Learning to love others the way that we would like to be loved is no simple task. The Golden Rule was instilled and drilled into most of us at a young age: treat others the way you would like to be treated. As we grow however, we see more of the world. We see past the endlessly hopeful notion that humans are only capable of good—some of us discover this later than others in life, some of us sooner. When we live and experience, we learn. We discover the multiple dimensions of the human personality and of interpersonal interaction, and apply these observations to our own interactions.
Sometimes negativity seeps into the knowledge we acquire, and we utilize it along with the positive. We feel jealousy and react with coldness just as we feel happiness and react with warmness. We know how certain words make us feel and we utilize that which has been used against us simply because we know it is effective. Sometimes it seems easier to hurt others the way we have been hurt than to remember how to love others the way we would like to be loved. Maybe it is the essential yet intangible nature of love that makes it easier to remember and be consciously capable of hurt. Conflict is just that—interruption of the natural flow of life and concurrently the natural flow of love. Interruptions are easier to remember than the “everyday.”
The apparent ease of being negative is not an excuse to be so. It is far greater—albeit far more challenging—to love when we have been hurt. It is more challenging to remember to love others in the way that we know eases and fulfills our own spirit.
We find it easier to express negativity for two reasons. The first is that it connects us to those around us. Suffering to any degree is the common thread between all humans, and connection and acceptance are two things the human soul craves. If negative sentiments about the weather, another person, or our surroundings are probably shared with someone around us, we are likely to express them. The second reason is that negativity does not make us as vulnerable as being loving does. There is nothing to be taken away from us when we are negative because we are not investing ourselves. Being negative—whether in speech, action, or lack of speech or action—places the spotlight on the object of our disdain and away from ourselves, our emotions, and thoughts.
This said, the challenge in achieving happiness should not be the vain search for what we can find to make us happy, but rather in abandoning the mindset that we are owed this “thing” and accepting that it is up to us to create the happiness we search for. The challenge in making the effort to love where we are and who we are with is a challenge of action. When we decide to act, we decide to accept consequences of our actions, leaving ourselves open to the positive that is likely to follow.