Most times people say the opposite of love is hate, but I beg to differ. Love and hate are the two sides of the same coin and the coin is called emotions. Both love and hate are predicated on strong emotions though one is positive while the other is negative.
In both cases, there are degrees of emotions – ranging from like to love and irritated to hate. These emotions can be intense, even overwhelming. When overwhelming, either love or hate can be the driver for actions that are detrimental to others and consequently to self as well.
So, John, what is the opposite of love? What is it that sits at the polar opposite of love? The opposite of love (and hate) is indifference. Indifference says I am not emotionally linked to you and consequently don’t care whether you succeed in life or not, don’t care whether you are happy or not, don’t care if you are healthy or on your deathbed. Indifference doesn’t care one iota about your welfare or health or financial situation. It doesn’t care whether you live in a serene countryside or in the middle of a war zone. Indifference is being totally blind when it comes to you and your life.
Indifference can exhibit itself in various ways. It can look like a yawn. It can sound like an uninterested uh-uh as you are talking. It can be, unknown to you, not letting your words register. Indifference looks like boredom as you relate an achievement of yours. It often looks like a person who won’t lend a helping hand. It is something that can totally deflate you or cause you anguish.
The world abounds with indifference. It is impossible to live in a world with a population of more than 6 billion and like each and every one, have sympathy or empathy for every mother and child. That may sound cruel but it simply is a fact embedded in living. Forget the world, the same truth holds when speaking of this nation’s population or your city’s residents. Forget any large number of people; it is impossible to live in a relationship with a 1 million people, 100,000 10,000 or even 100 people for that matter. At best you are really talking about liking, and then even in those cases, it never applies to every single member of the grouping.
If someone tries to live with the impossible (hate or indifference), they will (and possibly physically) suffer mentally and emotionally day after day. If someone causes a partner physical or mental pain and calls it love, they simply have no idea what love is and how it manifests itself. What is being exhibited in this last case is the other side of that coin – the hate side – though they are loathe to admit it. It is dismissing and demeaning who you are.
Just as love can easily be identified, so can indifference – and hate for that matter. The problem is that someone who hates can cause all kinds of mental hurt and/or physical pain while someone who is indifferent is simply the bystander.