I bore witness to an act of vitriol anger last night, words that were hurled over the Internet in venomous outrage toward someone about whom I care deeply. It sent my mind, my heart tumbling one over the other with a sad curiosity about what it takes to get to that point—where someone’s words are hurled to harm another, rather than to accurately translate and express their internal feelings.
Where does love stand in this era of ‘trolls?’
If the capacity we have to love another is directly proportional to that which we harbor for ourselves, then everything that we say, imply, and do to others is a blatant reflection of how we feel about ourselves—both positive and negative. Which makes vial hatred is the saddest form of self flagellation.
Those who choose to spew it, those who, instead, turn their radically destructive shame, fear, judgement that they have for their own thoughts, actions, lives onto another person or group have really just stripped naked to their own raw and ragged self-intolerance. They hold a mirror of vulnerability up to what they hate within. It is the ultimate ‘tell.’ For, those who are connected to their hearts—who are even somewhat aware of who they are, of what they fear, of how they feel—would never, could never—disconnect from their own humanity far enough to conjure such animosity toward a fellow sentient being, a cooperative species, a neighboring culture. Those who are connected to their hearts tap the vein of humanity—the life giving force that oxygenates us all—and understand the value of such a position, and thus, take great care not to pollute it.
Hatred only ignites more hatred.
Love promulgates love. Love dissolves hate. Love fuels life.
As I read the vulgar, insulting words that were sent to tear apart the character of my dear friend, I felt the dark and gnarled heart from which they had been sent. In that moment I felt the pain of the sender through the pain they were trying to inflict, and it became profoundly evident how disconnected they had to have been to use those words, that sentiment as a weapon in their character assassination. Inside the gap of disconnection is born the tension, the torture between our souls and what we choose to say and do. Those who choose to connect to their hearts choose to be the open, loving, expansive souls that they were born to be. They choose endless potential. They choose boundless creativity, cooperation and collaboration. Love can take us anywhere we want to go, along side anyone with whom we choose to travel...and it feels infinitely better—even amazing—along the way.
There is no way for us to live a life free from feelings of anger, frustration, or provocation. However, there is a big difference between feeling our feelings then doing what it takes to move through them, and recklessly hurling that internal traumatic trigger, those personal, impotent feelings of powerlessness, devastation, fear, shame or judgement onto another living soul. We all have a choice. We all have an opportunity to count to ten, a moment that we can take to connect to our hearts, to our humanity, to our humanness, in order to take responsibility for who we are and how we feel before we aim to annihilate.
My mind, my heart came out of their tumult when I felt yet another layer of meaning revealed within the beautiful anthem coaxed out of hiding under the shadow of such hateful text, ‘Love is the answer.’ And now that we know the answer, there is no need for us to question what we can do to make things better for ourselves, for all.
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]