Love does not defeat hate. In fact, if anything, I believe love gives rise to hate. Inevitably, someone, some group will feel they are less loved than the others and ta-da! The seeds of jealousy sprout into a little hate plant.
Obviously, this took root in my mind while following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our own little city organized a candlelit vigil in honor of the victim murdered there. I wished I had gone, at least until I read they hugged each other and sang songs. Try to put your arms around me and I’ll probably throat punch you. It’s just not my cup of tea. And singing songs? Ugh, please. If this is what love looks like, I’d rather find a cabin in the woods to retreat from society.
There must be an answer, an antidote to hate. One that doesn’t feel so wishy-washy. To find it, I, of course, looked to my dogs. They didn’t disappoint.
What combats hate
It doesn’t matter where on the hate spectrum—from fear up to violence—the answer is the same…
Hate’s kryptonite is peace.
Here’s why I believe this. Twice now, a neighbor’s two Labradors have broken out of their home to run down the road after Rico to attack him. Thank God, it’s never been vicious. Mostly noise and chaos. Other neighbors tell me a dog who used to live next to them used to terrorize them through their fence. Maybe it’s mistaken identity. Regardless, I warned the family, one more time and I’m calling animal control and having the dogs taken away.
Needless to say, whenever Rico hears their barking, he goes on alert. I tried showering him with love to ease his anxiety. I’d pet him, speak softly, and stroke his back, trying to let him know it’s OK.
Love never helped. And, in fact, most experienced dog trainers say you shouldn’t show love to a dog during a fearful moment. You’re only reinforcing the fear. Turns out, it’s true during any negative moment.
Know what did help alleviate Rico’s angst? Peacefully leading him on, without positive or negative fanfare.
No anger, no self-righteous indignation, no desire to change anything. Just. Peace.
Peace as a weapon
Your own, personal sense of internal peace is your best weapon against anything. Literally. Nothing deflates a hate-filled balloon like no reaction. The hate-monger, all alone in his/ her bitterness, can’t help but see their silliness.
If I may provide another example. Many years ago, in my early 20s, I was walking our family’s miniature poodle, Rudy, in a common area of our townhouse neighborhood. I hadn’t seen anyone in that space since I was a child playing there and didn’t think to clean up after him. Yes, I was wrong.
To remind me, an irate woman stomped over to us, berating me with obscenities. I said sorry, I didn’t realize anyone still used that space and I would come back to clean it up.
She wasn’t finished. Her tirade escalated until she threatened me. I just looked at her and said, “OK, that’s enough. You need to act like an adult.”
Slicing her finger through the air for emphasis, she shouted, “You don’t want me to act like an adult.”
Maybe she realized how dumb she sounded, maybe not. Either way, she immediately pivoted and slinked away. I never saw her again.
Reality of peace
“Bad guys” are like vultures—they’re everywhere and they’re kind of gross, but they also serve a generous purpose. They can be a motivating force for the rest of us to work at finding our internal peace. If everyone held hands and sang “Kumbaya,” we’d never evolve. There would be no reason to.
So please, don’t meet force with force. That’s silly. And dangerous. Redirecting incoming force is the way of the martial artist. When faced with someone spewing hate or any negativity, use that as a reminder to get control of yourself, go inside to your inner quiet, and let them wear themselves out. Eventually, they’ll deliver their own crippling blow.
Thank you for stopping by today.