“A wounded deer leaps highest.” ~ Emily Dickinson
A couple of essays I’ve written lately, Why I Prefer Being a Skinny B**** and How To Make a Man Fall In Love in 6 Words, attracted a lot of comments. Much of the feedback was positive, supportive and validating. Several made me tear up with appreciation. Words are powerful.
But then there were the haters.
Perhaps ‘haters’ is a word that’s too strong, dramatic even, but when someone calls me a ‘psychopath’ or writes that my words are ‘disgusting,’ I’m going to pat a Hello!-My-Name-is-Hater sticker on them. (At least for the purpose of this post.) And then I’m going to gather all my energy and…
Send them love.
Hurt people hurt people.
When something we say or do triggers the pain in another, we know that they are suffering and the kindest thing we can do for them and ourselves is provide loving understanding. Of their pain if not their plight.
Loving understanding does not equal agreement, or acceptance of disrespectful behaviour.
Disagreement does not = rejection.
Since we all see the world through the life experience we’ve had, and since none of us have had the same life experience, it stands to reason that we will interpret—or misinterpret words, meaning and intention from time to time.
And sometimes we’ll understand each other completely and still disagree.
I struggle with accepting some of the choices my friends and family make. I wish everyone would refuse, reduce, reuse and stop raping our earth. Some days the state of the earth brings me to tears.
But I love those people even more than Mother Earth.
Everyone has reasons for the choices they make, including lashing out in anger.
If we are to squelch our anger, our passion, for what pushes us to speak out, would any of us be better off? How could we attempt meaningful discussion, personal growth—necessary revolution?
Yet who decides what’s right or wrong? These words within themselves are subjective and judgemental.
Right and wrong are governed by laws within a household, group, community, society, country, generation. “Occupy” movements educate. People rebel. Laws change.
If we speak up.
When I feel attacked by someone I go to my compassionate heart.
It wasn’t always so! I used to get defensive, look to others for agreement of my stance, and get pissed off right back. After many years of self-reflection, and a lot of stumbling around emotionally and feeling shitty, I realized something life altering if simple.
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
So, what could I change?
I could change my attitude.
‘Love is the answer’ used to be just a cutesy phrase I’d toss around, but damn it if it didn’t sink in. To the core of me I believe this to be true.
Now I see anger as passion. There’s a difference. Anger has a negative personalized association. Passion doesn’t.
When we’re impassioned about something—earth, politics, social injustice, our viewpoint—we want to be heard, validated, understood, connected, accepted, respected, and loved. We all deserve that—even when our opinions differ¹.
For those whose opinions differ enough from mine for them to form attacking actions or words, I choose to appreciate that they are able to use their voice to speak out, to open a discussion rather than writhing in wrath.
Even when those actions lack (what I perceive as) respect or kindness, I know that this is not a reflection of me but rather of the other person.
I used to hold rage in me. A lot of it. At the time, I had no idea where it came from, but there it was in the subcutaneous layers of my dermis. I was not an amicable person then. (And I still have my weak areas.) I needed more love than I could give myself.
Now, I’m grateful for the opportunity to explain what might be a misunderstanding, or at least acknowledgement of another’s voice should we agree to disagree.
I am grateful for a different perspective. One that I might even consider adopting.
Or part of . Or not at all.
Words are powerful, but love can even trump that.
So thank you… For caring enough to share.
¹Except Monsanto. Monsanto is bad. (Meant to be funny.) (Joke explanation for the really serious readers.)
Waving arms around.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Gabriela Kulaif (used with permission)