There are some things people experience that, compared to others, they hate. It's a common part of life, and learning from these bad experiences can help one better understand themselves. What becomes puzzling, though, is when the thing they hate is expressed in such a positive light that the contrast is severely shocking. When one shares the story of their experiences, your own vision of it can become dwindled. The stress, pressure, and mental exhaustion - all told with high emotion and a lackluster of detail. This leads to my overall question: Why would you promote something to others that you yourself expressed such hatred for?

Swimming. Something that can be highly beneficial. Exercising, competitions, survival, or just mere amusement - it's something that many go through at least once in their lives. The conversation was about how North Meck Swim Tryouts would be in two weeks time. Everyone looked to our friend for guidance, knowing she had been on the team the prior year. I remember how nostalgic she looked, her limpid eyes slowly clouding with memories. “Oh, yeah, you guys should definitely try out.” Those who were listening hummed in acknowledgement, but I was very conflicted about her choice of words and even more so with the words that followed. It's safe to say I was quite confused. Wouldn't her first thought be to complain? Or was she speaking in a neutral tone so as to not give falter to the rest of us? As someone who overthinks, I tried desperately to figure out a reason for their thoughtful words of encouragement. There were too many possibilities for me to choose just one, and just like that I fell victim to something I hadn’t even experienced yet. A memory that wasn't mine clouded my judgment, and I quickly doused any thoughts of trying out with one simple sentence.

After talking about the whole ordeal with Sai Cureton, they mentioned a quote that really stuck to me: “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” A quote written by Zig Ziglar and expanded on by many on the website “Tiny Buddha.” The message of the quote was to focus on the good things in life, like celebrating instead of criticizing. While this gave me lots of ideas for my friend’s choice of words, it also pushed me to think on a larger scale. Like, globally-large scale.

People can choose to do anything, and there's a reason people choose to respond positively in poor situations. Bob Marley makes a good example of this in his song “War,” released in 1976. There were dozens of verses speaking on the general troubles of the world, and the fears of becoming what you hate. This song is the perfect representation of what we wish for the world to be, but know it may never attain. This is due to the world being full of hate. Or more specifically, those who hate. If it can be thought of, it can be done, and twisted into so many realities you wouldn't believe it until it's already done. One of the main ways hate is shared is through the simplest human interactions. For example, if my friend had chosen to obnoxiously complain about swimming instead of encouraging us to try out, some - if not all of us would have had a less favorable opinion of it. Those who never swam before may have decided to never try at all, and while that simple choice may not have had any affect on her, it could have been detrimental to others.

In the end, I supposed there isn't one right answer to this question, seeing as it's completely opinion-based. However, after days of research and writing, I should at least answer it for myself, right? And if not for me, then whoever ends up reading this. To put it simply,  someone would promote something they hate because, while they may have had a bad experience with it, that's not guaranteed to be the outcome for others. It can be understandable to want to hide this thing with the goal to protect others from the potential bad it can create. While the intentions are true, it's not exactly the right way to go about it. Let others experience it for themselves, and while the chance for them to also have a bad experience is still there, they also have a chance to experience something great. You can warn them of potential risks, or give advice and tips, but you shouldn't try to prevent it completely.

“Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” I believe my friend has this mindset, and despite adverse experiences, she still swims today. Whether that reason is in spite, or with passion, she is a clear living example of what a positive mindset can do. Even if she hates swimming, she has clearly tried her best not to let that hate spread, and I believe that in itself is commendable. It can be quite cringe to try and give advice after all this, but what's an opinionated piece without it? All I can say is, next time a topic you loathe comes up, try to take a second and think if sharing your negative views will do more harm than good. Try to find a way to share these views in a way that, while being able to freely express yourself, can also help or inform others. The world is full of hate, but we can all try our best to change that, even if it may seem small at first. Try to keep a positive mindset, and things may turn out a little bit better. 🆅

The opinions expressed within this piece are solely the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of North Mecklenburg High School or the Viking Voice.