Once, I was walking down a busy road in London, when a group of boys passed me by. They must’ve been about 15 or 16 years old, and as they were walking past, the one that was closest to me throws a punch that lands straight in my stomach. It didn’t hurt or anything, but for a second, I could feel the heat of anger bubbling up inside me. I turned to look at him, and he started doing the “What? What?” mini-gangsta routine, throwing up his arms and feigning steps towards me, asking his mates to hold him. And while I was looking into his eyes, I began to see it…the things that must’ve happened in his life for him to want to throw a punch in stranger’s stomach in broad daylight on a busy street to impress his friends. I did what I usually do with people that put me in difficult situations…I mentally rewound his life, from that very moment in which he was jumping up and down and pumping himself up in front of me, all the way back to his house that night, and the nights before, and his childhood and his most memorable moments, imagining the messed up sh*t that he went through growing up to make him be this way. This exercise in imagination only took me a moment, and my anger burst like a soap bubble. How can you be angry with someone when you understand them? His experiences may not have been what I imagined them to be, but if they were in the same ballpark, it explained it all. I shook my head, turned around and left. I left loving him. Wishing him well. And hoping that whatever he will end up experiencing will make him show love to complete strangers with the same force that he showed me violence.
Everyone is lovable.
I don’t remember not loving everyone. Everyone is lovable, when you understand that they are people with experiences that made them who they are, that had to deal with influences from their parents and friends and neighbours, and that much of what they do has nothing to do with you, per se. Each person is a Universe with a rhyme and reason built over experiences, just like you and me. The way each person behaves is like a unique piece of music to me, and I love to hear each tune. In fact, it’s a privilege to hear it, since it’s unique — there are no two identical ways of being. And if you know each person well enough, you can start to discover where this or that aspect of their personalities originated from. Making those connections is one of my favourite art forms.
There is an origin to the way people behave.
When I mention that I’ve studied psychology, a lot of people ask “So can you read my mind?” No (or at least not because I’ve studied psychology), but what I have learned during my degree is how to make connections between aspects of people’s personalities and their past — where their habits, phobias, bursts of anger come from. And when you realize that there is an origin to the way people behave — with the most awful behaviours usually stemming from the worst traumas — how can you hate the person, even when what they do hurts you? You don’t have to accept them hurting you — I know that I wouldn’t have accepted that stomach punch if I saw it coming. But I can’t be angry for more than a moment, and I can’t hate. All I have for that person is love, compassion, and a desire to see him get experiences that put out that violent anger in his heart, just like he had experiences that fuelled it.
I’m not exempt from having my past experiences define my present mind and behaviours, just because I know that’s what happens to all of us.
And it’s not like I’m exempt from having my past experiences define my present mind and behaviours, just because I know that things work out that way. It’s humbling to see how, even after years of daily deep soul searching, I still discover the origins of subtle patterns of my mind and actions. Like when I recently realized that my introverted side (it’s just a side, since I have a lot of fun being extroverted) has its roots in my childhood, when I had pneumonia and had to stay in the house for 6 months and couldn’t go to school, leaving me alone with my thoughts for most of that time. My inner Universe is still full of surprises, and it’s clear to me that I’m not special — each person that I meet is just as crazily boundless. One more reason to love y’all — there’s so much to learn from each of you, so much to see and understand. I just have to pay attention, and look inside that Universe of yours.
When you love everyone, you get a lot of love back.
As strange as it sounds, this way of thinking leads me to love everyone I’ve met and haven’t met, and I mean everyone — the 1%, the 99%, the wild and crazy, the cold and calculating, the dazed and confused. It’s an amazing feeling, and the best part about it? I get a lot of love back from everyone that I know — friends, family, workmates, classmates, random people that I meet (with the odd exception, but then again, the lessons that I received in those situations can also be seen as a form of love, when in small quantities). And what can be better than feeling that you are loved? That’s the basis of everything else that’s good in my life and that I am grateful for, and I pin it all on the love that I feel for everyone reflecting right back at me. Which, ironically, makes me love everyone even more. Its a…amn, what’s the opposite of a vicious circle? Oh yeah, a virtuous circle!
A good utopia is one where everyone is better off, right?
But this love that I feel also makes me want to see everyone happy, because the people that you truly love, you want to see happy. And this is what I really wanted to talk about, because I’ve recently discovered in my conversations with people that not everyone wants everyone to be happy, even on their own version of utopia. I love asking people what their vision of the ideal utopia is, and many times, it figures some group of people in the world getting the short end of the stick — which to me is strange, since, if you love everyone, you want everyone to be better off. But given the size of this post, I’ll leave that as a topic for another conversation.
Until then, much love to you all, and thank you for the love you show back. ❤️