I was once in an abusive relationship that left me so traumatised I even contemplated suicide.
It was a long, long time ago and I thought I was totally over it, until a recent news story involving a certain misogynist started ‘grabbing’ the headlines.
As I watched news coverage of this man trying to intimidate a woman he was supposed to be debating with I could feel an ancient fear deep inside of me spark back into life.
When you’ve lived with a man who needs to demean and terrorise women to make himself feel less small you recognise the signs.
And it made me feel sick to my stomach when I saw people defending this man on social media.
Just as it makes me feel sick to my stomach when I see people saying hateful things about refugees and other innocent people in dire need of help.
I can’t remember a time when the world was so full of hate and fear.
I can’t believe that bullying and racism are being legitimised by certain political leaders.
And, due to our 24 / 7 connection to the world’s news outlets via the internet, it’s impossible to ignore.
At first I thought that the answer was to argue back every time I saw a post on social media that encouraged hate.
But all that did was make me feel even more angry and fearful, getting sucked into pointless debates.
So, I took a few days out from the news and I came up with a plan.
And, if you’re also feeling sick and tired of all the hate, you’re very welcome to join me…
ONE: Sift through fear’s lies for love’s truth
First, I reminded myself that our press and media have an agenda. In a nutshell it’s FEAR SELLS.
So we’re fed story after story designed to scare and divide.
I don’t want the likes of Rupert Murdoch controlling my world view. So I’m going to seek out my news from other outlets, like the wonderful Positive News.
And in future these are the only kinds of news stories I’m going to share on my Facebook page.
Stories that educate and uplift and inspire rather than encourage hate.
I’m going to make it my intention every day to sift through fear’s lies for love’s truth.
TWO: Keep on hoping and dreaming
In the light of so much negativity it’s easy to give up hope.
Last week I found myself thinking things like, what’s the point of dreaming about new books and business ideas when so many people are suffering?
It’s hard to feel enthusiastic about anything much when you see children being bombed and turned away.
But now I’m thinking that maybe more positive and hopeful dreamers are EXACTLY what the world needs now.
Especially if our hopes and dreams involve doing good.
Which brings me to my next point…
THREE: Be a beacon of kindness
‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,‘ Gandhi once said.
The only way we can ultimately defeat hate is with love.
Martin Luther King Jr knew that.
And so did Jesus when he told us to ‘love your enemy‘ and ‘turn the other cheek‘.
It can be really, really hard to come from a place of love when faced with hate, but we need to break the cycle or we’ll just keep on spiralling down.
Last week I set myself the challenge of doing at least three random acts of kindness every day.
This has changed everything for me.
It’s snapped me out of my angry, bitter thinking and given me something far more constructive and fun to focus on.
By actively seeking out ways in which I can bring more love to the world it’s helped me feel a lot less powerless.
I’ve signed up for charities I believe in, I’ve given away books to people who need them, I’ve donated clothes to refugees.
We’re not helpless.
We all have the ability to bring love.
So let’s start bringing it like never before.