I have a love hate relationship with the degree program I am. I love the heart of it, the heart of feminism. The heart of it really does have good intentions, ones of love, equality and hope. I hate the bashing that yes, unfortunately happens in my degree, too. The thing is, we all have pain in our lives. We’ve all been hurt in ways or had experiences happen to us that leave us tainted. The really cool thing about pain is that pain often is what makes us pursue necessary and sometimes life saving change. It is sad that change has to happen as a result of pain, but the good in pain is that that is where change can finally blossom. When seeking change from pain, there are two paths we can take. One is where we try and create change out of love. Instead of turning around and hating the person that wronged us, we love them instead. We educate them, we help them, we are patient with them, and above all, we love them. The other way we pursue change from pain is through hate. This is where we turn around and hurt those who hurt us, often in the exact same way. It’s understandable someone may act this way; pain can often be unbearable and the natural way to feel may be to hurt them back. But when you’re educating someone through hate, you’re not changing them, you’re making them hate you more. The thing that scares me about people who operate through hate is that no matter what you to say to them and how you say something to them, they’ll never see both sides of the story. They’ll only see all the negativity. Their hearts grow harder and become more stubborn, and then change cannot take place.
There have been people in my life who have caused me pain. Some of these people caused me minor pain where I was soon able to forget and move on. Some of these people caused me major pain where I wanted nothing more than for them to experience that pain back. But as much as I would "think-hate" mean actions onto them, if I removed my pain from the situation, I'd see that at the bottom of me I didn’t actually want them to experience this pain. I was just so mad at them and didn’t know what else to do or how to make them see my side of the story (regardless of whether it was right or wrong) and how much they hurt me. Instead what I’ve been teaching myself to do is love those people. It sucks sometimes, A LOT. I hate trying to love someone who did me wrong. But it’s helped. It’s helped me learn to forgive them. And it’s only been once I’ve forgiven them (even if they haven’t been sorry) that I’ve been able to move on. I’ve been able to experience freedom. Before that, I still felt trapped by what they did to me. Once I was able to forgive them, I was able to move my life forward without their hold on my life.
I’m not saying you have to love everyone to their face. Perhaps if things were really unhealthy it’s better to cut those people out of your life, and that’s fine, but you can still love them behind their back. Maybe one day you’ll be able to tell them you forgive them, or that you’re the one who is sorry instead. Every situation is different. But I do know that trying to love and forgive someone who wronged you, even if just in your own heart, is where change truly can take place