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It seems that terrorism has become a regular occurrence. Just this year, it was a concert in Manchester, then on London Bridge. These acts are not only extreme but vile and disregard our common humanity.

But how does hate proliferate? Acts of hate gain ground, first and foremost, through communication. Before anyone picks up a knife or gun or drives a vehicle into a crowd of people, they talk and write about their ideas to others. And the more people consume and share these messages, the more the ideas gain traction. We don’t think about this because it just seems like something that “others” do and many of us are not personally affected. But our tolerance to hate of any kind is not healthy.

We have to be cognizant of all of the hate that we consume and to which we often passively contribute everyday. No longer can we focus solely on acts that seem outrageous to us like terrorism or genocide. We must find hate that has become commonplace, such as microaggressions, shaming, hate speech, and bullying as unacceptable as well. Both online and in real life, our harsh judgments and shaming are a part of our everyday lives and our constant consumption, sharing and apathy may seem small and inconsequential, but they aren’t.

Constant public consumption of fear and hate are changing who we are and making expressions of love seem outrageous when, in fact, it is hate that is outrageous. And it is not only making us less well, but it is also making us sick.

Hate, fear, and judgment don’t work, but they have become a way of life. While social media has made it so easy, the majority of our anger should be expressed and processed privately rather than displayed as rage for all the public to witness. Because every time we witness it, we not only take it in but we become it (even if only in part).

“Extreme” acts of hate have the same roots as “acceptable” forms of hate. While the perpetrator’s preferred choice of aggression and the scale are very different, the result is the same—more pain and suffering. From bullying to single-victim acts of violence to the extreme mass killings, there is not one of these that is “okay.” Besides, how do you think terrorists accomplish their goals? The same way anyone else who spreads hate does—they discredit love.

Indifference and passivity regarding microaggressions and other commonplace aggressions are what pave the way for extreme acts. So, when will we act? We can’t wait for it to affect us or someone we love. We are responsible for one another. We have to hold ourselves and others accountable for the hurt, fear, and hate we not only spread but consume.

Now, combating hate of any kind is not as easy as “loving” it away. It is a multi-pronged approach; however, we have to begin with those everyday occurrences. It starts with us, not someone else. We are nobody, yet we are everybody. Taking a stand is an important and necessary start. It will be uncomfortable, but we can do hard things. And the last thing aggressors think is that we will take a stand. Love and compassion are not the only steps to stopping

Love and compassion are not the only steps to stopping hate, but they are the root from which every other strategy should evolve.

FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.

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