My mum once told me that there wasn’t a big difference between loving someone and hating them. I was 13 at the time, and I thought that this was ridiculous as I had just broken up with my first boyfriend and I was adamant that I had moved on and completely sure that I hated him.
I very simply explained to her that loving someone meant you cared about them the most, and that hating someone meant that you cared about them the least. She explained to me that I was wrong, and that I was naïve. She told me that if you hate someone, you still care about them too much, and too deeply. I was too young to understand what she meant by this at the time, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to understand the meaning behind her words.
When someone hurts us, abandons us, or breaks us, we are told to be angry. We are told that if we are angry we won’t have time to be sad. We are told that if we hate them, then maybe we won’t miss them.
So I tried this. I tried hating you. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good, at first.
I hated you before I went to bed, and I hated you first thing when I woke up in the morning. In the moments I missed you most, I chose to hate you instead. I chose to be angry. I chose to be spiteful. I made lists in my head of all the times you did me wrong, and I would go back to these lists in my weakest moments.
But as the weeks passed, I realized that there was no difference between loving you and hating you. I realized that all the anger, and all the hate, was really just a mask for the love and the hurt that I was feeling.
So slowly, I chose to stop hating you. I stopped caring too deeply about the words you did or didn’t say. I decided to wake up in the morning with love in my heart instead of the taste of hate on my tongue. Not love for you. But love for life.
The day I decided to stop hating you is the day that I started loving life again.
Ten years after that conversation with my mother, I finally understood the words that she was trying to explain to me that day.
I had finally stopped hating you.
And in the process, I stopped loving you too.