What is the opposite of love?
The opposite of love has been deliberated upon for ages. Out of those contemplations we have answers. Insights as a result of wrestling this question from deep within the contemplators’ body, mind, and soul. Somewhat all the same when one is fully integrated as a human being.
What have they grappled with? That which you too will want to consider in your own self-discovery within.
The ideas that the opposite of love is fear, hate, and indifference, to name a few.
What do you think the answer is? Here is an idea to get you started on this contemplation… Can you have love without these considered opposites?
The Opposite of Love Is Not Hate, It’s Fear. Or is it indifference?
One of man’s innate feelings is fear which is a natural response to danger. Fear helps us survive but also limits us.
Fear is innate. A natural response to danger. While it helps us to survive it has its limits.
To know fear in our bodies is to recognize in it:
– increased blood pressure,
– our pupil’s dilating, and
– our heart’s pumping blood at high speed.
Fear can sometimes just be in our head; because it can be imagined when there is no real danger.
There are many types of fear. We can be afraid of failure, rejection, loss of power and change. When we’re afraid we don’t make decisions, we are not creative and above all, we are not happy.
The rejection of a set of features that we do not accept in ourselves causes many problems. When we do not accept ourselves out of fear, we do not love ourselves. Fear is the opposite of love.
What is the opposite of love? Some Say Hatred
Hatred or “odium” in Latin, is the rejection of someone or something. It’s actually useless. What good is hate? Nothing. We’re just going to feel bad ourselves.
Paulo Reglus Neves Freire, author and educator, says: “The opposite of love is not, as we many times or almost always think, hatred, but the fear to love, and fear to love is the fear of being free.”
Love softens you, fear hardens you. Love opens the universe, fear isolates you in yourself.
JR Carver, Prison Education NPO Volunteer at PrisonEd Foundation says,
“This is a common misperception. Because hate is based on fear, people think that hate is the opposite of love, but neither hate nor fear are the opposite of love. The following will focus on “hate” because it is the commonly perceived opposite of love, but the points made all work for “fear” too:
1. Love and hate/fear are very similar types of emotions, two of the strongest emotions we are capable of. One doesn’t usually love or hate someone “a little.”
2. With both you care very much what happens to the other person (want them well, or wish them harm, but you still care very much)
3. Both are very focused or directed toward another individual (or whatever else). They are very much taking up rent inside your head.
4. Both carry risk and make you vulnerable, though in different ways, and not necessarily in a bad way. Emotional vulnerability in love, for example, takes maturity and is healthy, but it can still hurt sometimes, though it is worth it.
5. Love and hate can sometimes coexist for the same person. For example, you may sometimes experience sporadic bouts of hate when your loved one’s habits and behaviors get on your nerves, and such feelings may coexist with your love for them. You can feel attracted to and repulsed by someone you just started dating. You can feel ambivalent, with mixed emotions.
6. Love can turn to hate in a matter of moments, as many people who have been through breakups or divorces can attest, or vice-versa such as when two angry bitter people suddenly have make-up sex.
7. Most importantly, research, such as that by Zeki & Romaya (2008) have studied the brain when people are feeling love and hate and found that many of the same areas of the brain are activated, such as the “insular” which determines the intensity of an emotion, but not whether it is positive or negative, in fact, it seems all that makes it positive or negative are the thoughts you choose when the strong emotion is felt, the neural processing of the arousal itself, and so it’s been observed that high arousal can easily switch from positive to negative or vice-versa because the difference is really a thin line. Frequently there aren’t different chemicals released into you for these emotions, the same ones are released inside of you as for the other.
9. Hate is strongest and most intense when it is derived from a foundation of love, such as when it is not reciprocated or abruptly ends, especially badly, then the emotional charge is simply shifted, it doesn’t have to go all the way in reverse past uncaring and then toward hate, it can shift nearly immediately, because the same arousal intensity is still there, just channeled differently.”
What is the opposite of love? Elie Wiesel says Indifference.
“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.”
― Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel saw the struggle against indifference as a struggle for peace. He said, “It is equally important to fight indifference and the attitude that ‘it’s no concern of mine.’”
Prominent Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Stekel, wrote in “The Beloved Ego: Foundations of the New Study of the Psyche” that hate is grounded in the nature of love.
“There is no love without hate; and there is no hate without love. The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference; the opposite of feeling can only be the absence of feeling. Disinclination, which is coloured by feeling, often only serves the purpose of concealing and protecting oneself against an inclination. Love and hate must go hand in hand; and the people we love most we hate also, because hate is grounded in the nature of love.*”
*Note > The text was translated from German into English by Rosalie Gabler and published in 1921. The German title of the work above was “Das Liebe Ich: Grundzüge Einer Neuen Dietätik der Seele”
Alert! Vulnerability and Courage Work Together.
We need to watch ourselves in relation to others. Are we indifferent to the plight of others? Keeping them “out of sight, out of mind.” Could this indifference be in order for us not to have to feel in ourselves and in relation to others? Thereby avoiding vulnerability. Vulnerability that we still perceive in us as ‘too much’ (intensity) to experience. Harkening us back to the kind of feelings we felt as a child: sometimes overwhelming, awkwardly discomforting in our bodies and/or filled with a sense of great survival threat (terror). Or perhaps there isn’t an awareness of your young sense of vulnerability but there are moments you avoid feeling or sharing them as an adult. There is a belief/pattern/instinctual sense that to feel deeply and to share in it with another would threaten your own esteem or gain or opportunity or safety.
Get a quick explanation on how Vulnerability and Courage Work Together!
Are we in a pattern in our life of deadening or dulling our emotions to avoid vulnerability?
The idea that vulnerability is a weakness is a bad myth. Avoiding it because if we feel all the way, for example, we may have to endure the present moment fully, in all that it brings: confusion, uncertainty, discomfort, pain, pleasure, lack of control, connection, creativity with impulse, our desire that could be rejected (as it has in the past), and flowing action of purpose and passion.
To be alive is to be vulnerable.
Or, perhaps it is a strategy – to avoid feeling our humility and empathy with others. Thus protecting us from our own plight. Helping to keep us successfully deadened or cut off from what is inside; affording us a sense of distant safety, feeling in control and able to better manipulate our affairs (to get what we want with less vulnerable risk). Hence, we have a strategy that successully keeps our vulnerability suppressed and thus managed away from our consciousness.
A strategy that leaves us absent of knowing how it is negatively impacting us and others. Unaware of how those cut-off pains inside us and negative patterns work together to act out unconsciously – in ways that hurt oneself and others. Holding us back from getting all of what we could be having.
You have to have courage to love. And there is no courage without vulnerability.
Stekel reinforces this plight when he observes,
“The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference; the opposite of feeling can only be the absence of feeling…”
In 1866* a political essay in a Woodstock, Vermont newspaper linked love, hate, and indifference: 3
Day follows night!
Sunshine follows storms!
Smiles follow frowns!
Kind words follow bitter ones!
Love follows hate, as hate follows indifference!
Peace follows war
*1866 May 3, Spirit of the Age, We Will Not Die, Quote Page 2, Column 4, Woodstock, Vermont. (Newspapers_com)
Don’t let resistance hold you back from experiencing the freedom love brings.
Learn more about resistance: what does it look like and where do I begin to work with it.
JR Carver says the opposite of love is indifference because…
“…love and hate/fear are too closely related in countless ways. The true opposite of love is indifference.
1. With love, emotion is strong, with indifference emotion is not there.
2. With love, you care what happens and they take up rent inside your head, with indifference, it doesn’t matter, they’ve just been evicted from your head.
3. With love you have tons of emotional chemicals running through you, but not with indifference.
4. You don’t switch from love to indifference instantly like you can with love-hate, it is typically a lot more gradual to quit caring entirely.
5. Love and indifference can’t co-exist. Either you don’t care and are indifferent, or you have some degree of caring and thus some level of love.”
To know the opposite of love one can better get know love and better know how important is love in our lives.