Everyone knows that love is good and hate is bad.
In theory, anyway.
But in practice, hate is an emotion we collectively condemn while simultaneously embracing.
The truth is, most people think hate is perfectly fine as long as it’s justified. Directed towards someone who deserves it, hate is a-ok (as far as our society is concerned).
Unfortunately, hate is precariously subjective. In some cultures, it’s the norm to hate people of a different religion or sexual orientation; to hate women who want an education or a career; to hate those who look, act or think differently in any capacity. Hate varies by nation, society, religion and lots of other factors. But lots of cultures are ok with hate.
In ours, we’ve taken steps to stem its tide. We’ve become more accepting, more tolerant, more open-minded … for the most part. We’ve got a long way to go. And we still think hate is a totally appropriate response to certain circumstances.
Here’s an example: if a person commits a horrific violent crime, how do people react? The interwebs start teeming with suggestions of horrific, violent things we should do to that person. I’m certainly not immune to feelings of abject horror and disgust when it comes to certain types of crimes (it’s hard not to hate hot-car dad, for instance), but is meeting hate and violence with more hate and violence really the answer? Does vengeance ever win?
Hate isn’t something we can turn on and off at our convenience. Lots of people operate via the it’s-not-ok-to-hate-another-ethnic-group-or-someone-who-has-a-different-sexual-orientation-but-it’s-totally-ok-to-hate-someone-who-did-something-I-don’t-agree-with. But hate is an all or nothing equation. We’re either for it or against it.
Hate isn’t conducive to anything humanity wants to accomplish. And it’s certainly not conducive to happiness.
Ask yourself, has hate ever made you feel happy? Has it ever inspired you to be better, to do better, to treat others better? Has it ever done anything but make you feel bad? Hate doesn’t inspire compassion or empathy or joy, and aren’t those the only emotions worth shooting for?
Better to be indiscriminate with your love, than laser-focused with your hate. Hate is poisonous, no matter how seemingly justified or righteous. I’ve said it before: hate and happiness cannot coexist. Hating your perceived enemies or people who have more than you or someone who committed a violent crime will never heal the world, and it sure as hell won’t heal you.
I realize it’s easier said than done to love everyone and embrace limitless compassion. I’m not saying I’ve mastered it, but I’m constantly reminding myself to stay that course. Successfully doing so brings me a sense of peace. Negative judgments and hateful thoughts do exactly the opposite.
If this woman can let go of hate, the rest of us have no excuse.
Hate has never accomplished anything, no matter how justified. But love sure as hell has.
Love is the only answer — it’s the only force that heals wounds and changes minds and makes our lives better. It’s the only force capable of transforming the world. Loving ourselves and loving others is EVERYTHING. It’s the key to happiness and a better world.
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
The next time you’re faced with an instance or news story or situation that inspires you to a hateful response, stop and ask yourself, will hating this person or group or situation add to my happiness? If the answer is honestly yes, go for it. If it’s no, maybe try a different tactic. Love wins, y’all.