Scientists studying the physical nature of hate found that some of the nervous circuits in the brain responsible for hate are the same as those that are used during the feeling of romantic love (Semir Zeki and John Paul Romaya of University College London).
Of course they add that love and hate appear to be polar opposites. They also say a bigger part of the cerebral cortex — an area linked to judgment and reasoning — deactivates with love compared to hate.
In a layman’s language: if you’re in love, you’re screwed! Just kidding.
Love-hate relationships play out in every day life regardless of age, religion, education or race. And while some of the things we say or do may not be considered “hate” per se, if they are motivated by an all-consuming passion that is not love, it’s not love.
We think it’s love (and normal because everybody does it, right?) but if it hurts you or the other person, it’s not love. Love does not hurt, I know that now.
One of the most obvious features of love-hate relationships is the fiery desire to get even. Just as we try so hard to put up a show of how “we’re loving”, many of us (unknowingly) also try so hard to put up a show of how “we’re hating”. And this is how it plays out:
— Since you treat me with animosity, I’ll be unpleasant to you.
— If you do not listen to me, I will insistently nag you (call, email, text and basically piss you off).
— Since you misinterpret my words and actions, I will put the worst interpretation on your words and actions.
— Since you put me down, I will put you down too.
— Since you hurt my feelings, I’ll hurt yours too.
— If you don’t say “I love you”, I won’t either.
— You want to play cold and aloof, two can play that game.
These are just a few examples. The list is endless and can go all the way to the really sick crazy end when the “switch” to the area of the brain linked to judgment and reasoning goes all the way to “off”.
The sad reality here is that, when you “play to get even” you are only hurting yourself. You may think your words and actions are hurting the other person (after all you are withholding your “love”, so that must hurt them, right?) but what about you, doesn’t it hurt? All that effort, all that scheming, all that wasted time, all that agony that goes into getting even or withholding love, all for what? Is it really worth it?
Next time you find yourself standing next to that thin line between love and hate, take the side of love:
— Even if you treat me with animosity, I’ll be friendly and generous.
— Even if you’re not listening, I’ll be sensitive to matters that affect you (and us).
— Even if you misinterpret my words and actions, I’ll try to understand yours.
— Even if you put down my views and suggestions, I’ll consider yours as worthy of consideration.
— Even if you hurt my feelings, I’ll be open to learning from the experience.
— If you don’t say “I love you”, I’ll still tell you how much you mean to me.
— If you want to play cold and aloof, I’ll reach out to you once in a while because I care.
This may look like the “wussy” or “weak” end of the bargain, but this actually is the stronger position because nobody can hurt you if you do not give them permission to. When you do things to get even, play dirty or try to hurt someone else, you are giving them permission to hurt you back.
If you don’t believe me, try this. Next time someone calls you names, says something hurtful (even racist), don’t react with hurt or anger. Hold your head up high and shrug your shoulder like “okay”. Look at that person’s body language. They’ll look deflated (and stupid) because they didn’t get the reaction they were looking for. You didn’t give them permission to hurt you.
But more importantly, pure unconditional love has a way of healing damaged relationships. It may not restore your relationship to what it used to be, but it’ll heal any hurt feelings and animosity.
There is an African saying,: “If there is a pot, there is something in it…. It may not be “water” but there IS something in the “empty space”.
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