Battle Between Love and Hate

Love and hate sound like opposites but they’re not at all. What is the opposite of love?

Love is a feeling of connection, oneness, harmony with another person or a place, thing or spiritual ideal. The feeling of love feels like an emotional bond with whomever or whatever we love. At its strongest, we feel bound together with those we love, emotionally and often spiritually inseparable.

To discover the opposite of that you have to look within at your own emotions. Recall your own experience in your own life and think of someone you love deeply. It can be family, a friend, a lover, a teacher or mentor. Notice the connection on an emotional level for a moment. Now imagine what you would feel like if that connection were suddenly and permanently broken.

What’s the feeling? It’s certainly not hate. More like sadness, the feeling of loss. That’s the real opposite of love, because that’s what you feel in the absence of loving emotion.

Now imagine a favorite place, your home town or a special vacation spot, someplace you really love to be. How would you feel if you could never go there again? What would the feeling be if you could never again enjoy the qualities that make that place so special? There is no hatred in that feeling. It’s more like grief.

Sadness and grief are the true opposites of love. Hatred doesn’t even enter into the picture.

Hate is completely different. Hate is anger that’s so strong it has become fixed in your mind. You hate when you can’t or won’t let that go. Hate eats us up from the inside. Where love feeds us with vital energy, hate consumes our life force. It wears us down.

Feelings are often confusing. That’s why it’s helpful to understand that love and hate are not opposites. For love to develop into hate, it has to pass through anger. You see that happen sometimes in divorcing couples where the loss of love—the sadness—combines with anger with the result that one of them feels both love and hate toward the other at the same time.

Learning to understand our true emotions supports emotional health. When you can identify your feelings for what they are, you become more resilient. You are better prepared to find your back to emotional balance more quickly.

The next time you feel hate welling up inside you because of some terrible thing someone did to you, recognize that it is anger, not a lack of love. Then find your way back to love.

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