Be Careful What You Hate

For Valentine’s Day, everyone is talking about love.  I am not much of a “me too” writer, so today’s post is about hate.  I am a believer that the line between love and hate is fine.  They are both very passionate emotions, which is why we must be careful what we hate.

I am referring to healthy hate, not embittering, ugly hate.  Not sure what healthy hate looks like?  Well, generally what we fight against and resist are the things we have a healthy hatred for.  Here are a few examples. Perhaps you love dogs and you hate the reality of  dogs being euthanized.  This healthy hatred could motivate you to volunteer at a dog adoption project.  Or, you hate seeing children shuffled through the courts and foster care system so you decide to work with CASA.

I once took my daughter to see Dr. Leila Denmark, a locally famous pediatrician. Dr. Denmark was 98 years old when we met her and still running a thriving practice, the old fashioned way.  When Dr. Denmark was a young pediatrician there was no cure or vaccine for whooping cough (pertussis). During an outbreak of whooping cough she saw a family lose six of their children, who were her patients, within one week.  She began to passionately hate this sickness as she saw more lives lost.  She shut down her practice for six years to work diligently on developing a vaccine. She did not have a grant or any type of funding other than her husband’s income.  Because she hated passionately, hated wisely, and hated well, she successfully developed a vaccine that has saved the lives of countless children. She practiced medicine  until the age of 104 and is now 113.

I have worked as a freelance paralegal for many attorneys who are successful because of their passionate hatred of injustice.   When they meet a person who has been truly wronged they don’t see dollar signs as the stereotype would suggest; they see an opportunity to use their hatred of that wrong to help the person.  I have worked on cases where I have developed a hatred for the wrong that was done. They may not have been on an Erin Brockovich scale, but they are my favorites, because I worked on them with passion.  I would have done the work for free.

I strive to be motivated and driven by my passions without becoming a slave to them.  I carefully choose what to hate and what to love.  What about you?  Did a healthy hatred of something direct your career path?  What work would you do for free if necessary?  Do you hate well?


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Misty L. Sheffield is a freelance paralegal helping solos and small law firms in civil litigation. She has been assisting attorneys for over 12 years. Read More »