It’s not as black and white as it seems
Merriam-Webster defines love as a ‘strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.’
Our own experience of love and how we define it is as unique to each of us, as our own humanity. For some of us love is a multitude of warm, positive emotions. For others, it is something to be fearful of. Some of us share it. Others hide it. Love can bring families together. It can also tear families apart. Love is complex and multifaceted.
Hate is no less complicated. The same source defines hate as ‘extreme dislike or disgust. An intense hostility and aversion.’ For some, exhibiting or projecting hate results in the desired outcome. For others, such behaviours can be dangerous. Some share their hate. Others hide it. Hate can bring people together. It can also tear people apart. Like love, hatred is complex and multifaceted.
Love shares many similarities with hatred. They can co-exist in a relationship. Albeit with negative consequences. We refer to such dynamics as a ‘love-hate relationship’. The relationship, a contradiction in terms. The term, an oxymoron. How can such a relationship sustain itself with two opposing, powerful components?
I have been in a love-hate relationship. It didn’t work out. I have faced the hatred of others towards me. Such dynamics signposted me to love. Such love, that I had not experienced before.
So what has hatred taught me about love? I have learnt hatred is a tool used to attempt to destroy love. Such a dynamic can lead to dire consequences for all concerned. I have learnt that hate attempts to be the bedfellow of love. A somewhat wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have learnt that hate can lay dormant. Until such a time, that an opportunity for revelation presents itself.
Love is a virtue. Hatred is not. Love is inextricably linked with other virtues such as compassion, loyalty, honour and respect. Hatred has no such friends. Hatred can destroy both its victims and proponents. Love does not.
Hatred has taught me that love is compassion and kindness. That love is precious. And that we should always feel gratitude for love.
Originally published in Medium publication ‘Blue Insights‘ 07/09/19.