When it comes to the iniquities of this world and the multitude of injustices that break so many globally, I am convinced the root of all prejudice is economic inequality. Yet the more I observe and the more I reflect, I’ve been led to another conclusion and a revelation of sorts. The root of economic injustice has a root of its own, for the hatred that is consuming this planet into an inferno of animus is the lack of love too many of us have in our hearts.
Pain is the great equalizer in life; none among us can escape its slings and arrows. From prince to pauper and all in between, pain is a something that all of us have felt and almost all of us continue to cope with. Most of the times, the pains we struggle to heal from is not even a pain that happened recently or distresses we can reminisce. Pains beget pains this I know to be true; it was an original hurt that conferred on our spirits a tendency to chase injuries even as we cry from them so.
We were not like this before pain educated us and taught us to become adults. There was a time during our youths when we saw the world through the lens of optimism and treated others through the prism of innocence. But something, or someone, came along and robbed us of our childhood and left us with tears that would serve as a means to understand the ways of this world. The theft of childhood was more traumatic and the thieves more malicious for some more than others; yet irrespective of the nature of our wounds, hurt is hurt and we can only understand pains through our own experiences.
We had a choice when injustice came knocking for us. To invert the pains and become giving or revert to pain and pass on pains to others. This is the dichotomy of humanity in a nutshell; people choose to become “givers” or “takers” because of something that happened to them a long time ago. Though we give token praise to the virtue of givers as they toil in anonymity, we seem to follow the lead and idolize the takers who make fortunes through selfishness. Yet both givers and takers have one thing in common if their ways are excessive—they are doing what they do because love left them or was taken from in the past.
Giving too much is just as harmful as taking too much if giving comes at the cost of harming oneself. This is why givers are drawn to takers; unable to give to self, they keep attracting takers who only know how to receive. A dance ensues where givers give too much until they eventually get burned one too many times. When that time arrives, givers decide to be unkind too and lash out at those who they thought took too much. Fire birthing fire, givers and takers become one in the same as they lash out of vengeance.
All these pains and the ways we either attack or counterattack others is to compensate for the love that is missing inside. Always easier to fix the world than it is to mend ourselves, we invest way too much time focusing externally than we do trying to heal our hearts and our damaged souls. I am not saying this from a place of piety nor am I preaching as if I know more than most; I too struggle with this for I let the animosity of others bend my light way too often even though I should know by now the folly of giving others veto rights over our lives.
Love is the only answer; all else is bankrupt. Only when we fill our hearts with love and then love others equally as we love ourselves can we start to make a dent in this wall of injustice that is shattering the world. The first time I read 1 Corinthians 13 was when I heard Lauryn Hill’s (link) “Tell Him” where she sang an entire song based on one bible verse. When I opened up the bible and read the entire chapter during my love’s crucible, I was blown away but I had yet to gain wisdom enough to understand what the verse was trying to tell me. I spent the next 18 years gaining all kinds of knowledge and fine tuning my tongue to speak to endless people yet all I heard were clangs. Faith and hope refused to overflow in my heart regardless of how many degrees and credentials I racked up.
Finally, at the age of 42 it hit me, all the things I was doing and the points I was trying to prove was to cover the throbbing scar that love’s exit left in my heart. I could write books on how love has been unkind to me, but I finally earned the wisdom to understand the genesis of my hurt. Love was not unkind to me, it was me that was unkind to myself. As we treat ourselves, we are setting an example of how others will treat us. A journey of tears thus ends in a place of happiness—love cannot exist nor can we receive it from others unless we first love ourselves.
Perhaps the revolution we all have been waiting for is not one has anything to do with protests or wars. Love is the revolution and that revolution must happen in our hearts for we can’t impose kindness on this world if we don’t treat ourselves kindly first. Hope will remain fleeting and faith will be dead as it is without works if we don’t first love ourselves and treat ourselves as we want others to treat us. Love is the most wonderful of elixirs—if we let love rule the day injustice would ebb into the distance. #BeLoveWithin
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them around thy neck; write them upon the table in thine heart” ~ Proverbs 3:3
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Check out the Ghion Cast below where I talk about the very essence of love that is missing inside us which is the genesis of hatred in this world.
Check out Lauryn Hill’s “Tell Him”, one of the songs I was listening to while writing this article.
Genet Abate’s song “Men Yedereg” was my anthem no too long ago. This is the other song I was listening to while writing this article. Music is love because music is creation in this way::
A most wonderful butterfly #Birabiro made me stop listening to old songs and gave me a new melody instead:
Sublime to Breathless
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.