What’s The Opposite of Love? Hate or Indifference? …And What It Means For You.

What's The Opposite of Love? Hate or Indifference? ...And What It Means For You.

Love, according to Dr. Scott Peck, is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

He further explains that love is always either a form of work or a form of courage because it requires an extension of one’s will.

Which leads me to question, is it possible to love without extending yourself in either the form of work or courage?

Can you love without engaging yourself in mental or physical activity that’s done to nurture the spiritual growth of yourself or others?

What about love without ever having to face fear or do something that frightens you?

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • If it was your birthday and not one single person acknowledged it in any way, shape, or form until you reminded them, to which they said that they intended on doing something great for you but forgot (no work) – how would you feel?
  • Would you be able to express to your children how much you love them without ever playing with them (work) or having tough conversations with them (i.e. controlling a temper) – as all parents do (courage)?
  • What would happen to love in a relationship if you and your partner were never willing to have tough conversations when arguments or disagreements came up (work and courage) and rather chose to run from your problems and ignore them altogether?

Here’s the real question: Is it possible to make any kind of impact or difference in the world – or on another person – with intention only, or do you need action?

Just like intention doesn’t change the world, intention doesn’t change a relationship – action in the form of work or courage does.

Love is as love does; Hate is as hate does; Indifference doesn’t do.

Both hate and love do; care is involved.

In the case of love, we care for ourselves and others’ spiritual growth and so we express it in the form of positive, warm, mindful actions.

In the case of hate, we care against ourselves and others’ spiritual growth and so we express it in the form of negative, cold, vile actions.

Indifference is different, however, in that no care is involved.

Your care for yourself or others’ spiritual growth isn’t expressed and is rather, the same as it might be for dust that’s gathering in the corner of your room – nonexistent.

In the case of relationships I’d like to argue that when it comes to love’s opposite, both ‘hate’ and ‘indifference’ may fill the role equally.

I found the following graphic to be particularly helpful:

Via Mysterious Lights Blog

‘Love,’ ‘hate,’ and ‘indifference’ each take a side of an equilateral triangle – each being the opposite of the other.

What does this mean?

It means that yes, love and hate are opposites – but it also means that love and indifference are opposites as well.

It means that when you are indifferent towards something or someone you are acting just as unloving as someone who is acting out of hate.

It means that when you come out of a deep, loving relationship with another person and you act with indifference towards them, it can hurt just as bad as ending it with hate.

It means that when you walk past a person in need (i.e. a homeless person) with indifference, it may be just as unloving as someone who acts out of hate.

It means that the bully and the bystander are at equal fault when another person is getting chronically picked on.

How to develop and maintain awesome, loving relationships:

“The Buddha said, ‘Nothing can survive without food.’ This is a very simple and very deep truth. Love and hate are both living phenomena. If we do not nourish our love, it will die and may turn into hate. If we want love to last, we have to nurture it and give it food every day. Hate is the same; if we don’t feed it, it cannot survive.” ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

Feed love; starve hate.  Smile more; frown less.  Hug more; push less.  Compliment more; complain less.  Dance more; sit less.  Help more; ask for less.  And the list goes on…

Act on loving intentions and show bravery in the face of fear.  If you know your loved one would really love it if you did something in particular for them – do it!  A great thought in your head that is not acted upon is the same as not having a great thought at all!  …And when challenge arises in the relationship, show courage and embrace the challenge as part of the journey.  No relationship is problem-free.  It is through challenge that we develop strength and deepen our ties.

Don’t take your loved ones for granted.  Look at them with fresh eyes every day.  They are not the same person that they were yesterday – much has changed!  Get to know them anew.  Open the door for them; do the dishes for them; take them on a special date; give them a massage; surprise them with a gift.  Every day you are either deepening your relationship ties or separating further apart.

You can have all of the best intentions in the world of going up to that girl and saying hi – but until you actually do, the conversation is never going to happen.

You can have all of the best intentions in the world of creating a more ‘green’ environment – but until you actually start recycling, using less fossil fuels, stop eating meat, etc., the world is going to keep deteriorating.

You can have all of the best intentions in the world of being in a healthy, loving, fulfilling relationship – but until you start deeply caring, listening intensely, act lovingly, etc., your relationships will keep falling short.

—— —— ——

Related quotes:

1) “Remember: courage, unused, diminishes. Commitment, unexercised, wanes. Love, unshared, dissipates.” ~ Anthony Robbins

2) “Everyone in our culture desires to some extent to be loving, yet many are not in fact loving.  I therefore conclude that the desire to love is not itself love.  Love is as love does.  Love is an act of will – namely, both an intention and an action.  Will also implies choice.  We do not have to love.  We choose to love.  No matter how much we may think we are loving, if we are in fact not loving, it is because we have chosen not to love and therefore do not love despite our good intentions.” ~ Scott Peck

3) “Hate, in fact, is a form of love, since you cannot hate what you have not previously loved, or which has not hurt or wounded or threatened that which you love. Hate is love bent out of shape. Hate is love which is itself wounded. Hate is love broken or betrayed, tortured or defiled, raped or murdered, molested or mutilated. Hate is love when confronted by injustice, or by violence, or by cruelty or by hate. Hate breeds hate, just as love breeds love. Hate is love grown bitter. It is love roused to anger. It is love forced to witness the destruction of innocence. It is love in shackles. It is love enslaved. It is love deprived of hope or freedom or a say over its future. It is love humiliated, made to crawl, love whose spirit is broken. It is love’s ache at the loss of a loved one. It is love’s rebellion at the corrosion of liberty. It is love’s stand against the darkness of repression.  Hate is love’s wound.” ~ Er.Vibhor Chaudhary

7 Responses to What’s The Opposite of Love? Hate or Indifference? …And What It Means For You.

  • Not to critique,but as the triangle showed ,nice illustration, indifference is not equal to hate ,as the bully and the one that see’s the act and doesn’t act perhaps right away and perhaps has deep regret! or disbelief.Interestingly , we do” learn” how to love!” Jesus example”. perhaps someone we know is being treated cruelly, someone makes false statements against a person you know,you reason you don’t want to get involved , indifference!! do to others as you would like done to yourself!! perhaps when we experience a wrong , we can see the need to help right a wrong !! If it had been done to you !

  • smart newsletter!

  • I really enjoyed this post, Mr Hogan. To add my two cents’ worth, I have recently adopted the belief that indifference is the opposite of love. My reasoning is that hate requires passion and energy-just like love does. Indifference, on the other hand, requires nothing.

    • I agree. And I also think that hate is the opposite of love. They are both opposites of love on different spectrums. Definitely not what I thought when I originally set out to create this post! Thanks for dropping us a line 🙂

  • So the way you displayed hate, love and indifference it seems as if indifference is the equal lacking of hate and love, correct? I completely agree that that can be just as destructive as hate, if not more. Having negative intentions still shows some form of emotion, and as social creatures which thrives on interaction, I can completely see how a lacking of emotion can be damaging and threatening to our ego.
    However, the way hate and love are shown also kind of confuses me. It seems as if hate is the complete lacking of love, but do you think it’s possible for someone to feel both? Hate out of love? Or love despite hate? Or..do you think if both existed to an extent, it would be in a mild form, therefore towards the middle of the spectrum?
    I liked this piece a lot. Especially the positive undertone about it that mostly focuses on how to facilitate love, rather than get caught up in the negatives. Well done. 🙂

    • There’s a quote at the very bottom of the post that I think may help answer your question:

      “Hate, in fact, is a form of love, since you cannot hate what you have not previously loved, or which has not hurt or wounded or threatened that which you love. Hate is love bent out of shape. Hate is love which is itself wounded. Hate is love broken or betrayed, tortured or defiled, raped or murdered, molested or mutilated. Hate is love when confronted by injustice, or by violence, or by cruelty or by hate. Hate breeds hate, just as love breeds love. Hate is love grown bitter. It is love roused to anger. It is love forced to witness the destruction of innocence. It is love in shackles. It is love enslaved. It is love deprived of hope or freedom or a say over its future. It is love humiliated, made to crawl, love whose spirit is broken. It is love’s ache at the loss of a loved one. It is love’s rebellion at the corrosion of liberty. It is love’s stand against the darkness of repression. Hate is love’s wound.” ~ Er.Vibhor Chaudhary

      And yes, I would say that indifference is the opposite of both hate and love – as depicted by the equilateral triangle. Thanks for reading and thanks for the line, Heather – keep it coming if the quote above didn’t help…

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