Make love, not hate.
Love is a wonderful thing, isn't it? It's incredible, the capacity of a human's ability to love. But the more I learn about love, the more I find the meaning to be missed. It is about way more than intimate relationships and close bonds between family and friends. It is a moment-to-moment condition of the heart that guides our way through life and deeply connects us to other human beings. It is fascinating and fulfilling; it fuels our souls and fills our hearts right up to the brim.
Love is being okay with what is. Not judging it, not fighting it, not wishing for it to be different. Loving this moment, this day, this person, this experience or that. Looking for lessons and blessings in it. Love is the highest form of spiritual actualization, a state of forgiveness and flow and emotional fortune. It is a state of being; it's the practice of letting it be.
Lovers are perpetually in this state of being, and so they are invariably going to give, receive and exude all things love. Lovers gonna love.
Unfortunately, as we know, the opposite is also true. Haters gonna hate. We all have some haters in our lives - even though we may love them! Of course there are extreme haters in the world who wage war and induce torture and suffering, but they are outside the spectrum of our discussion today. Low grade haters, or day-to-day haters, are difficult to please, the first to complain, negate, judge or put down. They just seem to be hatin' on everything. Talk about energy draining!
In the relatively short time my business has been online, I have been exposed to some spectacular haters! When there is anonymity and no accountability behind a computer screen, people. can. be. harsh. At first I got very upset by it, took it very personally. I questioned my knowledge and my training, and it shook my confidence as a person. Buuut that was short lived. Because the more I thought about it, I soon came to realize:
Those who are openly nasty, cruel, insulting and belittling are just haters by nature.
It has nothing to do with me. Or what I'm doing. Or what I'm saying, thinking or feeling. I gave myself a lil pep talk: "Do not let it take you off course or shake your confidence in any way. They've just got other negative mumbojumbo going on, and you unfortunately are/were their outlet. Just allow that negativity to repel off you and wish them well with whatever they're dealing with. It's not you - it's not even truly them! It's just their negative state; they just haven't decided to hop aboard the love train yet."
Fact: whether you're a lover or a hater, it's an active choice. It's how you choose to frame the moment you're in. It's the lens with which you view the world. Each instant, you decide to peer through one lens or the other.
We also all know a handful of lovers in our lives - thank goodness! Or more than a handful if we are truly blessed. Lovers raise the spirits of those around them. They support and encourage and accept. They're a joy to be around. Lovers don't spend much time in negativity, they bring attention to the bright side and offer kind words or positive perspective. And it's clear to everyone around them that:
Those who are openly kind, warm, loving, generous and forgiving are just lovers by nature.
I do my best to be a lover in my life, and to raise my son to be a lover. The world can never have too many :) Of course, I have bad days and still get gloomy and grouchy sometimes - I am only human and spiritual development is a practice. But here is a trick I have used when I'm feeling judgey, that you may find helpful to strengthen your love muscle:
In the medical field, there is something called Differential Diagnosis, or "DDX". DDX'ing is the process of considering potential causes of a certain symptom. So for example, if a patient comes in presenting with insomnia, a DDX list may be:
- adrenal fatigue/stress
- poor sleep hygiene/habits
- stimulants or medication use
So whenever I feel the urge to hate on a certain situation, I try to do a quick DDX list in my head. When a mom walks by with three bawling, snotty, misbehaving kids, my judgey self may try to pipe up: "OMG her kids are so obviously in need of a nap. Or a snack, that's it - they're probably hypoglycemic. She has no control over them at all. And they're clearly sick, what are they doing out, they should be home in bed! I would never let my kids behave that way."
But a) I have found that karma has a way of consistently backfiring when I judge others. So if I roll my inner mom-eye at her, guaranteed next week I will be the one publicly dragging my wailing, flailing kid off the floor and throwing him over my shoulder to make a beeline for the exit.
And b) you just never really know what's going on to create what you're seeing before you.
Instead of assuming all things equal and turning up my nose, I discount all the BS from my judgement generator, and try to bring a little love and understanding to the surface. I use my imagination and do a little DDX on the situation:
- Maybe she just lost her job and she's out droping off applications and can't afford a babysitter for her kids. Or,
- Maybe they're doing renovations at home so they have to be out of the house and the kids didn't get a chance to nap and are out of their regular routine. Or,
- Maybe her partner is away on business and today she's got to get the car fixed and get groceries and pick up the dog from the groomers and go to the post office all by 6pm by herself with 3 kids in tow.
- Or worse.
Use this tool to DDX your way to love. This works like a charm every single solitary time. This is also a great exercise to teach children to help develop tolerance and acceptance of others. The drunken homeless man on the corner. The lady who flips you off in traffic. The manager at work with a huge chip on her shoulder. If you create potential explanations for their behaviour, it is much easier to lead with love.
Once you learn to consider some possible scenarios that explain what you're seeing, your heart instantly softens. All judgement melts away and instead you want to reach out and help - or hug.
So for the next few days, try to bring awareness to your energy. What are you showing up as: a lover or a hater? What energy are you bringing to the table? Are you resistant and negative, or are you compassionate and accepting? Do you raise people up or bring them down? Whenever you feel judgements or negativity coming up (and you will, it's totally human nature) try to change your focus and look through the love lens.
When we are judgemental, rude or mean, we are Negative Nancys. Debbie Downers. We're haters. We hijack people's energy and leave everyone feeling drained.
When we judge - even if we're lovers judging haters, we become haters ourselves! - we take the situation for face value and draw conclusions. We "ass-u-me", and that doesn't benefit anyone.
When we DDX, we lead with love...and then give a warm understanding smile. When we show acceptance, we exude compassion and love, and that benefits everyone.