETTER When You Smile
Forgive the one you hate
The best way to “forget” about someone you hate, is to let go of hate in the first place. When you spend time hating others, you essentially give them control of your thoughts and emotions. Instead of you focusing on your purpose and strengths in life, you become limited by exerting unnecessary energy on someone who has probably forgotten all about you and is obviously not concerned with how they harmed you.
Therefore, do something positive for yourself…forgive. Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you. When you decide to hate, you lock yourself inside of an opened cage. You become a prisoner while the other party lives life freely. Don’t you deserve to do the same? Live freely, by forgiving.
Time to delete
If you have found yourself in a situation of disliking someone to the point of hatred, be sure to separate yourself from that person, in all areas of your life. You should no longer keep their contact information in your phone, follow their social media pages or hold on to memorabilia that may have been given to you by that person.
Related: Best Books to Read after a Breakup
Hating someone is an extremely serious and potentially dangerous emotion if not handled in a healthy manner. If a particular person triggers this type of emotion in you, there is no reason for you to keep them in your space or vice versa.
If you find yourself giving in emotionally, to “hate“, redirect that focus. Redirect your thoughts. Partake in activities that make you happy and most of all, remind yourself of the positive in your life. When you choose not to mentally relive unhealthy and/or harmful memories, it creates a space for healing and peace. There is no room for hate when you decide to operate in love.
Ben Barrett, LLMSW, CAADC
Clinical Social Worker & Addictions Professional, The How To Social Worker
There is not a surefire way to forget about someone
In my experiences, there is not a surefire way to forget about someone. When that person is someone you’ve loved, it is incredibly difficult to just stop thinking about them. Time will eventually extinguish those fresh feelings of treason, infidelity, or abandonment.
To come to that conclusion, I have experimented with many ways to let go of someone– drinking, reckless behavior, and self-loathing. All those do is corrupt your day with visceral memories that contradict your attempts to mask the deep hurt you feel.
Forgetting about someone you’ve loved is impossible. But you can move on; that doesn’t have to be into another romantic relationship. You can spend time with your friends and family, dive into a hobby, or find other ways to spend your time intentionally.
When we are deeply hurt, our primary feeling is inadequacy. If you can fill that space with real meaning, you have a fantastic shot at speeding up your recovery from that person.
Adina Mahalli (MSW)
Certified Mental Health Expert, Enlightened Reality | Family Care Professional
Remind yourself that forgetting about them is what’s best for you
When you hate someone, the hate can turn into an ugly beast that stresses you out and chips away at your happiness. It can even start to take control of your life, something you certainly don’t want to happen.
So if you’re having trouble forgetting about someone that you hate, try to remind yourself that forgetting about them is what’s best for you. By doing this you ensure that they don’t hold any power over you, and you free yourself from their grip.
When you decide to take your life in your own hands, you allow yourself to be happier, and doing so will make it easier to forget about someone who’s not worth remembering about in the first place.
But if you’re still struggling with letting go, you might need a few extra steps to release the last of the hate:
- Take a picture of the person in question and burn it, and let your hate drift away with the smoke.
- Go to a driving range to hit a bunch of golf balls, letting go of your aggression in the process.
- Simply delete the person’s information from your phone, address book, Facebook account, etc., to cleanse them from your life.
Sometimes a ritual of some source is the best way to move on, so consider which action is most fitting to your personality and situation.
Arlene B. Englander, LCSW, MBA
Embrace life to the fullest
First and foremost, we must cut off all contact with the person who’s offensive.
Secondly, we must live our lives to the fullest. When we’re truly involved in productive, meaningful and pleasurable activities, there’s less time available to dwell on the past.
Making new friends can also be helpful, as new relationships can be distracting and an enjoyable way to spend some new-found time. A new hobby or interest can also involve us and help to keep our minds on the present.
Embracing life to the fullest is one of the very best ways to forget the pain of someone who has caused us pain.
Acknowledge the underlying emotions with courage
Hate, in my opinion, is a nondescript and useless term. Underlying this word, and expression of it usually is the emotion of anger. After all, hate is used as a “strong” word and is thus associated with powerful emotions.
During research on the topic, and examining personal experience, I have come to look upon anger, at its core, to be self-directed. It is hard to be in the direct line of fire of anger, whether coming from others, or self. But when looked at closely, it expresses frustration with the fact that things are not as expected, but as they “are”.
This disconnect is the source of great pain. It is at the core, both emotionally and mentally the source of most anxiety and depressive diseases.
Hate, as the expression of anger, is at its core a cry for help. The deep need to feel acceptance and connection with self and others.
Acknowledge the underlying emotions with courage. Seek out true intimacy, communication, and support. Stop and smell a rose and look at the sunset—and feel like a child in wonderment!
Let it go
We’re living in a time in the world of great possibility and great chaos, as we want to move forward and expand our lives and consciousness in order to bring in more it’s important to remember that in order to let in more, we often need to also let go.
One place we truly need to let go but have a difficult time in doing so is releasing ourselves from past hurts, resentments, regrets, even simple arguments; when we notice something recurring and ruminating in our space it’s a sign that we need some extra healing around that particular subject or person.
Forgiveness is an incredible tool to help us let go and set ourselves free from that which we are attached to, or still connected to even though we don’t want to be.
It sets us up to truly release the stuck energy that holds us back, and by using meditation or practice like the one following, we can experience a deep level of healing and release. It’s a practice we should do daily, and especially when we are faced with dealing with a person or a situation that we dislike, or hate.
The energy of hatred is all consuming and it blocks us from accessing our authentic selves and also from moving forward, so as backward as it may seem, the path forward when we’re dealing with someone we hate is actually forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean to say ‘it’s all ok’, what it truly means is to remove our attachment and our cord to the situation or person. When we ‘unplug’ ourselves from it is where we can find true freedom again and not keep playing into the karma of hatred.
Forgiveness simply means to ‘drop it’, to let it go. This is a difficult task when we’re in a charged situation or relationship, but it’s simply about the practice and setting the intention, the more we release it, the easier it becomes.
Award Winning Designer
Begin by forgiving yourself
I wasted too much of my life on hate, fear, anger and other negatives. Over time, I have learned to deal with these challenges and have become a better person. I cannot give you a foolproof formula for helping yourself, but I can share a few random things that helped me.
Why do you hate another person?
Usually, we hate another person because they have hurt us physically, emotionally or financially. Sometimes that hate may even be justified and other times it is irrational.
And often that hate is magnified because we realize that our own greed, lust, laziness, ignorance, weakness, lack of awareness, etc. opened the door for that person to hurt us so in order to ease our own self-disgust we tend to assign a higher level of anger toward the person who hurt us.
Begin by forgiving yourself for being a dupe or victim. Determine if you were a random victim or put yourself at risk.
Either way, try to learn from the situation. Try to clearly understand why you hate the other person and truly pray that whatever things that person did they will never do to another person ever again.
Make certain that you have done all the legal things you can do to recover any losses for which this person is responsible. If this person committed a crime, did you inform the authorities?
Sometimes in life we get hurt, we get duped, we get robbed, we get betrayed but how much and how long those horrible wounds affect us emotionally, is somewhat up to us.
If you can truly be thankful that you survived and that you learned a life lesson, you can forget the person you hate and stop being sorry for yourself. They have come into your life, caused pain and you learned something. Now they have no place in your life. So why give them a place in your mind?
As corny as it sounds–Things do not happen to us, they happen for us. Even painful situations perpetrated by disgusting individuals can open doors to a better life. Do not waste your precious life force on hate.
Forgiveness will bring you the freedom
Most times when you hate someone, it’s because they’ve done something bad to you. I’ve found that forgiving that person even when they don’t deserve or haven’t asked for your forgiveness helps free your mind from thinking about them.
I spent most of my teenage years hating my father, constantly thinking of him and all that he had done (or not done) to me. 7 years ago, I gained a new faith and decided to forgive him. Little did I know that forgiveness would bring me the freedom from having him in my head all the time. The hurt faded away and so did the memory of him.
It’s almost like with a wound. When it hurts, we are always aware it’s there and we always remember the incident. As the pain fades away, we begin to forget!
Chief Editor, Galbatross Technologies
You can only forget when you forgive
When you hate someone you give them a big chunk of your mental peace, energy, and vibes. By doing so, your thoughts take a lot of bad energy and vibe out of the person or incident you hate. It does nothing but ends up degrading your positive aura and mental health and that is the discomfort or uneasiness you do not deserve in life.
As stupid and obvious it may sound, you cannot forget someone you really really hate till the time you do not forgive them.
I am not asking you to walk to them, open up and tell them about you forgiving and forgetting them for whatever they made you walk through- NO, just for yourself in your heart forgive them, leave the burden of that situation on them, don’t keep it for yourself.
The first step is to not forget that it has happened, no one can change it
Yes, it takes time and it hurts, sometimes it’s so disgusting what it makes you go through, the shell you seep in when you think about it but you have to realize and accept you’re not at fault, you are not the one who should suffer in this situation, you should not be spoiling your day for this.
After that, know that the past has passed and the future is yours to create
The situation and mental state you will go through after 1 month from now is your choice and you have no right to make yourself unhappy or to suffer. How your day goes by should not depend on a person who doesn’t fit in and bring the good in your life, you’re an amazing person and its another beautiful day to live, be grateful and live it to full.
Next, just for a moment, justify the person or the incident if you can
Try to become the bigger person. It will not come easy but you’re bigger than this problem, know it accept it and move forward.
What if they were having a bad day? Maybe the home situation is taking a toll on them, the childhood was so heart wrenching it made them close the emotional gates they have, it can be a bad marriage, in the world we live we have no idea what a person sitting next to us might be going through, let’s not be so quick to judge and hate them.
Give them time and space, forgive them and forget about them. If you still have a need go to a friend, talk to them about the person or incident, share your burden and come back content not heavy.
Now, Fill your heart with good things whenever a trigger thought knocks your way
Think about the brighter sides of your life and what your day has to offer, be grateful and thankful that you are among those who woke up in the morning, found themselves healthy and can think about the life you wanna create for yourself.
That life, those goals, dreams or the love you have in your heart is greater than anyone who, for any reason might bring negativity in your space.
You, my friend, are one phenomenal beast- nature took a little time to create, you be a bomb and walk up to the people of the world and burst your love, positivity, and sunshine on anyone and everyone you touch.
Last but very important, give it time
Whenever you have a disturbing thought, let it come and let your heart feels it, think and then appreciate the good things your life has to offer, slowly you will see the frequency of that person touching your brain waves will decrease, and someday you might not even notice that they will never cross your mind again, not because you shut the window down but because you left them on their own karma, forgave them for the actions and started watering yourself.
The world makes us think it’s not okay to be selfish but you cannot be okay till you’re a little selfish for yourself. If you don’t water yourself first, you won’t be able to nourish the people around and bring happiness to people, as they deserve.
Author, “The Happy Medium book series” | Intuitive Coach LLC
We must disempower the fear
Hate and love are related; they are a bit like cousins. Why? Because emotions erupt and passions flair where love is involved. We are engulfed by seemingly uncontrollable feelings. When we are in hate, the same intensity is involved only in reverse!
We are drawn to someone we love for a variety of reasons including the way they mirror something inside of us and fill a space we may not have known was empty.
On the flip side, feelings of hate flare when we are in fear. Let’s face it, none of us have examined all of our own dark places. Hating someone or something truly sheds light on this.
Actually, hate is fear. Every emotion can be placed in one of two categories; love or fear. What is not love is fear. It is when we can look fear smack in its ugly little face that it loses its power. So in order to forget about someone we hate, we must disempower the fear.
To rid ourselves from thoughts of someone we hate, we can ask ourselves these three powerful questions:
- What about them do we hate?
- Where might we mimic this behavior in thought or deed?
- Where is there room for compassion?
Compassion is a universal neutralizer. Once we ignite it, what seemed to haunt us, is nullified. This is a practical and insightful approach to forgetting about someone you hate.
Founder, The Dada Diary
Choose to walk away
Recently, a very close friend of mine started using the knowledge of my anxiety against me. He used the fact that I had struggled with anxiety previously to bring the state of my mental health into question at any chance he could get. I was paralyzed with confusion, as I truly didn’t feel very anxious at all, let alone to the level he was describing.
For over a month, he found ways to question my mental state in very public ways, using the excuse that he cared.
He would tell me how I was feeling (rather than ask), put restrictions on what and when we could speak, and eventually began attacking me by saying I was “so sick in my head,” due to anxiety, that it was making him physically ill and I needed to go away and get help.
It was cruel, manipulative and inexcusable, and it left me heartbroken and depressed. For a month, I heard versions of these attacks daily and slowly felt hate creep into my heart.
Related: How to Deal with Controlling People?
But before it was too late, I realized something. Allowing hate for him to grow within me was just another way I was letting him break me down. I was done allowing my self worth to be destroyed by someone who truly didn’t love me, nor was a real friend.
So I chose to walk away. I chose to look at the situation, acknowledge this person did not care for me, and simply no longer include them in my life. It seems simple, and it is.
Knowing he isn’t a true friend and didn’t really care or love me, made it easier for me to understand the effort it would take to fight back or hate him was so much greater than any effort I would ever receive in return. So putting no effort toward it was freeing.
When you make the choice to hate a person, you are choosing to carry negative energy and thoughts. What you think is hate for a single person eventually bleeds out into anything that relates to that individual.
And slowly but surely, hate begins to infect your life. You start hating TV shows that you used to watch together, restaurants that you used to take each other to, and even other people like their friends and family. You get the idea.
Hate, whether you acknowledge it or not, erodes you from the inside out and affects your life. It is a heavy emotion that spreads like cancer. Carrying hate means you have relinquished power and allowed an individual to dictate your emotional state at the drop of a hat.
The only way to forget someone you hate is to stop hating them.
Freeing yourself from negative thoughts and that toxic emotion allows room to breathe and grow. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate. Hate indicates you still care and that person can still affect you.
The opposite of love is indifference. Being indifferent allows you to walk away by realizing they aren’t worth it, so you can keep your emotional power. When it comes to the art of forgetting someone you hate, the truth is, it’s impossible. So don’t hate them, just be indifferent. They will become a distant memory in no time.
Birth Doula, The Nurturing Doula, LLC
Distract yourself from thinking about that person
Forgetting someone you hate may be hard. When I want to forget someone I hate, the main thing I do is distract myself from thinking about that person.
People who irritate us so much get under our skin and sometimes it is hard to let go. In my work as a doula, some nurses are rude and mean, which in turn makes me hate them for their actions. I take those moments and remember they are people too.
Forget about why you hate them, let it go. Don’t let them take what matters to you, after all, we are all human. In time you will forget. You will forget why you hated them and forgive them. Which may seem silly now but, you will forgive them for taking some of your happiness and your joy.
Family Nurse Practitioner, North Laurel Family Medicine
Stop hating them
The only way to forget someone you hate is to stop hating them. Anthony De Mello says it well in his book Awareness.
“The three most difficult things for a human being are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are, first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; third, admitting that you are wrong.”
If we cannot develop the skill of working through our emotions then our emotions will control us. Giving that control to another individual in the form of hatred is not a scenario that allows you to forget them.
Obviously, a person can develop new habits, a different daily routine, and grow toward other relationships and this helps us not dwell on the past but the best way to be free from a person you hate is to work through the hatred, not forget the person.
Digital Content Manager, Fueled
Unfollow and unfriend them on all social media
In the long run, forgetting about someone you dislike is more beneficial for you than for them.
We live such short lives and if we’re spending so much of our time thinking about how much we hate another human being, we’re wasting away opportunities to love others.
One solid way to completely forget about the person who leaves that bitter taste in your mouth is to completely unfollow and unfriend them on all social media. It’s incredibly easy not to think about someone if they’re not popping up on your feed!
Eventually, they’ll just become a murky, distant memory, and you’ll find that you don’t hate them as much as you once did — because they’re not active participants in your life.
General Manager, Emily’s Maids
The only thing that can take hate is love
Hatred outlives the hateful and you will just lose time and effort hating on things in the past. You should focus on your greatest gift, the present. Now you can’t live based on hate so set that goal first.
Release all that hate then go back and meditate on your feelings. Then, just focus on the things you love, like your hobbies, movies, tv shows. The most important thing is to surround yourself with people you love. Love is the answer.
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