Say “No” to Hate

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Picture via pixabay.com

“Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change. Kiss slowly, forgive quickly, play hard, take chances, give everything, and have no regrets. Life is too short to be anything but happy!” – Unknown

Just the other day, I went online to research urological treatment options for cats and I came across a vet med site where other cat owners shared their advice and experiences. As I read down the endless list of back-and-forth comments,  I was appalled.  A subject as benign as “cats with bladder issues” unleashed a barrage of hateful commentary. Rather than giving constructive advice, empathy or encouragement, there were nasty comments like “You gave your cat that medication? You’re an idiot and an irresponsible cat owner!”  And that was one of the nicer comments. These people didn’t even know each other, but were quick to pass judgment – all behind the shield of anonymity, of course.

It never ceases to amaze me how many haters there are out there. Blogs and social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn seem to be a breeding ground for these angry people, emboldened by the name “Anonymous.”  Amazingly, I’ve only had one hater comment on this blog – since its inception in October 2011.  I never published the comment, because my policy is to never give a hater any public platform to spew their hate.  Criticism is fine. Venom is not. Sarcasm and dark humor is okay. Crass and ignorant commentary is not okay.

Apparently, hate is not relegated to social media.  Just look at the ridiculous nastiness and vulgarity displayed during the recent GOP presidential debates. Opportunistic presidential nominees are feeding off the anger of  a nation, as the world watches with amazement and disgust.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being angry.  But when anger becomes rage and gives birth to a population of serial haters, then we’ve got a problem, folks. Anger, when properly channeled, can bring about positive change.  Rage is a different animal altogether.  It just festers. It becomes malignant.

The fact of the matter is, Life is too short.

Who in their right mind would choose rage and hate over happiness and love?  Yes, I said “choose.”  It’s all about choice.

Say “No” to hate.  It simply takes up too much energy.  It gives you frown lines and makes you bitter.  It’s like a dark, murky cloud that follows you around everywhere.

I firmly believe that a positive attitude attracts good energy.  So, I say “Yes” to love.  And I’d rather have a face riddled with laugh lines, than frown lines – any day.

Cheers,

Heather  (not “Anonymous”)

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 4 of 7: Surviving that undertow called Grief

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“The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.”

Arthur Schopenhauer

Grief. It is an intense emotion and a very personal experience. We all grieve differently. Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest authors of all time (remember War and Peace?), once wrote that “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow.”  I know a very few people – family and friends alike – who manage to wade through their grief quickly and in a matter of fact manner.  Many others, like myself, grieve deeply and over a long period of time.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve… although some people do experience a level of grief that spirals them into a deep depression that lasts years, decades and, in some extreme cases, a lifetime.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

Washington Irving

In my life, Grief has been a frequent visitor. We have a familiar routine, Grief and I. Grief sweeps into my spirit, like a Category 4 Hurricane.  I allow myself to remain in the eye of the storm – daring it to make me collapse.  Somehow, I always manage to survive – still standing, although somewhat bruised and battered.  As American author Anne Lamott writes: “It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

It never goes away. It is always with me, to some degree.  A memory, a smell, a song…  can evoke joy and sorrow and then joy again – in one full sweep.  This is why I refer to Grief as an “undertow” –  a flow or current of water beneath the ocean waves near the shore that is powerful enough to suddenly lift you and immerse you in the next incoming wave.

“Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be. … Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

I prefer to deal with grief privately – hugs from well-meaning people are not encouraged as I don’t like to be touched when I’m in the throes of grief.  For me, it’s a solitary experience.

According to psychologists and grief counselors, there are five stages of Grief: Denial/numbness/shock, Bargaining, Depression/sorrow, Anger and Acceptance.  However, as much as we want to give everything a label and a chronological order… the fact  of the matter is that one goes back and forth (a number of times) between these stages.  I’ve spent a lot of time visiting and revisiting the stages of bargaining (i.e. what could have been done to prevent the loss), sorrow and anger. And  as for the final stage, Acceptance, well … it is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow, but once you do, it does bring some sense of peace. Not closure. Just peace. And that’s what you need to survive the undertow.

Some Book Recommendations:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

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Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Lossby Pat Schwiebert

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*Note:  The title of this Blog, “Surviving that undertow called Grief” is the title of Volume 3 in my Baby Boomer Series™ of books (in progress)

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