Let’s discuss hate for a moment. Why, you may ask? The sad truth of the matter is hate is becoming the number one emotion expressed in recent years. It is depressing, oppressive, and painful to witness. Every day we see a landslide of examples of hate, so much hate, and so many ridiculous reasons behind it. The reason I’m diving into this today is one of the many posts floating around Facebook book that shows someone’s status saying that they hope the Pride Parade gets treated like the Boston Marathon, clearing referring to the bombing. Who in their right minds wishes that kind of pain and devastation on someone else?! It’s infuriating. It has got to stop. I have never understood how people can be so comfortable wishing ill on others. It has never made sense to react to things you don’t agree with, with hate and malice. Hate is a double-edged sword. You will strike others but you will also cut out the most humane pieces of yourself fostering that kind of emotion. I have decided one of the things that allows hate to continue its killing spree is complacency. We want things to be better and more positive. We are sickened by the horrible acts we witness in the news and social media, but what the hell are we actually doing to change any of it? We are all couch warriors. Spewing more hate at those who have committed heinous acts, instead of figuring out real solutions.
Why do people think it is okay to not only spewing verbal assaults, but to also physically assault those people, places, ideals, and beliefs that differ from our own? Why are we so lacking in tolerance? Why have our differences become the perfect excuse to be vile human beings? How do we look at ourselves in the mirror each morning and believe we are doing well? When did shaming another person become celebrated? When did degrading and berating someone become the cool thing to do? When did vile behavior cause more pride than humble behavior? Why are we so scared of the ways in which someone can love another person? Why are we threatened by someone’s personal choices in living their lives? Why do other faiths scare us? Why is it acceptable to say “My religion is the only true religion”? When did we become so egotistical as to believe we know all of the answers? Why is hurting someone so much more pleasurable than caring for them? Why must different mean warzones and violence? Where they hell did our tolerance and compassion go?
Now I’m not trying to sound holier than thou because I can guarantee I’m just as guilty for wanting change and not being sure what to do to make that change happen. I’m far from perfect and actually will never strive to be perfect because it’s a trap. It’s a guaranteed failure, but that’s a conversation for another time. Today our focus is hate, and based on the news reports it’s the headliner every single day of our lives. Constant shootings, bombings, protests that get violent instead of remaining peaceful, people ripping each other apart in online forums, children being vile and nasty for the sake of building their YouTube audience. Whatever the case may be, we are bombarded by hate every single day. It’s beginning to show on our faces. It’s wearing us down. We are complacent in the acts and we are complacent in our reactions to the news. Every single one of us has to find small ways to counteract the hatred that is spreading among us.
I put my efforts into how I raise my kids, and how I conduct myself. I try my best to light the way to better choices. I also work every day to break the cycles of negativity and pain that can be found within my formative years. I try to show them that they don’t have to live in a way that makes them apologize for existing. I remind them that they are exactly as they should be. I also take the time to teach them that their entire lives are made and broken within the walls of their own minds. This is a lesson that took me far too long to learn. I remind them that they must care and love themselves so that they can also share that caring, love, and compassion with others. I teach them how to be helpful, and kind, but firm. I want them to know it’s okay to say no and that people should respect that. I don’t hide the tough sides of life from them, but use it to remind them to be aware of the world around them. To pay attention to the injustices they may see and to build their opinions based on fact and not rumors or emotions.
You see we don’t have to make big splashy changes to make change happen. We start right in our own homes being the light that guides our children to better choices, beliefs, and behaviors. We don’t stand by and watch injustice occur and think, “Oh, that’s not my problem”. It is our problem. It is a world-wide problem. We have fostered hate and now we have to find a way to cut the cancer out. We need to guide by example, even if it is in small seemingly unimportant ways. We could do something as simple as smile at the homeless person standing on the corner, or hand them a bottle of water or a bite to eat. Maybe you don’t have cash to help, but perhaps just treating them like a living breathing human being is enough of a start. Your kindness counts. The lessons you give your kids count. Your voice counts. It’s time to say enough! Light the way with love. You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind to them. Their beliefs don’t have to be yours. It is possible to be tolerant and respectful without agreeing. We aren’t always going to agree. What’s right for them may not be right for you, but that doesn’t make it less okay. Be the light we all need in this dark world.