To give a lesson about hatred, a kindergarten teacher invited her students to play a game. First, they’d ask their moms or dads to buy some big baking potatoes. Then the child would bring one or more potatoes to class. But, before bringing the potatoes, the children were told to think of all the people they hate. And then, using a thick black marker, print on a potato the name of one hated person. The more people they hate, the more potatoes they would bring.
Next week the kids brought their potatoes, each bearing the name of a person they hated. Some of the kids had as many as five potatoes!
They were told to carry the potatoes with them in a paper bag for one month. They would see who could carry the potatoes for the longest time. After a couple of weeks, the children began to complain that the potatoes were heavy and smelled bad. The more people they hated, the heavier was the load.
After the month had passed, the teacher asked, “How did you feel while carrying the potatoes?” The kids said, “Yucky!”
The teacher said: “You see how it is when you carry hatred and never let it go? The more you hate, the heavier it is and the worse it smells. You didn’t enjoy carrying that hatred with you. Now you’ve learned that you can choose to drop the bag of stinky, heavy hatred and let it go, any time you wish.”
Let’s say, after reading this story, we understand that holding on to hatred, a grudge, or even a resentment is not good for us. Does that understanding alone prompt us to let go? For some people, maybe so. Others might need a little more help.
In a previous post on forgiveness, I mentioned that some people resist forgiving, because in order to do so they have to be in the right mood; they have to “feel like it”. But this idea may not be useful; in effect those folks are saying they’re controlled by emotions.
I challenge that idea. I propose that you can choose to let go of hatred. How do you do it? It’s simple, but not easy. You decide that your adult brain is going to control your thinking. You surround yourself with upbeat, happy, successful people and avoid negative, angry people. You choose to think about things that help you feel positive, optimistic and grateful. You actively, deliberately place your attention on such things, and place the negative, obsessive, self-defeating thoughts of hatred and revenge behind you. You get in the habit of putting your mind in a peaceful place at least once every day. If you’re not sure how to get started, please give me a call at 219-309-3928. I’d be thrilled to work with you.
Thanks for reading!!