“It’s easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” Confucius
Why is it that hating someone – perhaps someone who has hurt or wronged us –so easy? For one thing, hate is automatic response or reaction to being hurt. We don’t like feeling pain or disappointment, so our ego naturally looks for an outlet – a way to blame someone else for what we are feeling. We falsely believe that hate will protect us from the other person or somehow shield us from future pain. But, in reality, hate does nothing but churn and eat us up. It can also cause us to do things we may not normally do – yell, act out or be harmful to someone else. We then regret our actions and the hate then turns inward, creating a vicious cycle that leaves us bitter and angry. But, what if we used all that same energy to try and love or have compassion for our enemy? Even though it may feel absurd at first, what if we have the intention instead to look for the good that exists as a way of alleviating our pain? There is no doubt that loving the person that harmed us can feel vulnerable and maybe even inconceivable. But, what shifts in us when we view the person from the perspective of compassion is that we no longer feel so heavy or angry. We can begin to let go of our pain and see the gifts of having that person enter our lives. And, instead of feeling vulnerable, finding love for the person we have so hated actually makes us feel stronger and able to withstand life’s future storms with a new resolve and understanding.
Weekly Path to Peace: Love, not hate.
- Think of someone you hate. And if hate is too strong of a word, think of a person that you have been upset with or that you are having difficulty with. Begin to track how much hating (or being upset with) this person has cost you? Have you lost sleep, had negative reactions, spent hours worrying? Really connect with what holding onto your hate is costing you.
- Instead of holding onto your hate, begin by finding compassion for this person. Imagine loving this person for all they have brought you, taught you and are here to show you. Each time you have a negative thought, simply shift to sending this person your love. It may not be easy at first, but keep at it. Notice what shifts for you and what can become available to you as you open yourself to love.