The past week on Social Media I have seen an overwhelming amount of hatred and venom being spewed into my newsfeed and it makes my heart bleed a little. There is so much needless pain and suffering being imparted on the world and it hurts to watch it unfold.
Very few of us were not impacted this week in the wake of the decision in Ferguson, but was not the only news that was painful. More allegations of sexual abuse against children, campus rape, and more cases of injustice in battles of parenting in divorce courts. Of course, there is also the news of war and other atrocities taking place around the world.
As a society, we have to report the news and we have to read or watch the news to be informed, but what I see is that in response to what offends our sensibilities, we resort to sending out hateful and hurtful comments that are often bigoted and myopic. We have what I see as a righteous need to be heard, and so instead of taking time to reflect, we spew forth negativity that serves no one.
Have you ever noticed how hatred brings you down? No matter how right you feel the cause is, no matter how much you align with it, negative thoughts and words never actually make you feel good – they just feed on themselves and leaving you to carry more hatred with you until it becomes an unknowing burden on you.
Perhaps I see the world differently than most, because what I see when I see this type of negativity, is love.
I am not a spiritual leader, nor do I practice any religion. I am not more educated or enlightened than anyone else and I haven’t been blessed by anyone or rubbed against a sacred stone.
However what I saw this past week as the dire news of the days unfolded was many men and women across America and from around the globe were unknowingly united in the heartfelt belief that hatred and bigotry had no place in our world. As their posts started to show up, it reminded me that there was still a lot of love being shared.
I began to notice a succession of posts in my newsfeed from people giving three things of daily gratitude which is something I practice regularly, so I was inspired to share mine as well. A succession of ‘likes’ came my way and some lovely heart felt comments.
As I watched this positivity unfold my heart started to feel a little more whole. I saw how Activist and Rapper Prince Ea reached out to the people who burned down his garage and sent them love and forgiveness. I’m going to say that again in case you missed the importance of that. He gave Love and Forgiveness for the people who violated his property and caused him loss and pain.
Do you know how when you’re bleeding and it stops and it get’s all warm and sticky? That’s what I started to feel right then when I saw that.
You see, Love heals Hate
At times like these, what I notice repeatedly is that anger and hatred can be incredibly loud and it’s easy to get lost in its voice. However the quiet and calm of compassion and reason wins. So the process I follow is to turn down the volume on hatred, and fill the room with love.
Later in the week I stumbled across this video from The Newsroom in my newsfeed. It’s the beginning scene of the HBO series explaining why “America’s Not the Greatest Country Any Longer… But It Can Be.” If you’ve already seen it I would ask you to watch it again, and notice when the crowd starts to really listen. What strikes me about this clip is that it’s not about America; it’s about something way bigger than that. It’s a message about listening to humanity.
At the beginning of this video he begins to shout his cause. He is angry and assertive, this is his time to be heard, whether the audience likes it or not.
But when this really gets incredibly powerful is when he speaks more kindly and becomes emotive. Check it out around the two minute mark. The impact from this clip comes not from what he says, but how he says it with passion and conviction. And how his audience responds.
He raises questions about our morals and who we’re blaming. He talks about our communities and neighbors, about living by our word and removing our ego, and he talks about our aspirations for a better life. And as he talks, everyone in the room is listening. You are listening because he is emotive, unscripted and raw.
At the very end, what he says is, “The first step in solving any problem is in recognizing there is one”.
And the problem I recognized this week was hatred, the antidote for which is love.
I’ve noticed a culture of blame is endemic amongst us. We want to blame our poverty, our upbringing, our perpetrators, and the system that doesn’t support us. While there are many injustices in the world which really do impact us, I believe we will not fix them with more hatred.
There are three things that I encourage my coaching clients to practice in order to stop living in the hateful negativity of blame and denial.
Have An Open Mind
It can be outrageously offensive when someone calls you on a closed mind, but we all need reminders to look outside and view things differently. What are we not seeing in the picture? What other perspective can I look at this from?
Often we are so stuck in our belief system, that we can’t see another way. I recommend the practice of putting your own beliefs under scrutiny if you are going to judge someone else’s. This helps to restore perspective and starts a pathway to acceptance.
Heal From Your Hurts
When we have pain we have two choices, we can be stuck in our bitterness and anger and let it weigh us down, or we can put it down and move on. Acceptance of what has happened to us or to our loved ones is the first step in healing. You can’t wind back the clock and change it, you can only accept it, and if you want to make the conscious choice to move forward you need to pay it it’s dues and look for the gift in the experience.
When you have been a victim of crime or injustice this can seem almost impossible, but from every experience, we can grow, and there is always a gift in the darkness. Healing is done through forgiveness, which we often confuse with needing an apology, yet the forgiveness is for us not the perpetrator of our pain. This is a powerful step and it moves clients exponentially towards love and compassion.
Compassion says, “I see your pain,” and if we are truly to look with perspective and an open mind, with an effort to heal, we must view others compassionately. Compassion doesn’t make others faultless and it doesn’t mean they are blameless, compassion acknowledges that they have traveled a different path to you and one that perhaps they may not have chosen for themselves.
When we view others compassionately, it is impossible not to feel love in your heart. It may sound altruistic, but if you try it you will see. I see it every day.
Love is the light that shines from within. It’s self-driven, self-powered and its magnitude is blinding when it’s joined with more love.
When love meets hate, it wins every time. We don’t even have to give love to those that have harmed us or offended us we just have to be love.
Photo: Flickr/Howard Kang