Why Is It Hard To Love Some People?


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“Why is love so hard for some people?”

This was a search phrase that brought someone to my blog.  I do not know if that person found an answer to their question here or not, but I am going to answer the question now in case someone in the future asks the Universe or Google or Bing a similar question. 🙂

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Q: Why is love so hard for some people?

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My answer:

A very good question, though a bit unspecific.

“Why is love so hard for some people?” meaning:

  • Why is it hard to love some people?
  • Why is it hard for some people to feel love?
  • Why is it hard for some people to be loving towards others, especially towards those they are supposed to love (i.e. family, children, spouse, parents)?

Why is it hard to love some people?

I think in answering this question, the other two questions will either be answered directly, or answers to those questions will be hinted at and touched on.

Some people are just inherently more difficult to love or even like than others.  Sometimes it’s because they’re offensive in some way—they act like jerks, they’re “a-holes,” they’re selfish, they’re narcissistic, they’re mean, they’re aggressive, they’re stand-offish and aloof, et cetera, et cetera.  They’re this or they’re that.  Perhaps they’ve hurt us, wounded us, betrayed us, let us down, disappointed us, and done so over and over again (and perhaps these people were our parents).

Or perhaps they’re very tough-minded and have very high standards out of self and others in terms of behavior and character-development and they don’t come across as warm and caring and compassionate and easy-going enough in the process.

Not everyone is kind and warm and agreeable, affable, nonjudgmental, tolerant, accepting, engaging, humorous, innocuous, generous, giving, patient, slow to anger, et cetera.  Most of us have our rough edges and or our immaturities, —and our hurts and wounds and insecurities and inferiorities.  And some of us, some people—a few—are very tough-minded and have very high standards and don’t come across as being warm enough.

Why is it hard to love people who like some of those described above?  In other words, why is it hard to love those who are essentially hard to love?  When put that way, the question kind of answers itself.  Love is not easy, because other people are not easy on the heart, eyes, ears, and mind—they are not easy to love; and we are not very adept at loving others and dealing with our own prjudices, biases, inferiorities, wounds, neuroticness, et cetera.

If we were more loving—more able to love—and if others we less difficult on the eyes, ears, heart and mind, and thus easier to love, then the world wouldn’t be in the state it is—apathy, indifference, people afraid—afraid of others, afraid of life, afraid of getting hurt, afraid of being used, afraid of being truly vulnerable, afraid of their own emotions—living immured behind their walls—psychological walls, gated communities, affluent suburbia settings, et cetera.

Love is difficult.  It’s difficult for two strangers of differing backgrounds and differing upbringings (exposed to differing parenting styles) and differing life experiences and with differing temperaments and preferences and perhaps most of all differing understandings and expectations of what love is, to sit still long enough near each other to build a bridge and connect meaningfully and then to learn how to be good to each other and to help nurture each other and grow and mature.

The vast majority of people in the world are looking to be loved rather than to love.  They are looking to receive love rather than to give and practice and learn it.  And if and when they do give love, it is a trade, a lubricant, it is given in order to receive, not in order to learn how to give love even better and more productively and to become even more adept at loving.  The vast majority of human beings are pounding the pavement every day drowsily sleep-walking their way through life with their begging cups out, looking for love—for warmth, positivity, acceptance, they are looking to be nurtured, they are looking for romance, they are looking for what they weren’t given in childhood.  They are reading good books—really good books about life, love, growing up, becoming a better and healthier and more loving human being.  Instead, they’re anesthetizing themselves with sex, drugs, gossip magazines, organized religion (not all, but some).  The world is full of people who are wounded, hurting, even broken, running on empty, all starving for “love.”—

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the authorities.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to
connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a
full moon in each eye that is
always saying,

with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in
this world is
dying to
hear?

– Hafiz

Love—loving, the ability to love another and to love others in general—is a learned behavior.  Contrary to what many “new-agey” metaphysically speculative sorts of pseudo-philosophies want to put forth—that deep down all we are is love, and that it’s the world that is bad and evil, and that because of that we get afraid, cover over our love, self-protect, and become confused and part of the problem—love is a learned phenomena—it is something we learn how to do, just as much as hatred and prejudice are things that are learned and taught and passed on and passed down as well.  Most of us are born somewhere between neutral to fairly warm and loving.  If we are loved and cuddled and shown and taught respect and kindness and goodness and some measure of loving discipline, we will turn out that way—as loving, disciplined human beings.  If, however, instead of kindness and warmth and affection and love, we are repeatedly shown unkindness, harshness, erraticness, inconsistency, hatred, indifference, unwantedness, rejection, we will likely turn out that way—unkind, harsh, rejecting, inconsistent.  And we will have a lot of woundedness to heal and correct (or have corrected).

It also matters how sensitive we are.  Those of us who are born with very sensitive amygdalas and limbic systems will have an extra layer of difficulty (as in *difficulty*) to deal with and overcome.

The world is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel.” – Horace Walpole

Make no mistake about it: the world is also a tragedy, as well as a comedy to those who think; but those who think (in addition to feel) do have a distinct advantage over those who cannot think very well or do not know how to think very well, and who do indeed feel very deeply.  Thinking deeply and well—along with reading good books—is one of the best ways to begin neutralizing the pain and tragedy and sorrow and heartbreak of this world and this life.  Emotionally—unless one is living in denial and immured in a life of comfort and opulence—or drugs, sex, and rock and roll—this world will break your heart.  If you really look at it, the way we treat each other is heartbreaking—utterly heartbreaking—this world will straight up gut and filet and eviscerate you—

“the crunch” – Charles Bukowski

too much too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or
tears

haters
lovers

strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving winebottles
bayoneting and fucking
virgins.

an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock

people so tired
mutilated
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners

it hasn’t told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone

untouched
unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be.
I don’t ask them to be.

but sometimes I think about
it.

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child
like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
stems
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way that we have not yet
though of.

who put this brain inside of me?

it cries
it demands
it says that there is a chance.

it will not say
“no.”

Bono reads Bukowski’s “The Crunch”

The only real solution—because joining in the turning away—the turning away whether it’s through sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, denial, even some forms of organized religion (I have in mind here “affluent Christianity”—the Christianity of the rich, of the mega-churches and mega-congregations, where the emphasis is on positive thinking and being happy, and not on charity, serving the world, and becoming a truly better and wiser and more deeply loving human being)—isn’t a real solution but an evasion—is to become a philosopher and psychologist and love-ologist—a lover of wisdom and goodness, a student of love and of the human mind and all its potentials as well as biases.  Because in learning about love, in learning about what makes us tick, in learning about truth and goodness and wisdom, in becoming better and wiser and more loving human beings, we ourselves actually become more loving, and we move one human being—ourselves—from the ranks of the problem, over to the ranks of the solution—and just may play some small or not so small part in helping others become more loving as well.

Love is shown in the here & now!
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About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Bukowski, Hafiz, Mature Love, Real Love, Spiritual Growth, The Examined Life, Truth, Waking Up, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Why Is It Hard To Love Some People?

  1. I love that quote from Horace Walpole

    • John says:

      As do I. And I like the quote with my variation / addendum even more, because that’s what rings most true to me. I think and feel, and I see this world, this life, as both tragic and comedic, beautiful and sorrowful, with so much to appreciate and grateful for as well as lament.

      Thank you, Counting Ducks, for reading and for taking the time to comment!

      Warmest regards,

      John

  2. thedawnerupts says:

    This is something I really needed to read. Thank you, deeply…

  3. Pingback: Let him down Easy | Spread Information

  4. Pingback: Appreciate! | achievinghappinessdotnet

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  6. Charlotta Y. Smith says:

    I thank you for publishing this blog and for alarming people about how hurt we are in society. We should all love each other with other animals to unite with the Earth and appreciate the Universe. There are so many distractions out there to manipulate the meaning of true love. Because we are taught to be narrow-minded to other people by society and by organized religions and dependency on negative influences, it makes it harder for most humans to love. If people really promoted love, the world would be different. Very different.

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