Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that hate is a great burden to bear, and I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve been thinking about love and hate a lot these days. Since the election it feels as if there an air of disdain on both sides of the fence. My nerves prick any time someone brings up Trump or anything of a political nature. It feels like you never know who is going to be offended. This is a feeling of great burden.
The hate I sense is bigger than our country, however, and smaller than that too. There are world wars and acts of injustice happening over religion, politics and race, and there is hate within my family from other family members. Hate does not discriminate, whether it be worldly, national or right at home. Now matter how you see it, it’s painful.
As a life coach, I often think about how I can help others alleviate this pain because when you are emotionally wounded, you tend to project your pain onto others. And a world where you are walking around inflicting pain on other people is void of love and kindness. This is not an environment that is conducive to raising my son.
Hate is only suffering from your own pain that you project on to other people.
So as a coach, and as a mother, I’m searching for ways to bring more compassion to the world, if only to one person. The solution is quite simple; you must find empathy for the other person. The truth is, you have no idea what he or she is suffering from that causes them to inflict pain on you. It’s hard to imagine, especially when what they say and do causes hurt, that the linguistic daggers have nothing to do with you. Hate is only suffering from your own pain that you project on to other people. An internal story ingrained or learned.
Showing compassion toward another person that you disagree with is to remember that they, too, are human. For example, it would be easy for me to hate certain members of my family because of all the hurt and cold shouldering they have done. Their actions can make me feel like there is something wrong with me, but when they throw the daggers, if I can step back and think about what might be causing them to say or do these things, even if I don’t fully understand, it cools the anger and the tears. I am able to remember that their behavior is not about me, and that allows me to love them despite how they treat us.
Here are some useful questions to ask yourself when you have an interaction with an “enemy.”
If you know them, what was life like for this person while growing up?
What wounds did he or she suffer from others that could have made him or her more likely to hurt you?
What kinds of extra pressures or stresses were in this person’s life at the time they offended you?
Asking these questions does not excuse or condone their behavior, but rather helps you to better understand their areas of pain; those areas that make them vulnerable and human. Understanding why people commit destructive acts can also help us find more effective ways of preventing further destructive acts from occurring in the future. Showing them compassion spreads love and kindness instead of hate, and that is a much lighter burden to bear.