Have you ever seen someone consumed by hate? Perhaps you saw me, when I was younger. I reached a point where I saw two paths: one to my own destruction through uncontrolled bitterness, the other to my life through love.
I had spent years participating in toxic relationships with my family during my parents’ divorce, stressing over my own worth and values. I did not even realize it until I began dating a wonderful guy at the end of high school. I saw how hurt he would get after I snapped impatiently at him, or dumped emotional baggage onto his lap without warning. He also pointed out without hesitation how I carried around this hate I felt and passed it on to others. I would make fun of their beliefs, or unfairly heap them with ridicule.
At that moment, I knew I either had to change how I managed myself or the relationship would not work out. The relationship was also not the only thing at stake: My own sanity and my relationship with others connected to me were also on the line. My whole world was at risk of being lost if nothing changed.
I was so broken. In fact, I still am. It’s okay to be broken and later mended, even if you break again. Let me tell you—if you believe nothing else I have to say—that when I broke again and again and again, love was there. As I tried and failed to change how I viewed my family and the world, my boyfriend patiently stood by me, encouraging me and telling me how well I was doing.
As I attempted to change my fear, anger, and bitterness into love, I came face-to-face with my own humanity. Who am I to complain about the unfairness of the world, if I filled it with my own poison?
The more I gave selfless love to my boyfriend and to my family, even if I did not want to, the more I realized how much poison I had given. At first, I was ashamed of what I saw of myself, and it was hard to swallow the newfound humility. Still, it was much needed medicine, and I quickly kicked myself into gear to be all the more loving and supportive.
Soon, I married this amazing man who opened the door to what love could be. I grew older and saw how accepting love, not hate, lead me to healing and peace. I still struggle a lot, but my vision is clearer.
I believe in love, because love is who we are, who we can be, and what we ought to strive for. Whenever I have chosen love over hate in my life, I have gained even if it took a lot as well. I gained a husband, healthier relationships, and boundaries with my family—and even two little girls. One day, they too will have to choose love: I want them to remember the love they received from me when they do.
I Believe in love, because love believed in me, just like it believes in you.