“You get to choose: is love your verb or is hate your weapon?” –Maria Shriver

On a minute by minute basis, we do get to choose! Maria’s question is great to ask ourselves over and over. Hatred will never fix hatred, but love conquers all. Do you believe it?

Working on the Recovery Connection Line, I am a witness to a lot of pain, suffering and injustice through listening to callers pour out their hearts. There is a spectrum of pain, suffering, and injustice that each of us has suffered to a more or lesser degree. As far back as history goes, there has been pain, suffering, and injustice inflicted on people, animals and Mother Earth. And, sadly too many tragic things just go on and on from one generation to the next.

I’m not sure there’s more pain, suffering and injustice today than ever before, but we are undoubtedly more aware of them. The news, internet, social media, personal cell phone videos etc. keep things absolutely current. It keeps everything “in our face” in real time. Things are no longer hidden like they used to be; and, the good news is that as these things are seen in all their atrociousness, our collective awareness gives us more choice!

Choice to end using hatred as a weapon and choose love as the action that guides us moving forward collectively. These are “we” problems, and bigger than any single one of us. Yet, we have to start with ourselves. From my personal experience, I’ve suffered enough pain and injustice in my life in order to be a spiteful, bitter, hateful person. Over and over and over again, I have to choose love—and, love displays itself differently in every situation. We cannot underestimate the power of loving ourselves either. If we are inflicting ourselves with self hatred, we are not going to be able to impact this world much differently.

Healing ourselves is the best gift we can give the world. Let’s not spend time pointing our fingers at others in hatred. Rather, let us each heal the pain and injustice we’ve personally suffered—so that being loving comes more naturally. Then, let’s use loving energy to collaborate and create together with compassion and care and find ways, individually and collectively, to contribute to the good of “we!”

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.