Does anyone else notice a disturbing trend of hate evolving around us? We’ve watched from a distance as hatred has gained momentum with our southern neighbours. Now it’s coming closer. My home town was recently rated by Statistics Canada to have some of the highest numbers of hate crimes reported to the police last year. Incredible! I read non-stop news stories and social media posts of people protesting diversity. Pride celebrations are disrupted by radical religious groups, individuals who deem the world as black or white leaving no room for the acceptance of human differences. Even some political parties are evoking hate and fear mongering by decrying immigration. My own parents were immigrants! There can be no doubt that Canadians who are or whose family are immigrants have contributed immensely to our country.
Where did these thought patterns emerge from? After all the decades of protesting against hate, fighting for human rights—including equal opportunity for all abilities, racial, religious, feminine, or sexual freedom—we had begun to see real progress. Now, sadly, it seems as though the strides made by our great leaders of the past are slowly eroding. There are those who use the platform of social media with the rational that it’s okay to say whatever they feel. Is it their goal to find support by evoking the herd mentality? Have we not learned anything from history?
During my youth in the 60s and 70s, I grew up watching my special needs brother get bullied, and I wondered then what caused human beings to do such things. What was it that prompted people to hate differences? Today, I have come to believe there are two main catalysts for human behaviour—fear or love.
Often, when things don’t go well in a situation, I will analyze my own reaction or conduct by asking; did I engage from a place of fear or love? The answer usually becomes clear, I was propelled by fear. Our motivation for acting a certain way can always be boiled down to one or the other. Perhaps it was a point-of-view argument that accelerated into bruised feelings. Insisting on my opinion, I was afraid that if I was found incorrect, I would be less than the other person. Had I entered the conversation fueled by love, I wouldn’t have been so adamant I was right. I might have listened and respected the fact that this individual had their own viewpoint, even if it differed from mine. And if that person also approached the conversation with love, we may have each come away from the discussion having learned from our respective beliefs.
This brings us back to hate crimes and protests. Are they not driven by fear? If we bully a person with special needs, or someone of a different race or religion, do we conduct ourselves from a place of fear or love? Clearly, we operate from a place of fear. Fear that they are different, fear that they don’t look like us, fear that they don’t believe the same things, fear that they have different sexual preferences to ours, and fear that they cannot reason as we are able. Certainly, all these things could be considered terrifying.
But what would happen if we chose to view these differences with love? We’d respect our fellow human beings in a way that would allow us to co-exist. When we look at someone with a different skin colour, we could remember that we all lay down at night and get up in the morning the same way. We all eat, sleep, and love, no matter our sexual preference. We all search for our own spiritual path regardless of whether or where we choose to worship, and we all require care whatever our level of ability.
As Canadians, we have always prided ourselves in our diversity. It is what makes us great! I challenge each of us to consider this when it comes to our own behaviours. Are we are acting from a place of fear or love? I believe that if we strive to make love our priority, amazing things will happen between us.
What are your thoughts and experiences?
Sending peace and positivity your way.