It has become so much easier to choose hate over love; after all, hate is spread out everywhere – in your day-to-day life, on social media, in the news… We are taught to hate what we don’t understand, what we don’t agree with, and what is different from us or our beliefs.
We separate ourselves from the things that don’t align with what we believe is right, unconsciously creating a small cocoon of “Us”, the sole trustable message, and emphasize how big and evil the “Them” we’re up against is. In truth, though, we need to do the opposite and create a bigger “Us” so that there’s only room for a smaller “Them.”
The choice is yours
I’ll be the first to admit how comforting it is to think of the world as black and white, where one is “right” and the other is “wrong.” If a person is/does/believes in something that you agree with, then they are right, they are on my team, I love them. If someone doesn’t believe in something that you agree with, then they are wrong, I hate them. This is a simple, straight forward way of making decisions.
However, the world is anything but simple, and one of the many choices you’ll have to make is whether to embrace the comforting, unrealistic, simple black/white duality or the unsettling accurate grey of cognitive complexity.
Will you keep choosing hate?
It’s often simple to keep allowing ourselves to hate the people whose belief systems differ from ours; people we don’t understand; people we disagree with; people who are mean or indifferent to us; people who have done bad things; people who hate us, or love us; people we consider as part of Them, a separate entity from Us.
The harder, undesirable option is to start choosing to love the people we hate, as well as everyone else. We hold the power to choose to be more understanding rather than to be dismissively ignorant.
Choosing to love
If choosing love is something that you want to start doing, here are some tips that I find helpful:
Remember that you have a choice
No matter how terrible or unlikeable a person is (or seems), I choose to try and make sense of what they’re about.
Always try to find the good
No matter how hard it is, try to find something about the person that you’ll deem good. This doesn’t mean overlooking the things that you consider to be unlikeable about them; it’s more about trying to separate the two.
Be more understanding of the bad
If you can’t find the good, try to understand the bad. I try to do this by asking the person and listening to their answers, without the intention of finding something that I can use against them. Sometimes asking the right questions will be enough, and the person might see how dualistic their view on things is. But even when this isn’t the case, it’ll help you see how dualistic your view on things is.
Keep your goal in mind
Remember, your goal is to choose to love this “bad” person by creating a mutual understanding of one another, despite your differing perspectives, and hopefully work towards replacing fear and ignorance with respect (or lack of fear, at the very least.)
It’s much more difficult to choose to love than to allow hate to dominate, but the latter will always do you more good. Plus, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Love is hard. And for good reason: you have to be intentional about it. You have to decide to choose it. Hate, on the other hand, is so much easier. In the absence of love, it just exists.
However, while hate may be the easier option, choosing love frees your spirit. It is a much lighter toad to bear and it continuously grows you and turns you into a better version of you. That’s why it’s always worthwhile to choose LOVE.