Choose LOVE. Be KIND. (June 2019)

At some point in time, we've all experienced a sense of genuine, authentic love.

Whether it came from family or friends, your spouse or yourself, most of the time that feeling takes effort.

Whether it took weeks, months, or years of effort, it required work and there were likely multiple milestones that brought you to that feeling.

Love has meaning for many reasons, and although those reasons may be different to each person, one that is undeniable is the effort and trust required to attain that feeling and connection.

If it takes so much effort to experience love, why is it so easy to project hate? To judge? To be unkind?

Why is it so simple to have an opinion about someone that you barely know?

When you really stop and think about it, are the things you "hate" for a logical reason? Does the hate have any upside? Does it change the situation? Is it because of something that happened to you or is it a learned behavior?

I read an article that stated "Poison isn’t always something you eat or drink – it can be an emotion. And hate is one of them, eating you up inside and causing destruction. Hate, whether turned inward or out, creates a destructive state of mind that wreaks havoc with your physical health and emotional well-being. And like a hot coal, the sooner you rid yourself of this toxic emotion, the less damage it can do and the healthier and happier you’ll be. Feed hatred and it will grow. Confront it, understand it and disassemble it and you will grow."

With all of the hate crimes happening in the world, we can all play a small part in spreading more taming the fire instead of pouring gasoline on it.

When we're talking overall health, holding onto hate is a stressor that can cause legitimate damage to the body. "Expressing anger in reasonable ways can be healthy, but explosive people who hurl objects and yell at others frequently may be at greater risk for heart disease. Prolonged bouts of anger can take the toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation. Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours. All of these health issues can lead to more serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes."

Take the high road, the road that's sometimes harder to travel, and find the good in a person or in a situation. Try to flip the script and instead of automatically thinking negatively of a person or situation, think to yourself "Why might this person be acting this way? Why did this situation end with this result? What was my part in it? Could I treat this person differently or have done something to alter the end result?"

Not only will the other person benefit from this, but pay attention to how this type of reaction makes you feel instead of thinking or acting through hate.

Now this isn't to say never get upset or show emotion, we all need to do that sometimes, but it's about doing our best to prevent any unnecessary anger & stress.

At the end of the day, everyone is trying to live their life in a way that makes them happy. Everyone is doing their best to live & learn. Learn how to be better, to learn from our mistakes. We all have things that make life tough, and behind the scenes you may never know what another person is going through.

Moral of the story is...

Smile at the person you pass in the streets and give a helping hand when it's needed.

Refrain from judgement and give grace the same way you'd hope someone would allow it to you.

Learn about things your unfamiliar with so you can be more understanding.

And most importantly, spread the love.

Love yourself.

Love others.