Hate, anger, violence—none of these ever resolve conflict. They simply add fuel to an already raging fire.
As a man who struggled with who I am for a good part of my life, it had an effect on me—and not a positive one. It made me bitter. It made me angry. Sometimes I couldn’t contain it when I felt I was being treated differently or when I felt it wasn’t safe for me to simply be who I am. That anger would rise to the surface randomly, and seemingly without a trigger.
Many people in my life saw that anger in me. Unfortunately, many also experienced it.
Part of my personal resolve was realizing I wasn’t alone, which helped to slightly deflate my balloon of anger. I now knew others who shared the same feelings.
The biggest solace I found was finally finding someone who loved me totally and completely. The words “I love you” can dissipate anger better than anything else.
But finding peace didn’t come easily. It was a long road to personal acceptance. I realized I couldn’t allow anyone else to love me completely, unless I first loved myself. Figuring out how to do that was, perhaps, my biggest obstacle.
I realized I’m not broken. There is nothing wrong with me. There is a reason the universe made me this way. I’m perfect in my own way.
Today, I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I still struggle with some of those things, but they are remnants, not active elements, of who I am. They are things buried deep within my person because they were with me for so long.
Much like an ex-smoker will still have passing cravings, sometimes still, that bitterness creeps back in. I don’t like it, and I do my best to control it. As time goes on and tolerance becomes more widespread, the longer I can go without feeling it.
I’m happy to say I’ve now lived for many years comfortable in my own skin. It has had positive effects on my life, many of which I may not even be able to see or realize. All of this is because I now accept myself, and I now live in a society that, for the most part, accepts me as well.
Anger, hate, and intolerance destroy people. It is the aspect most people don’t realize, unless they’ve had to deal with it themselves. When you don’t accept people, even if they are different than you are—ESPECIALLY if they are different than you are—it is incredibly damaging to them, right to their very core. It breeds bitterness and anger . . . and with those possibly even violence.
Sometimes I think of all the things I could have accomplished if I’d loved myself sooner. I also think of all the things everyone else in this world would be able to accomplish if we loved them too. What if we nourished each other, instead of trying to separate ourselves?
This world seems to have become an angry, intolerant place. As a result, it is breeding more bitter and angry people, like I used to be. Internal fires are raging. Some of them are out of control.
We need to find the love. You know love, right—that thing that’s free, that we can allow ourselves to feel for others?
That doesn’t mean you need to embrace everyone. It doesn’t mean we all have to agree.
Just don’t make it difficult for others to live decent and happy lives, even if they are different than you are. Even if they lead lives that you don’t agree with, don’t judge people for the decisions they make regarding their own lives.
Worry about yourself and the things in your own life, not me or mine. I’ve got that covered.
Love—it’s the answer.
Image by Elijah Macleod