If You Have Nothing Nice to Say...Self Care Through the Rejection of Hate Speech
Some of the more current events of our nation and beyond have brought my attention back to a trend that I truly dislike.
It is a practice as old as time, that has only been given more reach, potency, and ubiquity through the use of technology and social media. I am talking about hate speech. Granted, technology and mass communication have also made it easier for humans to empower, encourage, and validate each other, but there is still a pervasive kind of communication that exists to and about others that is based entirely on negativity. I am not narrowing in on any specific kind of hate speech, nor am I advocating political correctness. Although understanding our social, political, and economic positionality is pivotal in discovering ways of acting as an ally to our oppressed and repressed brothers and sisters who face a slew of societal battles, this post is centered around something different. Today we are focusing more on the energy that we exude when we speak hatefully to ourselves or someone else, or wish them malice. I personally believe that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.
Whether it has been directed toward Kim Davis, Donald Trump, Michelle Carter, Kim Kardashian, or Lisa Borch, I feel as though the past few weeks have seen a spike in hate speech activity. The examples I chose to highlight here all revolve around greatly controversial, high-profile people or stories. Although I have provided links, I will share a brief overview of these individuals and their points of contention. Kim Davis, as you may know, is the Kentucky county clerk who refuses to provide gay couples marriage licenses despite national-level legislation. Donald Trump is the well-known billionare and GOP Candidate who is accused of being bigoted and misogynistic. Michelle carter is an 18-year-old on trial for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide non-stop via text. Kim Kardashian is a reality television personality and model, often criticized for being "talentless, pointless, and ignorant." Finally Lisa Borch, likely the name you have heard the least, belongs to a 15-year-old girl from Denmark who murdered her mother after being exposed to ISIS execution videos by her 29-year-old boyfriend.
The reason I have chosen these individuals is not because I want to defend their actions, beliefs, or behavior. My opinion of their actions is actually irrelevant. I chose each of these people specifically because in recent weeks, they have each received massive amounts of death threats, social media comments wishing them harm, hurtful commentary on their appearance, and have each become the butt of many jokes by individuals, memes, and media outlets. The bottom line is that these are people. No matter what they have done, said, say, or do. No matter how you feel about what they have done. They are people with families. They are children of the Universe, just like you and I. They are our family.
How does this relate to self care? Because we are one. We are a global community. We are all made from the same energy, manifested into an illusion of separateness. Negative thoughts, on any level, about any person, create energetic smog in our world and pollute the perfection of Universal love. Whether we spew hate speech looking in the mirror or on twitter, we are harming not just the person it is aimed at, but our fellow humans, our planet, and Spirit. The answer I am proposing is not of course to simply ignore atrocities, violations of human rights, or the harmful and destructive acts of others. Rather, I encourage us all to speak about the action and behavior themselves, not the character or the appearance of the responsible party, and only to incite and ignite change, not simply to bring hurt to the heart of another.
Let's bring this discussion to a smaller scale for a moment and consider moments when our hearts held judgment. Where we called someone fat, had an off color thought, or wished something negative upon a someone else. Moments when we spoke out of anger at someone we love. Moments when we thought harshly of ourselves. Feeling our emotions and learning to express ourselves is very much a part of self care, but the moments I described are not examples of healthy and progressive expression. The moments I described are instances that called for love and compassion. In moments of upset, anger, and outrage, it will not do to act from a place of hate. If we speak it, that hate stays in our mouths, wriggles its way into our brains like a parasite, and poisons our hearts. It seeps into the spaces between our veins that house our souls, and it seethes there. It is US that we are hurting. But not just us. Because we set part of that hate free, into the air like second hand smoke, into the soul of another person. It is all of us who suffer.
Today, I ask that we all speak a moment of prayer or of love in those moments where hate rises in our hearts. Pray that we may heal our own spirit and release that negative energy, but also that the object of our anger finds their way. I ask that we say that we love them or ourselves. I ask that we let the light of love shine through the clouds of anger and upset, to illuminate the truth of oneness. Those who harm others or have negative and harmful outlooks on life are those who need the most love. We must be the source of unity, not the supporter of separateness.
"I now release the need to have others conform to my ideas. I now look for the good in others and myself. I exist in peace, buoyed by the truth of oneness."
This idea is one that we will never master in our lives, but one that we must always work toward as if we will. We are not perfect, and that is our divine honor as humans. To learn and grow together. Namaste. xo