CHOOSING LOVE OVER HATE
By: J. Marlando
Assuming that hate is what we generally understand the term to mean we realize that we often use the term more as a metaphor for unhappiness than an actual deep-seated emotion of dark repulsion. We say things like I hate school, I hate peanut butter, I hate my parents, I hate myself and I hate my job. Invariably all this really means is mere disappointment or some degree of boredom or upset perhaps but nothing much more than anxious irritations. Real hate, on the other hand, can be described as being hostile against something or someone and of experiencing blind animosity, not letting loose of either.
The first question that arises asks if hate is ever grounded in justification. Charles Pierce, a friend of mine, has a most terrifying and painful past in that he was a slave of the Nazis between 1939 and 1945; the duration of the Second Word War. During those years he had everything taken away from him that he valued including the dream of becoming educated. But even more devastating was that two of his brothers and both his mother and father, along with hundreds of other relatives were murdered by the very “masters” who kept him enslaved under the worst and
My point is, if there was ever reasons to hate Charles’ certainly had them. He was not only victimized under the vicious but caused to live indescribable mental and physical torments day after day, week after week; month after month and years after year. One assumes that he no doubt carries a lot of hate in his heart.
He says, "No."
While his many experiences were of deep sorrow and deep suffering he made the conscious choice that when he was liberated he would not hate but would instead only love; that he would pursue a life of peace and gratitude as opposed to anger and resentment. But how does a person accomplish this goal when their mind, heart and very spirit have been corrupted from enduring inconceivable cruelty and unimaginable grief?
“Hate is ignorance,” he says. “It is the neurosis of unhappy people.”
While it is true that all kinds of “bad” things happen to people, the neurotic behavior of hate is, at least in most common instances of the malady, a mode of blaming and living in a mental prison wherein one is self-condemned to forever take on the nature of the victim. When the “victim” succeeds at something it is invariably in spite of the hated object and when the victim fails at something it is invariably blamed on the hated object. I could have done this or that and been this or that if it weren’t for…and soon enough the hater’s life is in a quagmire of unhappiness and anger. “Hate,” as Charles tells us, “is always a boomerang.”
While Charles’ observation is true the person that hates seldom realizes it. Nevertheless, his hate consistently works against him enslaving him to bitter feelings and constant unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if a person hates only one single individual or an entire race. In the end it is self-destructive while (unless physical violence has been used to express the hatred) the hated person or persons are never, in the least, affected. Indeed, in most instances the person who is hated goes along his or her merry way, while the person doing the hating is left wallowing in all kinds of neurotic suffering and emotional pain.
Often hateful anger is repressed because there is no target for it. That is, the hated object may be living a thousand miles away or years into the past and in some instances he might even be dead. Nevertheless, the hate lingers on in the hater as tormenting emotion and repressed aggression. The result is typically much like Woody Allen once said, “I can’t express anger. I internalize it and grow a tumor instead.”
So how does one overcome old wounds and other reasons for hating anyone?
The goal is invariably twofold: The first is to forgive the self in order to forgive the other or others. After all, we have all done certain things in our lives that we regret and wish we could do over. And so, it becomes vital to our own peace of mind to forgive such things and to leave them by the wayside. While it may sound like a bit of an irony, most people who truly hate others actually hate themselves to one level of consciousness or another. In order to forgive others then, the hater must begin with self-forgiveness; unconditional forgiveness! We can after all only forgive others to the extent that we forgive ourselves so remember, you can give what you do not have!
And so, the best path to deconstructing hate and so hatefulness is to forgive the self of all failures and other transgressions; to decide to love yourself unconditionally and so without judgment and to simply let the past go. Once you have forgiven yourself, you will almost certainly find it easier to forgive others.
Living in forgiveness, however, is not an easy chore for many people so it takes really wanting to give up the hate; of truly recognizing the futility of hating. And, for that matter, the toll that the hater endures living in all that negativity not overlooking how all that negativity projects onto those around him, especially those who love and care him!
It is interesting but a great many people who hate others feel that they are being aggressive in their hating. The truth, however, is that they are being self-protective because as long as they are in a hate mode, they cannot be hurt, disenchanted or rejected. Such individuals are typically afraid to love as they have had their love misused or denied by people who they’ve cared deeply about. As a result they have learned to use hate as armor against being hurt. (Our prisons have a large population of such individuals; people who feel uncared about sometimes even by their own parents). The major point here, however, is to inspire people to choose love over their hate. Recall my friend’s story: A man that spent those six horrifying years in Nazi concentration camps. He is over ninety years old now but throughout his life he has chosen to forgive and to love as opposed to hating even his most bitter foes. As a result he has had a life of peace, joy and contentment, the very life we all desire.
It isn’t easy for many people to stop hating of course. Hating is a habit, a bad habit but a habit nevertheless. Today, however, it is widely known that emotions like hate, worry and deeply rooted anger are physiologic. They can reduce the strength of the immune system and as Woody Allen might say, and grow tumors.
One way to rid get rid of hate is to decide to live philosophically and so to adopt a path of love. Perhaps, the following will help you accomplish this:
Today I will love the world and by doing so,
I will walk the path of love.
And walking the path of love, I will be kind.
In kindness there is mercy so I will be merciful.
I will also be charitable.
In charity, there is tolerance and so today I will be tolerant.
Where there is tolerance there is compassion and so today,
I will be compassionate
And where there is compassion, there is understanding.
In understanding there is forgiveness
So today I will be forgiving
And walking in forgiveness, I will love the world and by doing this
I will walk in love today