I’m going to say some things today that you may not be expecting me to say.
If you haven’t been totally living under a rock, you’ve likely noticed that the atmosphere here in the US has become extremely volatile. So why should we care? We see all the hatred out there. We hear about it, whether we want to or not. We feel it. We are aware of the violence and oppression it encourages. Chances are, we even know someone close to us who may support it.
All of this hateful energy can get under our skin, and we all have different ways of dealing with it. But is there really anything we can do about it all?
My answer is yes. But what we can do about it may not be exactly what you’re thinking.
In light of these events, I thought that it was high time for me to address these issues. Because, as Brandon Stanton once so truthfully stated, “there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now.”
Let’s start here. You may be expecting me to say a bunch of things.
You may be thinking I’m going to say that hate stems from society. It stems from all manners of lack of equality among human beings. It stems from tribalism, and fear of others who aren’t like us. It stems from all kinds of actions, direct and indirect, in which others try to shame, guilt, control, or harm us. It stems from feelings and thoughts about life’s difficulties and challenges—feelings and thoughts that aren’t fully processed or healed.
And yes, I do believe all of those factors can play large parts in the roots of hate, although I also know that not all who endure these experiences engage in hateful actions.
Here’s where I think hate actually stems from.
I think hate takes its roots in all of those parts of ourselves which we are too scared to encounter.
Therefore, if we are too scared to encounter those parts of ourselves, we project them outwards onto others. Often in very oppressive ways.
For example: Men are often shamed for showing any type of feminine energy, especially when it comes to the healthy expression of many of their real feelings in general. Sometimes women are shamed for showing certain feelings as well, especially more intense feelings that may be thought of as masculine.
But all of us have both feminine and masculine energies within us. Yet, often we learn that our feelings surrounding these energies, and through countless other examples I could share here, are not acceptable to others around us or to society.
So sometimes whether we realize it or not, we take all of these real, human feelings that we have, and we try to shut them out of our existence.
But here’s the thing with feelings:
No matter if they are positive or negative—and we all have both kinds—they can’t be completely shut out of our existence. Their energies can only be transformed.
We try to shut out these feelings often because we’ve been shamed by others for them, and social connection and acceptance is one of our most powerful human motivators. Or we shut them out because we simply don’t know how to manage them. But they are still a part of us, no matter how much we try to get rid of them.
Remember, we can never shut out our feelings completely. We can only transform their energies.
We cannot force another person to look at any feelings they may have decided not to accept within themselves. We can try to reason with them, try to change their minds on certain views, try to have honest conversations with them.
But chances are, the more that people have deemed certain feelings too scary or unacceptable to encounter within themselves, the more those people will resist any of our efforts to try to reason with them or change their minds.
And chances are, the more those people will project their feelings outwards onto others, often in extremely oppressive or hurtful ways.
Because remember, feelings cannot be completely shut out of our existence. They can only be transformed.
This is where we get to the good part, about love winning.
So here’s what we can do.
We can pledge, every single day we are living on this earth, to take a look at any parts of ourselves which feel too scary or unacceptable to encounter.
THIS is how we change society for the better over time. We pledge to take a look at ourselves, and we actually do it.
We may not always be able to see our own blind spots. But we can pledge to learn about them and work through them anyway.
If we’re unsure of where to start, we’ll often find our blind spots attached to any areas of our lives where we feel extremely defensive, judgmental, cynical, shut down, inferior, or superior. Those are great places to start to look for our blind spots. And as we look for these blind spots, we can aim to do so in an objective way, which doesn't involve us shaming or blaming ourselves for whatever answers we might find.
Questions to start with: What really makes me angry? What makes me feel defensive? Which people or groups do I find it easiest to judge? When do I tend to shut down? When do I feel cynical or apathetic? In what ways do I numb to escape my feelings? What are my greatest fears? What makes me the most sad?
How do my past life experiences still continue to affect me to this day? Which feelings have others shown me are not acceptable, and in turn, have I believed I am not allowed to show, or even to have? Do I really know that I am worthy of expressing all of my feelings in healthy ways?
How did I cope with hardship as a child? How have I coped as an adult? How do I feel inferior to others? How do I feel superior to others? Have I had difficult or heartbreaking past experiences that I may not have fully grieved? If I knew that I was always inherently loved and worthy no matter what I felt, and if I transformed any of these scary or cast-out feelings, would I really still feel the ways I do now about others, or about myself?
We can also ask our loved ones honestly about our own blind spots; however, they may not always be able to give us good answers if they are uncomfortable with their own!
We can learn more about healthy ways to transform feelings. We can listen to each other’s stories—really listen, so that we know we are not alone, and so our perspectives of others who are different from us are broadened.
Does this work take courage? Absolutely.
Is it scary at times? Totally.
Is it easier to numb, to shut down, to project these parts of ourselves out onto others, or to do any other number of things with our feelings than to really look at the ones we feel are so scary and so tender? One hundred percent yes.
But that is such a big reason why we are faced with so much of the hatred in the society that we have today. Because too many of us have found any other way to manage our most uncomfortable emotions except to allow ourselves to experience them, and then to find healthy ways to transform their energies.
The pain of allowing these emotions in is real. But it shies greatly in comparison to the pain of a whole part of society which is so filled with hatred and so accepting of oppression.
Once we have transformed more of the energies of our own once-unacceptable parts of ourselves, we can take all of that newly-charged energy and really use it to continue caring for ourselves and serving the world around us.
When a majority of us in society are continuously willing to actually face our full selves and transform those tender parts which we are so scared to look at, it is only then that I believe we will be much more on our way to healing our entire society.
It is only then.
So let’s start or continue today. Let’s pledge to allow ourselves to open up to our full selves and really witness those parts which we feel afraid of or ashamed of. Let’s go bravely and gently into those parts of ourselves and offer them openness and love. Let’s learn what they have to really teach us.
And then, let’s take the lessons we learn from this process and bring them into our homes, our schools, and our communities, bravely sharing our full selves so that others may have examples to do the same.
And as we do this work on ourselves, let’s pledge to speak out against violence and oppression of any kind, and to show love and kindness to others around us, even if they are unable to show us the same.
This is how love can win.
But we each need to do our part.
The time is urgent. The time is now.
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I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me a personal note through my Contact page, or leave a comment below. Can you understand why it is so important to open to all of who you are, and all of who we are, if we really want love to win out throughout time?
Are you looking for more ways to help you allow yourself to open up to the full humanity that is YOU? Check out my first book right here. :)
No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,