Yes, you, the awesome person reading this article. You are a rock star. You may not play an instrument, have what you think are any special skills, or feel as though you are a rock star in any way. You may know you’re a rock star. No matter what you think right now, stop, and say to yourself, OUT LOUD, I am a rock star. Say it with conviction. Believe it. Because it’s true.
Aristotle viewed hate as a desire for the obliteration of an object that is incurable by time. That’s pretty extreme. So why do we use the word “hate” so often in our everyday language? Perhaps it is simply because we have diluted the meaning of the word through repetitive use and have clouded our perspective of the word.
Hate should not be given the ability to forge daily conversations as it does. If hate means to completely destroy something in such a way that it can never be brought back, surely the negativity of the word has an impact on our emotional state by using it so much. If we spend time and energy “hating” others, our thoughts are absorbed by negative emotion and energy.
By choosing to focus such negative energy on other people, we actually bring about negative responses to ourselves. You’ve probably heard the phrase “treat others the same way you wish to be treated.” I used to think this was a direct one-to-one thing. I didn’t understand that it is meant as a generality. Being nice to some people and not so nice to other people doesn’t change the fact that you’re being negative to people. That negativity is going to come back, and usually not from the same person you dished it out to.
This was a very critical understanding that I had to reach to comprehend that if I wanted to be loved, respected, admired, and appreciated, I had to find a way to give all of those things to everyone I came in contact with. This is no easy task. For example, I still get very irritated at the person who doesn’t seem to understand that there are cars behind them when they are turning off of a major road; or they forget to use their signal in a situation where a signal is very necessary and obviously warranted.
It’s a big challenge for me not to think negatively about that person. However, I’ve toned down my road-rage with marked improvement over the last few years as I’ve learned to understand that though they may not be the best driver in the world (at that moment), the person behind the wheel is precisely that, a person. They are here on this earth for a purpose just as I am, just as you are, and they are just as capable of doing extraordinary things.
To make this easier to accomplish, I’ve come up with a little trick to cool my nerves and temper in a situation where I feel as though I’ve been wronged (like getting cut-off on the highway). I always pretend it is my own grandmother or grandfather (senior drivers seem to have a higher occurrence of being the catalyst to my frustration), or my sister or brother, or my wife, or best friend. By envisioning the person as someone I love, am close to and care about, I’m able to take myself out of the frustration of the moment, immediately forgive the person (because I know they didn’t mean to cause the situation), and move beyond the negatives of the situation. I’m able to continue driving without feeling frazzled, annoyed, or angry.
Turn The Other Cheek
There really is no good reason to hate, use the word “hate”, or believe that we should feel okay “hating” someone else, even if it is in supposed light-hearted jest. Regardless of their actions, everyone is trying to do what they can to make it in this world. They are here for some purpose. If you believe they are confused about what they should be doing with their life, instead of getting angry with them because you feel as though they’ve wronged you, try and find a way to help them grow as a person. I believe when Christ said…
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
—Matthew 5:38-42, NIV
…he meant that we should offer ourselves as a positive reinforcement through peace, and “offering our other cheek”. When we react in a negative way, it only fuels the negative flame that has been set ablaze by the circumstance. When we react with open arms, love, and positive reinforcement, we put out the fire of negativity and have the opportunity for ourselves to grow and the other person to be influenced and grow as well.
By the way, Socrates said something similar (for the non-Christ-following readers):
One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.
I Used To Be THE Official Asshole
When I worked at a bar/club, I developed a reputation for being the “asshole door guy.” I used to wear this badge with pride. Literally, I had a nametag with the word “ASSHOLE” printed on it. I didn’t have my name, just that word. I thought I was proud of it. How lame. My own insecurities made me actually believe that being a jerk was something to be proud of. It’s a wonder I didn’t get my ass kicked.
At the time, I hid the truth of what I felt while wearing that nametag: insecure, vulnerable, a loser, not worthy. It hurt my feelings and created a negative experience to wear that nametag, even though on the outside, I was trying to act like I was proud of such a label. Looking back now, I see the insecurity for what it was, and I am thankful I was able to wake up from such a negative mindset.
When A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings
I’m not the asshole anymore. It feels great to say that. I’ve learned that everyone that is on this planet is here for some purpose. It may be small, or seem insignificant right now, and it may not reveal its true power for generations. Everyone contains within them a seed of opportunity and power, and their time here with us is always enough for them to plant that seed and let it grow.
Even those people that seem to die well before they were supposed to, we should all take heart in the truth that they planted their seed, their purpose will be realized, even if it takes centuries. The people they came in contact with, spoke to, worked with, said hello to, or just had a passing glance with were influenced, if only a little, by their presence. As the saying goes, “when a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world.”
Every thing we do, say, or think is a reflection on the people and environment around us. Even a hermit has the power to effect change in the world. We may never be able to grasp the depth of the change, and we may never actually see it ourselves, but trust me, the change is there, and it does happen. Always.
We Are ALL Rock Stars
You are a rock star. I’m a rock star. Your neighbors are rock stars, your friends are rock stars, your parents are rock stars, your siblings are rock stars, your spouse or loved ones are rock stars, and your children are rock stars. No matter what you think about someone else right now, stop and realize that they are rock stars with the ability to change the world with simply their mere presence here.
Life tastes so much sweeter when maintaining a focus on the truth that everyone here has a purpose and has meaning to the rest of us, even if we can’t see that meaning on the surface. The more I’ve learned to trust this truth, the more I’ve learned to love unconditionally. The more I’ve learned to love unconditionally, the more my own life is filled with happiness, abundance, and pure joy.