Stick To Love
“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
In the practice of loving-kindness, we can develop the ability to love people we don’t like and, ultimately, stop hating others. This starts with remembering that the people we don’t like, or even hate, are not fully represented by the actions they took that we found fault with. They are responsible for them and accountable to them, but those actions do not encompass the totality of their existence and value. We don’t know all the loving and kind things they have done, nor all of their personal struggles, challenges, traumas, loss, and personal pain. We do know that people change.
If we look back at our own values, beliefs, and views from ten years ago, we most certainly will find some of them have changed. If we look at our own experience, we may find we have done many things we regret as well. We have also done many things that were kind and we feel good about. As with ourselves, this is true of others. Even the people we may have hatred for have done many things we would approve of and those people also have the potential for change.
We don’t transform others, or our experience of them, through hate. In addition, hate is not good for us, our bodies, our friends, our families, or anyone for that matter. It robs us of our mental, emotional, and physical health, and our ability to improve our well-being and interactions with others. There is no happiness for anyone in hate or resentment. Genuine happiness is found in forgiveness and understanding.
Wisdom allows us to recognize that others do harmful things out of their own suffering and struggles. If we want to address those actions, it is much more skillful to do so with loving-kindness than hatred. When we yell or argue in anger, no one is heard. When we have a disagreement and meaningful discussion honoring the intrinsic value of each other, whether we reach an agreement or not, we are more likely to be heard and there is potential for authentic change. This does not mean we passively accept harmful actions. It means we actively address them skillfully. Our actions speak louder than our words and people respond more openly and genuinely when they are valued. We overcome hate with love, not with more hate.
Today I invite you to call to mind some people you dislike. This is a process so it is better to start with people you dislike rather than people you have stronger feelings toward. See if you can recognize some value in them, calling to mind how they have been helpful to others in some way, or any personal struggles they may have. See if this can help bring a more skillful and helpful attitude in your interactions or thoughts towards them.
The above is an excerpt from one of the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.
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