When People Let Us Down
Why invest time and energy into people who will most likely hurt or disappoint us?
That’s the million dollar question.
It’s one we’ve asked so. many. times.
Do we throw in the towel and give up on humanity? Because let’s be honest, being a loving force in the world feels like a losing battle some days.
People disappoint us.
People have disappointed us over and over again. Those people include family members, former family members, friends, people we barely know, classmates, bosses, teachers, neighbors, pastors, mentors, church communities… the list goes on and on.
We disappoint others.
Maybe the only thing worse than being disappointed is being the “disappointers.” Yet we’ve been there plenty of times, too.
So why would any of us spend a hot second learning to love better when we know we’re going to screw up… and when we’re confident that everyone else will, too? Why waste our precious energy?
We’re created for love. It’s in our DNA.
From a newborn’s first breath, every human being runs on love and seeks it out subconsciously. As infants, we need affection and nurturing before we even know what it is. And if we don’t get it, we struggle in every way.
The miracle of life is built on our innate, cellular wiring for deep connection. Whether we realize it or not, the pain and devastation we see everywhere in the world can ultimately be traced back to a breakdown in the flow of Love.
When love takes a backseat to draining substitutes, everyone suffers.
Families, faith communities, friendships, and societies at every level struggle when compassion takes a backseat to lesser things – like power, fear, control, selfishness, attention-seeking and greed - which, ironically, steal much more of our energy than love.
And, lest we think we don’t struggle with these things, who among us hasn’t found ourselves withholding love when someone isn’t meeting our expectations or hopes? It’s our subtle (or not-so-subtle) way of trying to control people.
Misusing love as bait is dissatisfying at best and dangerous at worst. And always ineffective if we’re trying to build trusting, lasting relationships.
When we forget the value we each bring to the world simply because we’re human beings, it’s easy to let hidden agendas taint every interaction. Then we wonder why relationships are so draining.
Trying to fill our needs by using people instead of loving them silently erodes the very foundation that holds us up when everything else crumbles.
Because here’s the thing.
We aren’t the Source of love. Love is the Source of us.
We don’t create it. Rather, we are conduits… letting it in, then giving it away.
God is Love Itself. Anyone who loves, knows… if you don’t love, you don’t know God. Hard stop. (See I John 4:7-8.)
When we lose sight of our role in the “breathing in and breathing out” of Love, we exhaust ourselves (and others) with the fruitless work of trying to fix and control each other.
That’s when everything goes wrong.
And aren’t you glad it doesn’t work like that? Because who wants that to be how Love operates?!
Unlike any other precious commodity, Love multiplies the more we give it away. The only way to diminish it is hoarding and withholding it.
Sure, sometimes we get disappointed in the process. We forget to just let it be. We take the reigns back… and others do the same.
But as bad as it feels when we get hurt, the fact remains that every ounce love we put out into this world is better than the alternative.
Even when love disappoints us in the short game, there is a Neverending Love Story in motion that began long before we got here and will continue long after we’re gone.
In spite of all the risks, without Love there’s only disappointment. Choosing love is to choose something better than we are. It’s the one path that leaves a legacy that far outlives us.
Living in the flow of pure, selfless Love raises the odds of experiencing the best life has to offer, and it most certainly shapes us into better versions of ourselves… even if it goes off the tracks at times.
We’re all fighting unique battles. And we’ve got the scars to prove it.
Love is stronger. And Love makes us stronger. If we can immerse ourselves in that reality, we emerge from disappointment and adversity with even greater resolve to keep choosing Love.