This month at 1000 Voices Speak we are focusing on LOVE.
Love has to be one of the most used–and most misused–words in the English language.
Ask a hundred people what ice cream is, and you’ll get responses that sound similar – a yummy frozen creamy dessert.
Ask a hundred people what love is, and you’ll get a hundred answers.
Take these two quotes:
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”
― André Gide
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Can they be talking about the same thing? I think not. The first implies that love is conditional, and should only be given to the deserving. Gide was doubtless meaning that a false persona being approved of by the public is worse than the real you being disapproved of. But love and approval aren’t the same thing. Approval is conditional, depends on moral choices, and can be used to try to control others.
The love Martin Luther King is talking about is different. It is unconditional, is the kind of love you can easily find for a baby or a puppy, even after they have just shredded your slippers. It is the kind of love we are less willing to find for other people when they don’t do what we would like them too, or when they remind us of our own dark side that we’d rather not see. When they remind us of our own self-hatred.
You might say that because Martin Luther King was murdered his love didn’t manage to drive out hate. There is still racial hatred both in America and other countries around the world. There is still hatred across religious and political divides. But that doesn’t mean King was wrong. It just means love’s job isn’t finished.
It’s easy to look at people like King and say, “But he was different. I can’t do that.” Easy, but untrue. As a child, King father beat him, and he suffered from depression for much of his life. In his younger years he felt resentment fro the way black people were treated. But he chose let go of this resentment.
King said: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Over to you. Join us in the comments with your thoughts on this post. Or write a blog post and share it in the link-up, which you can find by clicking the blue button below. We want to hear from you, whatever your views.
Do you agree with Martin Luther King? Is hate too great a burden to bear? Can you choose to let it go, or is it more complicated than that? Maybe you have let go of hate, and found relief. Tell us about that. Or just tell us what love means to you. Does it come from inside or out? Is loving yourself kind or selfish? What’s the difference between love and wanting? Is that old song: “Love Hurts,” really about love or something else? Can love hurt?
Join in the conversation! We’d love to hear from you.