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When love doesn’t add up

Should you withhold your love just because you don’t get it back?

Our elder thinks not. Find those who need love and give it freely.

Dear EWC:

Hi there… So I think I feel too much. I feel like I’m living in a world where I want to share with others and be kind and supportive but everyone else has their cards up to their chest.

It’s like people only have their own interests at heart and even when you make friends with people they still don’t fully care. This makes me feel lonely because I don’t feel as though I’ve met anyone who truly reciprocates the selfless support and love that I like to think I happily give away. Because of this imbalance, I find I am no longer as open with people and I feel like maybe I’m just being naïve and unrealistically optimistic. I have so much love to give others and it’s like people will happily take it but they’ll take it for granted and not be able to give back the same amount. I just want to have genuine deep connections with other humans and reciprocate that selfless support & love.

Do I have unrealistic expectations of people? Am I too sensitive/emotional? Thank you.

Lincoln-Parker replies:

Your expectations may be a little unrealistic if you expect that everyone will have the same selfless love as you have, but that doesn’t mean that you should change. I am surprised when you say that you have not yet met anyone that will truly reciprocate but don’t ever change the way that you treat people.

You don’t tell me how old you are, but I suspect that you might be young and operating in an age group where most people your age are primarily out for their own interests. As you grow older, that will change. Of course, some people will still be out mainly for themselves, but you find more others who understand that life is much more enjoyable and fulfilling when it is shared with others.
You are a very loving and caring person, and it sounds like you get a great deal of enjoyment out of being that way. Don’t change just because others don’t give back. You aren’t acting that way because you want the self-gratification that comes when someone returns your actions. You are working that way because that is who you are. Sure, if someone returns the feeling, it is nice, but even if they don’t, you should still feel good knowing that you probably made their day better. Someday the good acts will start coming your way too.

While I would never suggest that you put yourself in a position where people are taking advantage of your goodness, neither would I suggest that you change. I would tell you to spread your kindness out, possibly to people who do not see it regularly—people in need. Think about getting involved in activities where you can help others, such as in volunteer work. I am sure that you will find people there that greatly appreciate the goodness that you are offering them. You will also find yourself working with others like yourself who are reaching out to be kind and helpful to others. These are the types of people and, ultimately, the friends that you will enjoy making.

Finally, don’t give up on people, in general, in offering your sensitivity and emotion. The world is full of people just like you who care. Just continue to practice kindness and goodness, and they will find you. They, too, are looking.

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