“You reclaim your power by loving what you were once taught to hate.” ― Bryant McGill
Honestly, I don’t even know who Bryant McGill is. But when my friend, Joi, posted his quote recently, it captured my imagination.
I once dated a guy who was always complaining about what he hated: the bad drivers and politicians he didn’t agree with, the millionaire, no-talent rock stars and the cheesy sports announcers. After a while, it was a total energy drain to be around him. Even if he had good reason for his hatred, it wore me down.
What if we could transform that energy of hate? Imagine the power we’d free up.
Think about a group of people you’ve been taught to hate (or if “hate” is too strong, “dislike” or “have aversion toward”): maybe people of a different race or religion, or people who behave in a certain way or participate in a behavior. (It’s okay. One way or another, almost all of us have been taught to hate someone.) Imagine yourself like a non-violent activist who makes a real difference in the world not by fighting back or getting revenge but by peacefully saying, “No more.”
Showing compassion for the “enemy” brings us back to the reality of our interconnection; brings us back into integration. Hatred makes some people different than us and therefore not deserving of the rights we have or the treatment that everyone deserves. “Othering” groups of people creates an illusion of separateness that allows us to think and behave badly. If we teach ourselves to love what we were once taught to hate, we have power to transform even gaping cultural differences.
Now consider a particular person who you learned to hate: perhaps someone who did something to hurt you either directly or indirectly, or someone who you vehemently disagree with. It could be someone you know personally (maybe in your family), or a public figure. Now imagine a Buddha or a saint or some kind and enlightened being sitting beside you. She gently puts her hand on yours, and acknowledges your pain and suffering. She then points out that while indeed this individual did some hurtful or unwise things, that they were absolutely doing they best they could given their thoughts, experiences, and their own hurt.
Anger and hatred toward someone is like throwing hot coals at them with your bare hands: you both get hurt. Finding love for that individual doesn’t mean you condone their behavior or that you let it continue, but that you approach them with an open heart rather than a condemning one. This is easier on you and it’s more likely you’ll find peace with them. If we teach ourselves to love what we have learned to hate, we have the power to transform our relationships even with difficult people.
And what about you? Think of something in yourself – a part of your body or a behavior or any part of you – that you either have been taught or have learned to hate. What if you looked at that part of you with tenderness and care, as part of you that needs your love and attention and needs to be integrated into the whole of you? Could you let go of the aversion and welcome in even the trickiest part of you? Teach ourselves to love what we have been taught to hate and we have the power to find health and well-being by integrating all parts of us.
Hatred and anger are extensions of fear. Anything I say that I “hate,” I am actually afraid of in some way. Whether it is a group of people, an individual, or some part of ourselves, if we say we hate it, right below that is a fear. In the Nia Brown Belt, we delve into the notion that every single choice is motivated by one of two things: Love or Fear. Simple as it sounds, look at any decision you’ve made and see if you can’t find the truth in it.
This week, make a courageous and transformational move to reclaim your power by loving what you were once taught to hate. You’ll be amazed at the power it unleashes!