Love can soften the most hardened heart. Once, I would’ve scoffed at this notion, but today, I’m convinced it’s the only way we can make our world a more joyful place.
Our hatred feeds others’ bad behaviors
Hatred fuels negativity, making it more difficult for us to view others as we view ourselves. Some in Judaism say our thoughts generate their own energy. So when we think unkindly toward others, we bombard them with unhelpful energy, making it more difficult for them to release their initial hatred. We can help stop that downward spiral by sending our love (without excusing their actions) to them, so they can experience hope.
When I’ve prayed for love to be sent to those who’ve caused me angst and simultaneously shifted my focus away from fear, disappointment or anger, I’ve seen miraculous results. (see posts: “The Energy and Love We Project Can Transform the Nastiest Among Us” and “Return Hatred with Kindness and Love”).
In addition, Jesus calls on us to extend love to those we don’t care for. In Matthew 5:43-46 (New International Version), it is written, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”
Is anger more pervasive than love?
It can seem that way in a culture where it’s so easy to be anonymous and to spout off about the ills of politics, bad manners and societal decline. But I honestly believe more love is out there than all negative emotions combined.
We all desire a love-filled existence.
But it can be frightening to make this most sacred of emotions a priority. We have to knock down internal barriers so we can honestly connect with others. We need to trust. Be vulnerable. And after we’ve been hurt, we must find a way to love again.
Myths of love
Loving others doesn’t mean you:
- Support their bad choices or ugly behaviors.
- Solve their problems. Their journey is their responsibility. Let them take the road they’ve chosen so they can learn from their own mistakes.
- Allow them to use you or to stifle the personal growth you seek.
- Permit them to put you in a dangerous situation.
Love takes many forms
Love is so much larger in scope than romantic adoration. We can toss a lifeline to those struggling by acknowledging them. Showing that they matter. Smile at strangers. Say “hello.” Actively listen to their story without judging them. And, demonstrate your recognition of their humanity. Last year, one of my Facebook friends, who happens to be Jewish, celebrated the Christmas season (her words not mine) by creating and handing out care packages to the homeless in her community.
We can make a difference by spreading kindness to others.