How many times have you found yourself interacting with a person you find challenging, and thinking how hard that person is to love? Have you ever wondered if you’ve been hard to love? I know I have been. Sometimes I’m just prickly, aware that I am angry, tired, lonely or confused. Some days I am not my most noble self, not accepting my flawed humanity or yours. In those moments, I need to remember that the path of love is bumpy and rocky at times.

Love can be a tricky business because it’s not a feeling – not really. We may have desire or longing or other feelings that we equate to love, but I believe love, or loving someone, while certainly is inherent, is largely something we have to learn, like a skill.

It’s a principle and a practice. It requires us to engage with our imagination, open hearts and willing minds, as well as a myriad of other things – if we are to persevere.

I need to remember that loving another, when we aren’t our shiniest selves, is a process. It’s how we teach each other to become the best version of ourselves.

When a small child says something like “I hate you,” most of the time we think, “OK, that’s probably not the case, you’re probably really tired…” or something to that effect. We tend to be willing to look behind the curtain of their despair to be reminded of how much more they really need to be loved. However, we don’t generally do that with adults. Instead we take their difficult facade personally, as an attack, which results in TWO people communicating from their woundedness saying “I can’t love you right now.” Ironically, at that same moment each person is also crying out, albeit unskillfully, “Somebody please love me!”

We may know from experience the more latitude of thought we possess, and the more generous we are with our faith and wisdom, the more likely we are to love the person that is hard to love even harder. That’s the magic formula, faith, wisdom and love. Faith is our inherent ability to create our own reality through our beliefs, it’s not the same as our beliefs. So the next time you find yourself in front of someone you experience as hard to love, ask yourself what beliefs are you using to create the reality you are experiencing internally?

Now marry that thought with wisdom, our capacity to discern and evaluate, and you become willing to look behind the curtain to see what’s REALLY going on. There is always a catalyst, a motivation for undesirable behavior, it’s just whether we are willing to stay long enough to see more, to know more. Now we are ready to love harder, to stand in the storm and be in communion with the other – to see ourselves in the other.

Remember, when she’s quiet and softly crying love her. When she’s a raging storm, love her harder. When he’s reaching out to you, love him. When he’s cold and pushing you away, love him harder. When she’s afraid of not being enough, love her. When she’s annoyingly too much, love her harder. Love someone in a way that defies all they have ever known love to be. That is the miracle of faith, wisdom and love.

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