Being A 'Lover'
I naturally lean towards love. Pretty much always have. There are untold upsides to this. But there are some 'downsides' or lessons the lover-type must navigate in order to exist amicably in our society.
There are always going to be people who think even the slightest love toward them has to be sexual in nature. This used to freak me the f**k out. I had a phase where I tried to make it exciting but this morphed into traumatic and sad without me even realizing it at first. Now, it's just mildly annoying. On a very basic level, I think I should be able to make eye contact or give a platonic compliment without seeming DTF. But not being able to control other people's impressions of you is a part of life. There seems to be an art to simply smiling and moving on and not letting a natural, inevitable thing ruin your day.
There are people who think they don't deserve love for one reason or another. This could serve anything from a mildly awkward exchange to a full blown toxic outburst. I still struggle to respond to those who try to make me feel bad for finding things to love in them and others. Like, that's not hurting you. Just let it happen, bro.
There are people who think you don't deserve love either... because of some weird old belief about gender, skin color, class, sexuality, language/dialect bias, social/financial status, the list goes on. This is a way to feel validated, in 'control' or a false sense of power over others. This type doesn't f**k me up too much. I'm not that interested in the rat race... I'm out here tryna be happy, y'all, and it gets harder and harder to find happiness when you spend time judging and withholding love.
There is a societal need to make love scarce when it isn't. Buy these products and try this diet program and spend more time on this app so you can finally be loved! It's been happening our whole lives. I can only speak for myself, but I think we need active countermeasures for corporate manipulation tactics that act like love is a goal and not a basic, accessible human function at the core of being. It doesn't matter how you look, where you're from or what's in your bank account (if you have one). You deserve to be loved unconditionally in every moment.
It's hard not to be taken advantage of. Giving away love for free draws all types of people to you, and there's no shame in creating healthy boundaries with family members, coworkers, online acquaintances, and even friends to keep your tank constantly replenished. A lot of people don't even do it consciously. They just have a template (usually from childhood) that causes them to demand and hoard love, friendship, and kindness like it's their last chance to stock up. Maybe they play the victim, or pounce on your politeness. Maybe they try to act like they're on your page to reap the benefits but they tend to ghost when you're in need yourself. Whether they knowingly do it or not, you just need to have tools and vigilance for labelling these actions and not getting too swept up in them. Self care. Self care. Self care.
Some people will put stipulations and expectations on your love. You actually don't have to succumb to any such things. You're doing the work to understand and accept people wherever they're at. You deserve the same treatment. So the next time someone's mad because your get-together wasn't what they thought it would be, or your schedule doesn't fit them in enough according to their terms, just let them have their meltdown or talk about you behind your back. They're probably not worth your time anyway. Your real friends, mentors, and champions love who you are and would never hold you to some arbitrary or impossible standard.
My Favorite People To Love (not necessarily romantically but in a broad, sweeping sense):
People who accept, and forgive.
People who apologize less, and thank more.
People who make me feel safe to love them in my own quirky way.
People with no prerogative or pressure.
People who are easily tickled, who appreciate the small things.
People who don't take distance, or pauses without communication, personally.
People who acknowledge my need for alone time.
People who constantly let themselves grow.
People who know how to set down their bag of judgment once in a while.
People who see human beings first, not their accomplishments or idealized features.