“Hate attracts hate.” I fully agree with this statement. But it is equally true to say that “love attracts love”, and “generosity attracts generosity”.
As a side note, I prefer the more old-fashioned term, “breed”. “Violence breeds violence.” “Honesty breeds honesty.” Because the word “breed” gives off the idea of not only reproducing, growing and multiplying, but also of being passed down from generation to generation. Which shows more clearly why we live in a world of hate breeding hate.
In this blog, I define “hate” as all negative thoughts, feelings and actions. Similarly, “love” is all positive qualities of the human being.
Firstly, I’d like to argue that if we want our life to exemplify “love breeds love”, we should distance ourselves from people who overwhelmingly express negative feelings, such as resentment and dislike. If we are surrounded by hate, it’s much harder to love. Someone immersed in an environment of betrayal, drunkenness, unconscious acts, would find it extremely challenging to express sincerity, warmth, tenderness and all other virtues of the soul.
When we hate, not only do we easily fall into committing other errors, like revenge, self-pity and loathing, but we also pollute all others around us. Even pet dogs are often a victim of the hate and cruelty sent off by their owner.
As a practical example, when we criticize, yell at or offend another, the other person reacts to our behaviour on the same level. Hate breeds hate. The feelings are reciprocal. Not everyone retaliates with criticism, yelling or offending, physically, but we almost always react in our private thoughts and feelings. Inner urges to criticize back, yell back or offend the other. Or perhaps other negative reactions to the insult. Feeling hurt, planning revenge, or being cold and unfeeling. There are many possible reactions to an offense, but all are negative. Hate attracts hate.
Now if we take the “goodness breeds goodness”, or “love creates love” approach, a clearly-seen example is the effect of a small baby in a household.
Let´s say from six to eighteen months, a baby is completely spontaneous, loving and entirely free of any knowledge of hate.
A baby of this young age, spreads love to all the members of his or her family. The grandparents become softer and more accepting in their approach. The parents freely and openly say, “I love you” to the baby. The baby´s laughter is highly contagious, spreading joy. And everyone who sees the baby has sudden loving urges to hold the baby. Touching the baby, showing tenderness.
Summarizing my opinion, we are easily influenced by the behaviour and feelings of those around us. Whenever we surround ourselves with loving and honourable influences, we will find it easier to express family values, and when we are encompassed by destructive people, who are poor in human values, we will react negatively as well.
The most obvious counterargument to all this would be, “but everyone has choice”. I would like to argue that this is idealism. There are ridiculously few people in this world who have such great restraint that are not offended when facing blunt criticism or other acts of hate.
Everyone would like to think that we have this level of control over our thoughts, feelings and behaviour, as to be able to choose to not react. There are a few people who have incredible self-control when it comes to their behaviour, but not when it comes to their thoughts and emotions. We react automatically to rejection, sarcasm and contempt. We have no choice in our reactions.
These words may seem very harsh, but my intention isn’t to take away our hope of changing and becoming better people. Rather, show the reality of our weak state.
It’s exactly because we are easily contaminated with hate, that shows we are all inter-connected.
In this modern world, it’s increasingly difficult to find genuinely loving environments to nourish our positivity. But once we are absorbed in one such space, those magic moments happen, when we feel comforted, supported, accepted and loved.
On a closing note, in Rio de Janeiro the slogan, “Violence generates violence” is common. It’s a cry for help. It’s more than a thought-provoker, it’s a stab of consciousness that leads us to reflect on our part in this city, and in the world.