"I don't know how you do it," she said. "I just hate flying." It may have been the 5th time this week I heard that phrase. It's true air travel can be frustrating, annoying and downright uncomfortable but hate is a strong word. Do I enjoy it? Well I am not sure anyone enjoys flying anymore, if they ever did. People talk about the golden age of flight when men were men and women were stewardess. They talk about how everything was included, from meals to baggage. But they forget the tickets cost more in a smoke-filled cabin, the food still tasted like my flip-flops and general safety was sketchy at best. I suspect the same people were saying they hated it then too.
Call me naïve, but I really don't get hate. We use the world regularity in conversation, from vegetables to personality characteristics. Seem that there is a huge list of things we hate. But how can you equate Brussel Sprouts to air travel? Of course, the hate list is probably a lot longer than the love list. Love is another word that people are just careless with. I love my new socks I heard someone say. Is that the same as loving your child? What if you kid loved Brussel sprouts? Maybe I don't get love either.
In some ways, love and hate are the same. They are both all-consuming, powerful and direct our behavior. Physiologically, they look similar. Strong visceral responses to external stimuli. They even get confused, like in the defense mechanism of reaction formation, or like when we cry when we are happy and giggle at a funeral.
Even though they are similar, I don't think I want to hate anything. In fact, the only thing I hate is hate. I used to say I hated onions. Now I just say I don't like them, or the positive re-frame, I enjoy things without onions. If you think about anything you routinely say you "hate," you can do the same thing. Try it, it isn't that hard. If you look at the positives of the negatives, things seem to be a bit better.
Do I hate flying? I enjoy being able to get to see people I care about faster. Security lines? I am glad to see that other people have holes in their socks.
If we stop hating, the only thing left would be love. Maybe we wouldn't get so confused. Acceptance of differences, tolerance, and appreciation for all things will help you be a better you.
So check in now and then with the things and people you love. Give them a seat in first class. Forget your hate baggage, it's too expensive to fly with anyway.
Now boarding for our flight to fulfillment - nonstop.