Finding Our Purpose In Kindness

Finding Our Purpose In Kindnesss

We are inclined to find purpose in hate. It is easy for us to embrace the dark side of hate, love, and kindness. This blog explains why we must find purpose in kindness.

In retrospect, Yoda certainly got a few things right. Perhaps the moment where his wisdom shined most brightly was in response to a young Luke Skywalker’s question regarding the “dark side” of the force. Luke asked, “Is the dark side stronger?” Yoda’s immediate response was “No – quicker, easier, more seductive.”

Yoda’s wisdom is unfortunately reflected in many of our lives. Let’s face it – it is at times more natural for many of us to embrace the “dark side” of our emotions. Specifically, it is quicker, easier, and more seductive for us to embrace hate than it is to embrace love.

Also read Why Are We So Fearful Of Finding Our Purpose

This hate can take many forms – anger, judgment, frustration, jealousy, envy, and suspicion. But what is consistent is that hate is fundamentally unkind. We often dehumanize and marginalize the target of our hate. They are less people and more objects that cause us pain and, therefore, are deserving of our hateful emotions. In fact, as time goes on and our hate grows, it fills our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors. It seems as though being hateful and unkind becomes our purpose – not dissimilar from Darth Vader.

In contrast, love can feel like a somewhat elusive emotion. All of the various forms of love – from empathy, compassion, and caring to connection and respect – revolve around a basic sense of kindness. Love fundamentally reaffirms a sense of a person’s worth and humanity. And yet it feels as though it takes more time and effort to build and sustain love.

kindness What A Simple Way To Tell Another Struggling Soul
Finding Our Purpose In Kindness

There needs to be consistency in our experience of love so that we can grow to count on it and trust it. Once we’ve built up our trust, we feel more comfortable in expressing and receiving love. And only then will we allow ourselves to find purpose in love – to build our lives around loving and being loved. Otherwise, we often find ourselves drifting from these loving feelings as we embrace the “dark side” of hate and unkindness.

And this process of embracing hate over love is an equal opportunity employer. We are just as likely to hate rather than love ourselves as we do others. We tend to easily believe our more self-critical and shaming narratives about ourselves without challenge. In contrast, we can be more doubtful or even suspicious of kind words or deeds from others and don’t tend to adopt them into our own self-talk. Thus, when we talk about ourselves, it seems as though we are singularly committed to and focused on tearing ourselves down rather than building ourselves up.

Why we can’t embrace the bright side of hate and kindness?

There are several possible reasons. For some of us, we are simply reacting to our environment.

We have heard more hateful than loving messages in our life.

Perhaps we were in a family that focused more on criticism than praise. In a school of hundreds, maybe we can count only a handful of people as friends, with many others passively or actively disliking us.

  • Maybe we are rejected by several people before being fortunate enough to find someone who is romantically interested in us, and the rejection can often be defeating and insulting.

A job search could involve hundreds of resumes sent out in the hopes of one interview, let alone a job offer, making us doubt our qualifications to be productive in the world. So why not assume the world is unkind and that we should feel and act accordingly?

Also, read 8 Mindset Shifts To Stop Repetitive Destructive Thoughts

Another possibility is that we struggled receiving love because it did not match how we felt physically or emotionally.

For example, if we struggle with depression, we are biologically wired to be more aware of, focus on, and remember unkind and hateful information that matches our mood state. It feels more real and truthful to us as compared to someone complimenting us. Because how can someone love us when we feel so badly? Or if we are in chronic pain from an injury, the positive feedback we may receive is drowned out by our focus on our physical pain.

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Mike Friedman

Dr. Mike Friedman is a clinical psychologist and the co-founder of Hardcore Humanism. Sign up for the Hardcore Humanism newsletter for weekly updates and tips for optimizing your life!View Author posts