How to Love Those We Don’t Like

I wish I could describe, in detail, how I feel right now in a way that resonated with each person who read this.

This weekend, I ran head first into a brick wall labeled “A Facebook Debate”. It was such a frustratingly belittling experience that I am still seething inside, a violent ball of energy raging to be heard and understood as if I were an ant in the world of giants.

I would like to say that the person made me feel this way- but in reality, I bear the blame for allowing myself to feel this way. I engaged when I shouldn’t have, and I didn’t delete or block after it became clear that I’d ventured into quicksand. Anger and injustice spooled me on, and the deeper I sunk- the worse I felt.

And, yet, I still love this person. I don’t like him any more, nor am I too fond of engaging him in even civil hellos from henceforth- but I love him.

Weird, right?

There are people we will never get along with. There are people we will respect who will let us down so profoundly that it will feel as if we never knew them. There are people who will go out of their way to try and hurt us, simply because they can.

And yet, we must learn to love them all.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Why should we love people we can’t stand, or who have hurt us so deeply that we will never recover?

Because we can.

I won’t throw some fancy bullshit at you, trying to convince you that loving thy enemy is easy- or that it’s the way to enlightenment, because I don’t know that for sure. What I do know is that loving unconditionally can free us from pain we feel burdened to carry- yet, most of us don’t know that.

Someone once asked me how I could love my parents, when I am so open about the pain I’ve suffered at their hands- and my only answer was “because I do”. I have no other reason sufficient enough than that. I do, and it’s because I’ve chosen to love them- not because I have to. Giving myself that choice made all the difference in how I viewed not only them, but myself, and our relationship.

It was love, but on my terms. Magick created by choice and thought, not by candle or stone.

Loving someone does not mean we are committed to accepting their toxicity.

We don’t have to stay in relationships, maintain connections, or even remain friendly to these people to love them. We don’t need to forget what atrocities they’ve committed, or justify their actions, thoughts, or opinions, to love them.

And as hard as that is to swallow, it also means that no one must do any of that for us. However, we can hope that they will love us anyway.

Love isn’t a gentle and perfect thing passed off in a Hallmark Rom-Com. It’s not even necessarily a feeling of joy or euphoria that overwhelms us in this case. It’s a decision made to honor someone’s place in our path, in our species, and in our lessons, no matter how much pain they’ve caused us.

It doesn’t have to look pretty to be love, and it doesn’t have to mean we continue to allow that person room in our lives. It means we accept that they are human, they are deep and emotional vessels of energy that project onto others- just as we do, and that we’ve learned something from them. Even if that something is never trusting them with our emotions again, we find gratitude in having been taught what we didn’t know before.

I know there are pains that we could never imagine ourselves replacing with love. Believe me, I know. But, as a thriver, not just a survivor, I’m here to tell you- one day, you will be able to do just that.

I recently shared publicly, through that debate, that I was raped right before I met my husband. This is hard for people to hear, as it triggers emotional and traumatic responses in their own lives, but remaining silent accomplishes nothing. I remained silent for so long that I forgot I had the power to speak about it. I believed he took that along with my power to protect my body in the moment, but he didn’t. And as difficult as this is to believe, I love him.

I love him because he taught me that my instincts are trustworthy. I love him because he taught me that my body is my temple and violation of that temple is an atrocity I will not forgive even if I feel absolutely worthless. I love him because he taught me that I am so much stronger than I would have ever believed.

I love him because I can. And that is a power he, nor anyone else, will ever be able to take away. Anyone can hate, but it takes a bad ass witch to love someone who’s wronged us.

To be grateful for the hardships means taking back control over your life, and refusing to give the power to those who would abuse it.

So, how do you love someone you don’t like?

You make it a choice. You take back your power, and you don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t- even if it’s hard to see how you could.

You find the lessons in the pain, the reasons in the irrational, and the light in the darkness. If you know it is your choice, your power, to seek those things- it suddenly becomes so much easier.

You work your Shadow Work, and you begin to understand your connections to that pain- how much you’re holding on to that you don’t need to, what you can learn from that pain, and how much stronger you are for it.

Because forgiveness isn’t given for their sake- it’s given for ours. WE hold that power, not them, not anyone- us.

Love, right now in this way, isn’t the 70’s Hippy shit with peace signs and flowers- it’s bullets and battlefields scarred with the wreckage of those who’ve tried to steal our souls but couldn’t.

We will not let them.

Why should you love someone you can’t stand?

Because you can.

Until next time, my friends…