What if we did not believe in hate? Or in vilifying people for any reason? 50 people in Orlando* and countless more would be alive and uninjured today.

We can begin to dismantle hate and vilification now, starting by how we explain to ourselves and our children the heartbreaking actions taken by one man, the shooter.

If you hate and vilify him and the group of people to whom he claimed loyalty, you can use those thoughts and feelings as a window into understanding their psyche. They are human and so are you.

Hate arises from fear and can lead to anger and violent actions as a way to meet the huge need for power that fear generates. Even if you are a peaceful person, given enough reasons, you could probably convince yourself that angry and violent actions against someone would be justified - take the shooter for example. That's likely to be the same process he used to convince himself that violent actions were justified against all those people in the club. Sadly, he must have believed he had "enough reasons."

But if you do not believe in hate or vilifying people, when strong feelings about others arise, you can validate them as thoughts and feelings, own them, and then follow them inward to find the real source of your fear. As odd as this may sound, the source is never other people, it is always a belief you have about yourself. This is what I wish the shooter had known.

While you are looking for the source of your own fear, if you feel powerless, find a way to meet that need that you don't have to justify with a reason. That's a good guide for any action, since needing justification means that without the reason, the action you are contemplating doesn't feel right, loving or respectful. Loving actions don't require justification - they feel right and respectful to you and others on their own.

Without justifications and reasons to hold them in place, hate and vilifying disappear. What's left is the opportunity for understanding and actions no one has to justify. A deeper understanding of our humanity and loving solutions are what we can share with our children today and every day to make hate and vilification disappear forever.

*Note: Reference to the mass shooting in an Orlando, Florida club June 12, 2016


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