Thank you for this!
I hope you don't mind my pouring out a long reply. Your text touches on something I feel very strongly about, so, I couldn't resist...
Odd. For me, it seems to be the other way around. I never experienced a more costly and terrible thing than hatred for another human being. I hated like that once only in my entire life. I don't want to ever hate again.
I think initially, hatred can give a lot of strength and energy, actually, even help you pull through, survive the nigh on impossible, but it's a destructive force and soon, it will develop a momentum of its own. Hatred tends to spread and eat away at you like a malicious growth, to poison and smother your other feelings, as if it wanted to infest, twist and consume everything it possibly can. If it has settled in for a while, it is very hard to get rid of. Especially if there is a 'good reason' or ' strong justification' for it. When almost everyone in what seems comparable to a natural reflex hates such human beings - or calls them 'evil' or 'monster' or 'inhuman'.
In a way, I'm glad I did experience that 'dark' side of myself, learned how powerful it could be. Because I overcame it I know I will always be stronger. It is the side I will not nourish, the one I did and will not let dictate my deeds. I never regretted to let go of my hatred. It was liberating.
Interestingly, I nonetheless frequently, unthinkingly (almost 'innocently') say 'I hate ...' without meaning it. It's a habit of speech which expresses nothing stronger than dismay, annoyance or dislike. For example, I spill something or cut myself on paper and say 'Och, I hate when that happens.', or, after weeks of endless rain 'I hate this weather.' et cetera. Hate is entirely the wrong word to use, as my feelings do not cover even a tiny fraction of what hatred really is.
Love, on the other hand, comes naturally, to me. I fiercely love life. I like and love so much that there is and so many. I love loving, too, I enjoy feeling love for others as much as being loved. I truly believe in love, in all its forms and many degrees.
That hate is easy I wouldn't say, but it's tempting, especially when it already has become our habit to be influenced by it. Hatred takes a lot away from us, eliminates many possibilities and chances, you described that very well. I think where love sets free, hatred holds prisoner, where loves opens us, hatred shuts us down, love creates and nourishes, hatred destroys and stifles. It might be the most fundamental decision we can make, whether we want to love or hate, it's our 'yes' or 'no' to just about anything.
Hatred is hard.
Love gives more courage than it takes, and ten times the strength it asks of you. No matter how much it takes, it never leaves you empty. Love even comes to one who has no courage at all, and gives strength where there was none.