A focus on hate in society can be debilitating. Many believe that to stand up for what is right, an argumentative attitude is necessary. Unfortunately, argumentative attitudes only further complicate things. Many mistakenly decide that force may be required to change minds. But like Martin Luther King, Gandhi and other humanists have realized, hate only begets more hate.
In order to find some type of middle ground or resolution, love must be brought into the equation on some level. Why? Following are some great reasons!
1. Love increases compassion and empathy. Compassion is defined as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune". (Dictionary.com). When people enter into conflict with a sense of compassion, they feel the pain of their adversary. It makes them realize how they would feel if they were in their adversary's shoes. Compassion is essential in bringing about change during times of conflict. Likewise, empathy, "the psychological identification with feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another" (Dictionary.com) is also essential in bringing about change. Until we can understand what someone else is going through on a personal level, we truly don't know why change needs to take place.
2. Love promotes more discussions and less arguments. How many times have you tried to "get down to business" when anger is coloring your perspective? Anger is like a flame that burns anyone who gets too close. Anger is a natural facilitator of arguments. It is nearly impossible to be objective when the flames of anger are burning bright. Love, on the other hand, makes us more capable of being objective, thus facilitating more discussions. And it is possible to have discussions without anger being involved. It's perfectly okay to agree to disagree-and much healthier than fighting, too!
3. Love helps us to identify with an adversary's perspective. When we are able to identify with another human being on the level of humanity itself, anger is automatically driven to the background. When we realize that we are all essentially searching for the same things on the level of being human, we experience unity and forgiveness. Unity and forgiveness are critical in bringing about essential, peaceful changes.
4. Love creates an atmosphere of acceptance. When the kindness and compassion of love enter any picture, an atmosphere of acceptance is cultivated. This is a widely understood topic even by giants in the movie industry (like Disney) with thousands of movies being centered around the topic. Even children's movies (one of my favorites entitled Brave) speak of not only accepting others but also accepting ourselves....a beautiful mindset with a ton of benefit!
5. Love reduces pride. Now don't get me wrong...pride in itself is not a bad thing...unless it is allowed to become the predominating mindset. An inflated sense of pride causes us to believe that others owe us something. Some synonyms of pride are conceit, egotism, vanity and vainglory. (Dictionary.com). How many times have you tried to reason with someone that is convinced they are overly important and you owe them the world? It is darned near impossible to reason with people like that. What is the outcome of vanity and an inflated self concept? Argument! And usually arguments with those types of personalities don't turn out very well!
6. Love increases a sense of value and worth among people. Let's look at the definition of love. Perhaps I should have earlier, but the definition proves this point. Love is "a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection as for a parent, child or friend." (Dictionary.com). Love is easy when it comes to those closest to us. It comes naturally. But when you're talking about your enemy, it can be much trickier. Love with strangers and acquaintances is a decision, a life style you choose to lead. It is responding with dignity to someone who you may not necessarily agree with.
I created a quote a while back that said "Lay down your weapons; embrace and be one; Forgiveness will reign when the battle is done." I got some backlash about this one! But my meaning behind it was "Treat others with respect, as you would like to be treated. Only then can you mend broken mindsets and societal patterns."
How can we expect to find peace among the dissension when we aren't even willing to lay our differences aside? It's impossible. It will never happen until we make the decision to live with more loving attitudes!
7. Love increases understanding. When someone comes to you with a request, you must have a sense of understanding about what they're talking about! Love cultivates a sense of understanding. That "aha" moment when we realize what someone else is going through makes all the difference in the world when it comes to us accepting them and being more loving. Love breaks down barriers, arguments and all forms of hate and prejudice because it allows the beautiful knowledge of understanding to emanate among the souls of those discussing different scenarios and situations! Understanding definitely diffuses arguments!
8. Love promotes respect. The nature of love is the nature of respect. And the nature of respect requires that respect be given in order for it to be received. When you respect someone, you care! You listen, you lend a hand, you really want to make a difference! That's what love is all about! It is impossible to say you love someone or want to make things better for them and yourself without experiencing some form of respect. Respect is a precursor for the kind of caring that meaningful change requires.
9. Love promotes hope and possibility. With hate, there is little to no hope involved. There is pain, anguish and agony. With love? Well, there is the hope of a better future because people are willing to discuss problems and understand each other's situations! Hate leads to discouragement. Hope leads to enlightenment!
10. Love promotes a sense of responsibility. Hate? Well, it creates an environment where people feel helpless. They become despondent and stoop to lower types of emotions and interactions such as apathy, anger and resentment. Love creates a sense that everyone can make a difference. When we each believe we can make a difference, our sense of personal responsibility rises. So what's better for our society? Helplessness or an increase in caring and personal responsibility? I think that one is pretty self explanatory!
The truth is we can make a difference. Each and every one of us. Even if we only influence one other person for the better, think of the ripple effect that can have on an entire society? And the reality is, most of us are able to affect more than one other person. Many of us are able to affect hundreds of people throughout our lives depending on where we work, where we live, who we associate with, where we go, etc. Love is a powerful force for more reasons than those I just listed above. If we all make the choice to embrace it, what a beautiful world this would be!