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How to Respond to Assholes with True Love

A bitter taste of anger swept across my face as I read hurtful words on my screen.

You know this feeling; it’s the emotion you get when you see people you know spread blame and negativity at the expense of others.

Not in person, but online, where anyone and everyone can see. This frustrates the hell out of me - I don’t understand how people can grow so much hate in their hearts to feel the need to publicly damage somebody.

As I boarded the plane, I saw this hat out of the corner of my eye, with big black letters on the front. It read, "Pray for Your Enemies." Taking a second look, I made eye contact with the man, and had to tell him how much I loved his hat. So perfect in its timing and meaning, I became emotionally aware of what was happening.

I had become frustrated with a group of people who choose to make complaining and negativity the center of their being. I was in disbelief of the things they were saying and felt empathy for the person they were hurting. But then I realized, my compassion served a greater purpose for the individuals causing the harm rather than the “victim.”

"Hurt people hurt people." The last thing I want to do is feed their negativity by feeling for the person they are hurting, there's a greater way; I want to encourage compassion and pour my love into these people who have hate in their hearts.

I think it's really easy for people, including myself, to feel discouraged with humanity when things like this happen. We see a large group of people who live in fear and anger and we can’t help but also feel afraid for what their lack of self-love could propagate in the world. Fear breeds fear.

Creating ultimatums that describe all people this way, if we are not self aware, can lead to a cynical outlook on life. I have found myself subconsciously doing this and feeling great sadness, thinking ‘why are people so negative?’

Most importantly, we can judge unhappy people, as our minds try to protect us and tell us “wow, you’re better than that (them);” which is also negative and further distances ‘us’ from ‘them.’ When in reality we are no better, and maybe all we have done is found a more loving way to digest painful situations. Maybe these people don’t know any other way; maybe our love can inspire them to want to love themselves…

How can I treat these people differently than the people who have hurt them, without giving up my happiness?

  1. Use self-awareness to non-emotionally analyze the situation in that moment – do not take what they are doing personal. It’s not about me.
  2. Recognize the person is hurting or is acting out of fear.
  3. Pour love into that person as genuinely as I can.
  4. Let go of what they did, and continue on with my happiness!

“Pray for your enemies. Hug the hurt, kiss the broken, befriend the lost, love the lonely.”

Through sharing my experience and outlook on this blog, I hope I can help someone to see a more positive perspective the next time they give their happiness away to an asshole. Kill em with kindness, it’s a real thing.  

Olivia Reed