You heard me. The opposite of love is not hate.
There are two ways to live life. Standing on top of the slide, afraid to slide down; or jumping off the cliff into the sweet unknown that is below, feeling the breeze on your skin, the adrenaline in your heart; anticipating the cool clear water but knowing you won’t know it until you’ve hit it.
They say acting a life out of love achieves nothing, it’s a hippie guitar-strumming tree-hugging panacea that does nothing but prolong suffering for those around while the hippies have no real jobs, no real plans, and don’t do anything to save the land.
They might be right, you know.
But what they’re not right about is that love can’t heal all. It can, if you let it.
I’m not saying there’s no fieldwork involved. It doesn’t mean hugging everybody in a circle and then conveniently forgetting that adage when faced with a homeless man on the subway. The hugging circle is just target practice: the subway is the field of execution where the soul’s crusts melt away and it’s time to look every person in the eye and generate a bit of Divine compassion and love in their direction.
A life lived in fear is walking in the street, eyes down, staying protected from the fear of a universe that could harm you before you have a chance to impact positively upon it.
A life lived in love is walking in the street, heart open, projecting compassion as you subtly protect your own self; sending love vibrations to all you meet with a simple smile, a nod of the head, an open face in conversation, that will travel miles once you consider the true impact of a positive action.
Remember the movie Pay It Forward? So that’s actually a real thing. The smile you give your barista? She’s going to go home from her shift and feel a little better about herself, maybe be less defensive with her Mom or less aggressive with her boyfriend. And maybe that boyfriend will take more care in his studies that night, and go on to graduate college instead of ending up where his buddies have, in jail at twenty one. Or maybe Mom will be more patient with little brother, who’ll go out and play ball instead of staring at the TV all night, and make some friends instead of bullying the neighbors. Our society’s suffering isn’t just from the big things. It’s the little things. For every black teen on his way to jail; for every high school kid opting out of higher education; for every mentally unstable homeless person roaming the streets; there’s a moment in time when they could’ve felt it was worth it to keep going on, a chance to live a better life, before circumstances of our society swept them along to the status quo.
We can continue to live our lives in fear, creating barriers around ourselves so we don’t hurt, we don’t feel, and as a result, we don’t live.
Or we can live a life of love, opening our hearts to those around us, even if it may hurt. Because only in the pain do we gain the sweetness of living life to its fullest; only in the pain do we learn the true capacity of the human heart to stretch in every which direction; only in the pain do we see how much strength we harbor inside our very muscles that can be channeled into crafting a new and better world for ourselves and those around us.
I dare you, today. Live without the fear. Live without the pain. Let it go – the only person it’s hurting is yourself. If you can’t let it go, hang out with it, watch it, let it in and say, ‘Hello pain, nice to see you today. I love you too.” And watch it dissipate as it sees it can’t keep you down, as it sees that it won’t get a fight out of you today, because you’re going to soldier on anyway, no matter what.
Heartbreak’s a funny thing, because in that pain, in that darkness, we realize our greatest truest strengths, and go to the highest heights we couldn’t have achieved on our own. It lets the light in through the cracks, and we become brighter beings than we ever could have been as sealed up tight robots, walking the streets with purpose towards perfection but no option to mess up, to try it once, to try it twice and maybe, on the third try, get something completely different that’s infinitely sweeter than what we set out to achieve.
Live a life of love, not fear. Project the love as you walk. Ignore the fear when it rears up, and thank it for being a compass system for exactly what you need to dive into today. And watch the hate, the suffering, the anxiety disappear. It’s only hurting you, and you aren’t going to hurt you anymore, because you love yourself, more than anything.
Rishe Groner is the founder of TheGene-Sis.com, a non-denominational approach to spirituality and self-transformation based on feminine and Jewish mysticism. She is from Australia and lives in Brooklyn.