We tend to think of things in terms of polar opposites; an antonym can be defining. Probably the most popular pair that comes to my mind is love and hate. We love our significant other, we hate our ex. It’s a typical convention of thinking.
But is the opposite of love really hate? I thought so until I came across this quote from political activist Elie Wiesel:
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
While Wiesel is referring to world events, his insight can certainly be applied to our personal lives. We so strongly want to prove we don’t love something that instead we say we hate it. But hatred implies feeling, even passion. And in the context of love and romance past, I’m starting to believe Wiesel has a point.
Think back to a time when you were moving on from a relationship. You go through so many stages of thought, grief, and anger. You experience hysterical sadness and pain, and it is easy to feel hatred toward your former partner. But be honest with yourself- when did you truly move on from that relationship? It wasn't at the time when you decidedly hated your exes, it was when you no longer thought about them. And if you did, it was for a fleeting moment. You don’t hope they’ll text or call and wonder why they don’t. If you see them dating someone else, it no longer bothers you. Simply, you just don’t care anymore. This, my friends, is when you have reached indifference. This is when you truly have moved on from loving someone.
If Wiesel is a little too old school for you, The Lumineers’ “Stubborn Love” may hit closer to home. We all know what it feels like to love or to hate someone. Hate requires effort; it means we still care. If you are struggling to move on from love, remember that letting go is the most important part. Clinging to fragments of hatred will only hold you back, embrace the freedom of indifference.
Author: Jesse Meade
Music: Stubborn Love by The Lumineers