There are people throughout history who have lived their lives selflessly. Their actions are not for their own self-interests, but rather for the good of the world. Some examples of these kind of people are Nelson Mandela, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Mother Teresa.
While these people are exemplars of what it means to serve others, the challenge for us is to take on the responsibility to live our lives in the service of others. There are many people who meet this challenge every day in small ways that are not broadcast on the news or social media.
Many times what is broadcast and shared is the anger and hatred some of us feel for other people. This hatred can grow inside and cause destructive actions to occur. We need to remember that we are all fellow human beings who must live together in a common society.
“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”Gandhi
In today’s world in our county, we are faced with widespread divisiveness and unfortunately, in some cases, hatred for others. Some of us may even feel this way in our personal relationships. Do you have someone who irritates you? Is there someone who you feel resentment toward because of some event in the past? These feelings of anger and resentment are unhealthy and even destructive in our lives. It is important to find ways of overcoming these feelings so we can live healthy, productive lives.
Why should you try and overcome your hatred and resentment?
- You will be a happier, more peaceful person.
- You will show others a better way to live
- You can positively effect our society
- You can change the message of social media
- You could change a person’s life
For these reasons, and a host of others, we need to think of ways to overcome these feelings of hatred and anger and learn to accept other people for who they are.
Ideas of how you can prevail over the feelings of anger or hatred:
- Try and see the situation from an objective viewpoint. Think from the outside of the situation and see if that helps you to understand the other person’s standpoint. Walk a mile in their shoes and see if that helps you to understand them a little better.
- Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. Try and accept the other person for who they are and try to accept them, faults and all.
- Forgive and forget. This will be very difficult in some situations but try and realize that what has happened in the past cannot be changed. We can only work on our actions from today forward. As the song in Moana says, “Let It Go.”
- Find something in the other person that you can appreciate. It can be their relationship with their children, their generosity, even their dogged determination in not backing down. See them as another human being just struggling to survive.
- Reach out to the person and try to arrive at a common ground. Open your heart and let yourself be vulnerable. Try a hug or a joke, but know that any small effort on your part may pay off dividends.
Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world.Martin Luther King, Jr.
Taking these steps and making the decision to love one another does not mean to allow them to hurt us. That would be a failure of loving ourselves. We can do what is in our control to protect ourselves while at the same time make an effort at forgiveness and love of others. This is the ultimate goal for peace in our hearts and minds.