How Can You Love Someone Who Does Something You Hate?

There is a common idea that love is more important than hate. When given an option, we should choose love over hate every time. But that’s easier said than done.

Are you familiar with the aphorism, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Or how about “Hate cannot be stopped with more hate. Only love can do that”? These are noble sentiments, but can you actually manage that in real life?

That means everyone, no matter what they do, or say, or how they treat you. The driver that cut you off in traffic. The partner who cheats on you with someone else. The rich jerk who refuses to leave a tip.

Republicans have to love Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton. Democrats have to love Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Pro-lifers must love women who get abortions; people who favor gun control have to love the guy who takes an assault rifle to get his morning coffee.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where we discuss the questions ‘How can we encourage debate?’ and ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’


Now it is true that loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do, or everything they stand for. But you can’t say you love someone and then hope that they die.

Sometimes it seems like there is an epidemic of hate in the U.S. (and throughout the world), hate based on differences between individuals. That might include gender, religious beliefs, skin color or ethnic origin, sexual preferences, and on and on.

It is easy to say that we should all love each other rather than hate each other, but how can that be accomplished? How do you love someone who is different from you? Or worse, how do you love someone who actually does something you hate?

Related questions: Why do we hate? How can we encourage debate? Why is love important?

How Do You Deal With Loss?

No matter the color of your skin, your socioeconomic background, or the country of your birth, one of the things we all have in common is loss. At some point, we all will have to struggle with grief over the loss of a friend or loved one.

Typically, you might experience the death of an elderly family member, like a grandparent or a great-grandparent. As you age, and the people you know also age, death becomes more frequent. There may also be an unexpected death from someone who dies earlier than expected.

Eventually, if you get old enough, loss may seem like a nearly-everyday occurrence.

The way that loss is dealt with varies by the individual. There are the publicized five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But there are other ways to feel grief, and the order and severity of symptoms of loss can vary drastically from person to person.

Loss is not something that typically has any sort of formal training or instruction. And yet it is something that each one of has to learn to deal with. We each will feel the sting of family members, friends, pets, neighbors, spouses, and sometimes even children.

Processing your feelings can lead to a healthier psyche, and a more fully-lived life.

How do you deal with loss?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose of life? What do we have in common? Why are people afraid of death? How can we turn sadness into constructive action?

What Is Beauty?

There are many things that can be considered beautiful. For example, you might consider a painting a thing of great beauty. A particular song, a pair of shoes, a deer in the woods, an elegant theorem — all might be considered beautiful.

But what exactly does that mean?

Studies have been done where people rate the attractiveness of faces shown to them. As it turns out, people tend to prefer a face that is more symmetrical. Why? The presumption is that symmetry denotes health, which means a good candidate for successful mating. What we find beautiful is encoded in our genes as an evolutionary strategy.

Or is it? It seems that notions of beauty change over time. In the middle ages, women as depicted in paintings tended to be larger than the wafer-thin models that stride the catwalks.

Are we simply programmed by our society as to what constitutes beauty? The people we see in magazines and on television… are they in our media because they are beautiful, or do we consider them to be beautiful because they are in our media?

Similarly, we can consider the art world. Imagine a particular painting is prominently displayed in a museum, or is sold for a large sum of money, or is presented in an art history class. Might we not start to assume it has great beauty?

Some people describe ideas as being beautiful. But what does beauty mean in that case? Does it simply mean that it is useful? Some might describe a theory that explains a complicated idea in a few short words or equations as elegant. Is “beauty” in this case just a synonym for “simple”? And do we mean the same thing when talking about art, or ideas, or faces?

What is beauty?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? How much of our thoughts are our own? How important is the artist to art?