The fine line between love and hate

Shocking celebrity deaths, Brexit and now Donald Trump… if anything, you can’t say 2016 has been boring!

Trump is not a man I like, his views worry me and the fact he now is one of the most powerful men in the world worries me even more. However, through the how’s and why’s, I’m trying to believe that much of what he has said in his campaign is hype, to attract attention, to get people engaged in whatever shape it takes – a bit like a child being told off for being naughty because negative attention is better than none.

Seeing the news about violent protests and lives lost following the election of Trump, I was reminded of this post I wrote 18 months ago, after the Conservatives got into power. Yes, I’m afraid nothing changes, and we are just as sore losers when things don’t go our way.

Whether someone throws a stone at someone who doesn’t agree with them, sends angry messages online, or gossips behind their back, the physical impact might be different but the basic emotion is still the same – hate.

Trump hate. Political hated. Social hatred. Many of us wonder where this comes from. Why, when we all want to live, prosper and be happy, do we end up caught up in these vicious battles?

I wonder if it is because hatred starts at home. Hatred starts with just two people.

Love is a beautiful emotion – it is the emotion that brings us together, fills us with happiness and comfort; it makes and saves lives. But love and hate are so finely connected, it’s easy to see where things go wrong.

A woman has a baby after years of trying and heartache. The baby is received into the family with pure love and joy. Everyone is thrilled for the new parents and they express their love in different ways.

Yet all too soon, the new parents tired and anxious to do the best for their little one, hear a comment that irritates them. It’s not something important – it’s about childcare or what the baby is eating or wearing. A relative doesn’t think their choice is quite right. Yet the parents disagree, this feels right to them so they will carry on. The relative feels snubbed or undervalued.

The parents notice the relative making other small negative remarks about things they do and where they go and who they see… and can only deduce some level of jealousy about the baby. About other people getting to do more with the baby or them not seeing the baby enough… you get the picture. They wouldn’t be arguing about this if they hadn’t had the baby!

Gradually, and without realising, this much-loved baby has become a pawn in a game of love. Of course love underlies it all, but love can be accompanied by envy, passion, anger, judgement and resentment… as well as all the happiness and contentment we are aiming for.

Before you know it, relationships have become strained as everyone has their own view – from their own past, their beliefs, their values – about what is the best way to show love. And that’s not to say we shouldn’t express our views, but amongst our views is a crack where the hate creeps in. Not a violent hate, but a smouldering dislike. Avoidance. Gossip. An offence taken.

Our capacity to hate as well as love shows what passionate beings we are. So scale this emotion right up, with thousands, millions of people opposing each other all with their own views, and the behaviour we see after events such as political elections are no longer a surprise. These people aren’t bad (well the majority anyway), they are doing what they are doing through love, hate and the belief that their way is the only way.

There is a fine line between love and hate, and we are all capable of both. There are ‘lovely people’ spitting hate about other people they don’t know. It’s not our fault, we are all imperfect beings. We may fall out with a friend or family member because no one is brave enough to speak the truth, or together we fall out with an entire nation because we feel offended by their ways…

As Joy Division sang: Love will tear us apart.

But I don’t want to start the weekend on a low note. Love really is what makes the world go round. And maybe – if we’re stuck in a relationship rut that we don’t understand – we can view it through eyes of love instead of judgement and mend over a few of the cracks.