I have a really difficult time loving people. Not all people. Some people are really easy to love: my best friends, babies, most toddlers, my massage therapist, beauticians- love, LOVE, love them. It's annoying, mean, holier-than-thou, stupid, and frustrating people that I have a difficult time loving.
Yes, I just heard some of you gasp in astonishment after reading my first sentence. Don't pretend that you love everyone all the time; we all know that's not true. It's totally normal to dislike, avoid, hate, and be annoyed by people so calm down. It's normal, but it isn't correct. The most difficult part of love is taking away all the societal rules and justifications and just deciding to love in spite of all of that.
It wasn't until I started evaluating the relationships in my life; evaluating if certain people really loved me that I focused at all on whether I loved other people. I started researching love. I researched how different cultures show love, I looked up definitions, and then I held up the facts next to my relationships and learned that many of the people who claimed they loved me, didn't. Sad day. After I wallowed for a bit (a 'bit' in Jessica Time=years), I held the same criteria up to myself and realized I had a choice with those relationships. I could decide to not love them back, justifiably, or I could figure out a way to love them anyway.
Once I decided to love people through difficult circumstances, life was so awesome! All of those relationships were completely and fully reconciled, we hung out all the time, and my life changed completely!
Actually, that's not true at all. It became even more difficult once I decided to consciously love people, especially people who did not, and still don't, deserve it. Loving people is hard work. It requires sacrifice of pride and time. It means giving up trying to prove that you are right and they are wrong (even about religious dealings, maybe even especially then) and letting go of the fun thoughts of leaving them stranded on the side of the road. Love means moving toward people instead of away from them. It means you can't be a victim.
Since making that decision, years ago, it has required me to practice loving, because goodness knows it doesn't always come naturally. I catch myself more times than I would like to admit, mid-snarky comment or angry thought, having to stop and decide to deal with that person in a different way. I can't just write people off. I will say this, though: the more I catch myself and the more I practice and follow through, the easier it becomes.
So that's it. This is just a confession that will hopefully resonate with you, spark a conversation or just a consideration.