When I was growing up, I’m not afraid to say, I went to more than my fair share of schools from one side of the country to the other. You see, we were a military family which inevitably means moving around from time to time, in my case around every three years. What this means is that I was perpetually “the new kid”. Add to that my ability to grasp the material I was tought, and that it took until between my junior and senior years of high school to hit a growth spurt, and you’ll understand that I was a target for bullies at almost all of my schools.
Of course, while growing up, you never understand why you are getting picked on. I mean, you understand that you’re different. You understand that you don’t fit this idea of “cool” that other kids have. You understand that you just wish the kids would stop picking on you, or that you would somehow become part of that “cool” crowd. However, I couldn’t grasp that the real reason I was bullied was because that bully was treated like crap at home and thus found someway to make themselves feel better by picking on an “easy target”. I couldn’t grasp that the bully might not feel smart and so they picked on the smart kid who had a part of what they wanted. I couldn’t grasp how easy it was for envy and lack of perceived power could lead to hate.
As an adult, I view the world around me a little differently, yet I still hold that wonder of how hate could so fully engulf some individuals. Moreso, I still find it difficult to understand how hate can grab hold of entire groups of people so entirely that, when alternatives arise, they are willing to turn away from that and embrace their hate continually. I find it difficult to understand how some people have no comprehension that their actions are hateful and not only hurt others, but hurt themselves. I know I am not alone in this way of thinking.
So, what do we do with this? Recently, the news has been filled with stories where hate is a driving factor: concentration camps for homosexuals in Chechnya, civil war in Syria, the US dropping bombs in Syria, police violence against minorities, swastikas spray painted on church signs, and it goes on and on. Hate continues, and for some reason, people use hate to counteract hate. Dropping bombs in response to a group of people using chemical weapons against another group of people doesn’t stop anything.
I know that I hated the kids who picked on me, and I was told to stand up to them, but I never used violence against them when I was finally was strong enough to stand up to them. I made it impossible for them to get the reaction they were seeking, and eventually it stopped. Hate never stops hate. Hate only perpetuates itself.
Peace can not be achieved through hate and violence. Inner peace can not be achieved through causing harm to others. Of course, those who already live by this will just nod their heads, and those who don’t, won’t change their minds. I struggle with minor bouts of hate, particularly when driving and someone cuts me off or some other perceived slight. However, I’m trying to remain hate free, and I urge you to do the same.
Until next time,