Everyone starts the New Year of in a different way.
Some people put on their running shoes and swear that this is the year they’ll finally run a 5K (that’s been me before).
Some people decide that they’re finally going to “konmari” their house and live more with less (that’s been me before too).
Some people look around at their lives and say, “what the hell am I supposed to do now?” which unfortunately is me too. Right now.
For the most part, I love what I do. I get to explore the world around me. Try out new things. Drive new cars. Express myself through writing. Make a little money along the way. But I find myself asking is that all there is? And yes, I’ve asked and answered that before as well.
While I’m still contemplating all of the things above (because one thing I’ve learned from apps like Timehop and Facebook Moments is that our lives really are cyclical), I’m also dealing with something a little more existential.
I’m dealing with awful, dreadful feelings inside.
Sometimes it feels like hate. Sometimes it’s simply sadness. Sometimes it’s anxiety and a feeling that this is all there is. And it’s a little depressing. Physically depressing and mentally depressing. So I’ve been taking a break from writing.
But if you’ve been in this space at all, you know that reading and writing are cathartic. Many people I know outside of this space don’t understand that. They don’t understand that blogging and social media were built around the idea of a community. Within that community, I often look for support (and you’ve done that – thank you).
I also know that writing deeply is a way of reaching people who don’t have the words to say what they’re feeling but can read and say Me too. I get that. I share that. And that’s why I’m here.
These feelings inside… like most problems, I want to solve them. I want to fix them and make them go away. And the best way to do that? Use Google to find a solution. Seriously.
So I Googled “how do i get rid of hate in my heart.” In fact, I didn’t even have to finish typing it because Google suggested the text. Clue #1 that I am not alone.
Many of the answers were pretty predictable – let it go, it’s a waste of energy, you’re only hurting yourself, you’re missing out on life, etc.
Those answers aren’t wrong but they’re not complete either. It’s reminds me of a person asking for help in losing weight and someone simply saying, you just need to diet and exercise.
Well, duh. I think we all know that at this point. But what kind of diet? Carbs or no carbs? How much do I eat? How often do I exercise? Do I measure pounds or inches? And what do I do when I have a strong craving for ice cream? If it was as simple as learning and doing, we’d all be in a pretty good shape.
I had to dig a little deeper than I intended but is there really a simple answer to my question? Not really but I did find an answer. An answer that resonated with me, anyway.
Hatred serves a purpose. It shows us what we find intolerable in other people, ourselves, and in life.
When you feel that burning sensation in your heart or the pit of your stomach, or you think your head is going to explode, let it be. Watch it. Get interested in it and see if you can dig deeper.
Turn inward, away from the object of hatred and realize that they are the messenger of some unexamined and unconscious wound. Wounds that you have probably had a long time.
When you begin to face into that wound, perhaps a deep injustice you feel, the hatred will transform into a different emotion. It may turn to sadness, for example. Let it. This is the way to meet your hatred and let it show you something painful. This is a way to dissolving your hatred, or at least, better understanding it.
It’s a different approach than judging your hatred and pushing it away. It doesn’t go away. When you embrace the parts of yourself that make you most uncomfortable, you bravely become more trustworthy, more whole.
How about that? I didn’t enter 2017 with a sense of renewal, refreshment, and gusto for life. But I came into 2017 dealing with a huge emotional obstacle and facing it head on. I’m not going to let it fester. I’m going dig deep and work through it and not let it define me.
Know Who You Are
I have crossed the horizon to find you
I know your name
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are
from Disney’s MOANA