On Hate


The meme on Facebook shows a handwritten list with names and reasons listed; it goes seemingly on for miles, through corridors, across sidewalks. As if daily, the author found one or two people who tipped the scales from casual acquaintance-apathy, to mild distrust to dislike to hate.

I’ve always held that the heart can hold more love as it manifests: a new child born, a new romantic partner… you don’t pull love from the other people you care for, your heart ‘grows’. I had never given thought to the idea that we had the same capacity with hatred.

Our emotions are our own: we can keep them quiet, pretend not to acknowledge them and they will stagnate - untested, inaccessible. Or, we allow them freedom – to grow, emerge, flourish… we may cry at footage of soldiers greeted by canines and laugh during serious discussions, but then they are available, and part of how we define ourselves.

But Hate: can an argument be made that nurturing our hatred is just as necessary as cultivating love? I’ll admit to a personal struggle here. I hold close the notion that every emotion should be allowed expression occasionally – it is OKAY to fear, to worry, to feel sadness or grief. That by allowing ‘negative’ emotions space in our minds, we are more fully realized and more likely to recognize joy and pleasure and love when we feel them, less weighted down by squashed hurts.

Somehow though, hatred feels less like a garden plant and more like a fungus: once a spore is allowed room to bloom, it can take over, coloring every sunny day, every lover’s embrace with fetid fumes, shading your ‘garden’ so that soon, nothing else can grow.

Are there awful people, situations – of course. How much emotional time and energy do they deserve? It’s your garden.

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