/kɒntrəˈdɪkʃ(ə)n/ - noun" A combination of statements, ideas, or features which are opposed to one another."

I observe the endless love dichotomy. I think I may very well have created a social experiment that is bringing the relationship dichotomy and the swing of the pendulum of contradictions, vividly into focus.

I recently created a singles group for people over 55 on Facebook. It is truly astonishing how many fabulous people there are, if we all just take a closer look. Initially it was quite difficult to keep the group from tumbling into that quagmire of criticism, sarcasm, gender bashing, crassness and discontent. The group has strict guidelines about being nice and decent.

I have had to remove a few posts, remind a few people to be nice and ban a few people. The result is that most who participate on the group, comment that the positivity is one of the factors that keep them there. Without fail, every single person on the group says they want to meet a lovely man or woman and that they would like to experience real love. I agree – we all do. And wouldn’t it be nice to find a great, decent, respectful, honourable and loving partner? It would, right?

Yet, as I browse through the posts people write, I am aghast at how critical and demeaning we are to the opposite gender. The women hate on the men and the men hate on the woman. One post they share will be about how glorious it would be to meet someone fabulous and the very next post is about how mean spirited and vile and hurtful the opposite gender is. Isn’t it just bizarre? The constant contradiction – from BOTH sides. And truly – it is no different in homosexual relationships – so it is not just an opposite gender thing.

We have become so accustomed to throw out mean spirited things about each other that we don’t even know that we are doing it any longer. It seems like it has become a reflex response. And we laugh and laugh and say how true it is and how mean and hurtful the other gender is and our friends concur and comment on it and the thread is … what would I call it if it is normally referred to as a-laugh-a-minute… but it is, in fact, a continuous mean-spirited-diatribe-of-vitriol.

And then a few posts later, the very same person posts something that declares that all they want is to be loved unconditionally and one can literally smell the yearning and the need of intimacy – not sex – intimacy. A place where one can go to be seen, fully, and in all our glorious flavours of faults and achievements. A place that is a harbour of love and acceptance in a storm of hatred, cynicism, blame, and discontent.

And then, once more, we jump on the mindless bandwagon of making small, criticising, gender bashing and general reflex-hate-spewing. Wouldn’t it be magical if we can become true to ourselves. If we can be open and vulnerable to love. Wouldn’t it be great if we take the masks off and stand there exposed opposite another who is willing to be open, vulnerable and exposed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can become mindful of how our words impact our future? If we keep making each other small and we keep the hatred walls up, we will never experience that one love who will guide us into that safe harbour where we can simply be.

How can we expect that one love to show up if we keep contradicting ourselves … One minute spewing vitriol and the next minute seeking unconditional love and acceptance. It is simply not possible to achieve while we mindlessly participate in bashing each other and making each other small and insignificant. But, we have habituated our reflex response and as soon as we see one person who throws out a criticism, we simply can’t wait to add our bit of contempt, hostility and malevolence to it, while we try to hide that behind, “I’m only joking…”

Then I hear someone say, “You are killing humour with your political correctness.” No, I am pointing out madness. A madness that has absorbed us completely. It seems as if we are incapable of saying anything good or great about the opposite gender. And if someone does say something good or great, it is usually followed by, “Yes, but don’t forget…”

We will simply never find that joy and gleeful abandon in the love of another while we are contemptuous, hostile, disdainful, acrimonious, and we are filled with venomous sarcasm for the opposite gender. What to do? Become mindful. Become mindful about how often we throw rubbish into the ether and expect roses in return. Mindfulness is not something one goes on a weekend workshop to learn. It is a decision we make to live by, and improve on, every single day.

We live in a world where our reflex responses are seemingly imbedded in our psyche. If those reflex responses took years to take root, it will take years to undo that and learn to live with love, honour and respect. But it is still a choice we make – each and every day. If we say we want love honour and respect, how do we propose to receive that when we vomit vitriol, hatred, sarcasm and virulence out there…