I don’t know about you, but I am frustrated with all of the animosity in the world lately. I don’t want to turn on the news to see politicians spouting lies and half-truths about each other. I don’t want to read any more Facebook posts about irresponsible parents. I don’t want to hear anymore LGBTQ bashing. Yes, all lives matter. I’m tired of all the hate.
Can’t we all just get along?
I can be friends with people who do not share my taste in books, music or art. Likewise, I can be friends with someone who does not share my political leanings or religion. I can like people who have a different sexual orientation, a different race, or a different culture. I can see that people are more than just one set of beliefs, one action or one affiliation. Deep down, we are all human, with limitations and imperfections. I accept that.
I may not agree with everything you believe or everything you say, but that doesn’t mean I hate you. Hate is a very harsh word, and it is being tossed around like yesterday’s garbage. Never in my life do I remember a time when so much hatred is expressed by so many people. Hate is a powerful, destructive force. It drains our energy and drags us down. It’s time to let it go.
What if we all learned to get along? What does it take to accept others without hate?
Listen to people whose views are different from your own.
Ask questions. Try to figure out where they’re coming from and what motivates them. Try to understand their reasoning. Read an article that disagrees with your own thoughts in order to better understand the argument presented. It doesn’t mean you will or should agree, it means you are listening and learning. Understanding lessens hate.
Look beyond the torrid headlines.
Headlines sell papers and magazines and get you to click on articles. They are also often misleading. If you read only the headlines, you are likely to have a distorted view of events. To understand an issue, you often have to dig a little deeper. Don’t believe something without knowing the facts. Headlines, and sometimes photos, make you think that issues are black or white, right or wrong. In reality, there is far more gray area. Try to avoid all or nothing thinking.
Get to know people from other cultures and other places.
On my blog, I enjoy interactions with people all over the U.S., Europe, Singapore, Greece, and Australia. I also interact regularly with friends in Ecuador and France. When my friends travel in Africa, South America and China, I love to hear their experiences and stories. Interacting with people who live around the globe offers a different perspective on issues and makes us realize that our way is not the only way, and not necessarily the right way.
Travel as much as possible.
While we can interact with others from home, traveling to other places will help you understand cultures in a way that TV, news, or social media doesn’t. Issues have a more human element when they affect people you have met or places you’ve been. My young friend Marion has traveled, often by herself, from her home in France to almost every major city in the U.S., Canada and Europe. She understands many cultures and is able to make friends with diverse people. In France, hate filled terrorism has demoralized and frightened many. She does not let hate define her or fill her with fear. Fighting hatred with hatred is not the answer. Building bridges is a better way.
Detach from negativity.
You can observe and interact without being part of the hatred. You don’t have to share hateful posts. You can express your opinions and share your view without being slanderous and angry. You can chose to walk away when hateful emotions overpower reason. No one really hears anything when both sides are screaming. Hate spreads because people spread hate. I have noticed an emergence of kindness memes in my social media feeds lately. It is a positive reaction by those who are tired of reading hate fueled missives.
Anne Frank, who was persecuted as a Jew and spent her teen- aged years in hiding from the Nazi’s before perishing in a concentration camp was able to suspend hatred though she had every reason to be full of hate. In one of the final writings in her famous diary she wrote, “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
We can be better and we can do better. Like Anne, I have hope for us, hope that love and kindness win. The opposite is too horrifying to contemplate. We can, each of us, be part of the problem or part of the solution. We can fill our days spewing hate or we can find a better way to deal with our conflicts. We can choose to judge and condemn, or we can chose to see the best in humanity and act accordingly.
I’m opting out of hate. I hope, for the future of all of us, that you are with me.