This New York Times’ article caught my attention this evening. A good question indeed and I read on. I love a deep question and I was already knee-deep in a pit of pondering about this one.
Who do I hate (and love?)
Then, ½ a second later, I realized it was an article about March Madness—which lost me and my oh-so-attentive interest—but not before I’d read the opening, which asked…
Which teams do you delight in their losses and which team’s wins fill you with happiness?
But I needed my version of that idea. When I think of the people I love, who do I love and whom do I hate? not love?
Who did I delight in their joys and who failures did I enjoy not mind as much?
This is tough to be honest about. http://www.findyourtattoo.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Love-and-Hate-Tattoo.jpg
I don’t think I have people I hate, not love—and we’re talking about people I actually know here, not just historical people or people in the news. I mean we can all get behind hating say, Hitler, right?—there are people who I don’t always love when they have everything go their way. The group is small, but it is there.
How does one get into such an esteemed club, you may wonder?
a) take take take and never or rarely return energy given by others
b) make everything always about them
c) treat people I love badly
d) treat people I love—including me—badly.
e) Any combination of the above choices.
Now to be clear, it isn’t that I want anything bad to happen—most of the time—but sometimes, it is nice to watch them struggle a little or a lot. Usually I don’t mind this because it feels like a karma is coming back to bite them in the butt a little. A little karmic retribution. Buddhists sometimes refer to this as paying your karmic debt.
For example, I often hope that they will have someone do to them what they did to me—whatever that is—so that they can find out how much it sucks. So they can have that moment—the moment of enlightenment when they think, “MY GOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CAUSING THIS AMOUNT OF PAIN.”
Then there might be groveling on their part. Humble, gracious benevolence on my part. Aren’t you lucky I’m nice enough to allow you to be forgiven on my part?
Weirdly it never really works out like this.
Usually, the person who has to deal, is me. The person who needs to move on is me. No karmic thunder bolts. No Ah-ha! moments. No retribution. In fact, often my vice-like grip on the reality of being hurt or wronged is the cause of even more suffering on my part.
This is suffering that comes from wanting something to be something other than what it actually is.
Which is why I’m so grateful for the other part of this article? Who do you love?
That group is bigger. Robust. Entertaining. Compassionate. Intelligent. Talented. Thoughtful. Intuitive. Insightful. Warm. This group is the “A game” of the people I love group. If they were in March Madness, these people would be “top seeds”—whatever that means—it would mean they knew what they were doing. It would mean if you fill in brackets to win the pool at work, your money should be on these people.
So who exactly do I love?
Here’s a basic checklist. You might find it helpful.
- People who show up—really show up—when things are ugly or hard.
- People who, when they tease me, I feel loved and known.
- People who will share their dinner and—dare I say it?—dessert with me.
- People with passion. I don’t even know if I care what your passion is anymore. But have some passion. Star Trek, geology, photography, writing, working with people, music, whatever. Please geek out about something.
- People who answer questions I ask because they know that—no matter how scary it is—it is better to have people know who you really are.
- People who like Coke Slurpees.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it—like a good house—has good bones. It is a good place to start. It makes me grateful that my who do you love list is pages and pages longer than the hate list. That gives me hope.
What is on your checklist?