It seems appropriate to discuss the darker side of love on the latter end of Valentine’s Day.

Hating someone or something requires a lot of energy, and very few underlying emotions can motivate the emotional labour required to hate. One of the more popular is insecurity – motivating bigotry and xenophobia for millennia. But certainly another has to be love.

I don’t subscribe to the belief that hatred is an unacceptable emotion. I don’t think hatred needs to be all-consuming or even toxic. For example: it seems entirely reasonable to hate someone who hurt a loved one, or to hate a person who violates a cautiously awarded trust. If someone were to hurt my husband or brothers, I don’t expect that I would describe my feelings for that person as “a strong dislike”.

To the extent that such hate takes on the qualities of an addiction, or to the extent that it inspires bad acts, it is unacceptable. But otherwise, I see nothing wrong with allowing love to move us to the extremes of emotion. And only when we admit our own emotions can we learn to process them in a healthy way. Instead of admonishing ourselves for feelings of hatred, we can learn to permit the feeling to pass over us like a wave, anchoring ourselves to our memories of love, to the love we still have in our lives, and to the prospect of more love in the future.

Posted in: Love

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