Let me start this by saying, I’m sorry you are going through whatever you’re going through. It sounds like it hurts, and I hope that it gets easier.
Here is what life has taught me about love. I’m speaking mostly from my experiences with familial love, but it can be applied to all relationships, I think.
Most importantly, love should always be a two-way street. If you are loving hard and you are not feeling love in return, something is wrong. If you are investing energy and care into another human person and getting radio static in return, the love that you have can be poisonous to you. Humans are social animals. We give of our time and care to receive it in return; it’s how we survive. If someone you have chosen to be in your life is not making you feel loved, there is an inherent imbalance in the relationship. If it’s a partner or a friend, communicate these feelings with them. Make it better. You shouldn’t accept less than feeling wanted and loved and cared for. You deserve nothing less.
Sometimes there are people in our lives who we love, who, by virtue of who they are, have trouble showing love in return. Abusive family members are this way. Alcoholics and drug addicted loved ones are this way. These are people who we love with all our hearts, but something inside them, their own demons or what have you, keep them from reciprocating this love.
I would advise you to keep loving, but to love wisely and love safely. Consider your own mental health, consider your heart. Don’t nurture relationships that cause you consistent pain, no matter how much you love them. In the end, you must choose to love you most, and let your choices and relationships reflect that love. Love should not leave you feeling empty. Good, healthy love lifts you up.
As for the bitterness in the failures of others, this is something I am still working toward myself. Much of my adult issues are due to the failures of my parents growing up, and it is difficult not to be bitter. But I’m learning, and I’ll share what I’m learning.
You owe it to yourself to be happy. That is your highest goal, the highest aspiration you can have as a person. You being happy depends on the choices you make. You choose what makes or breaks you. You choose what steals the sunlight from your soul and the smile from your lips. You are the owner of your own perspective.
Bitterness is easy. it’s instinctive. But it steals your joy! You have to make an active decision every day to fight your instincts. Giving into bitterness means letting the people who let you down continue to let you down. You have to shake it off. You have to keep going.
It also helps me to remind myself that I, too, have failed others. I have fucked up royally, but I cannot bear every failure I’ve made like a cross, or everything will get much too heavy much too fast. By extension, I must extend this thinking to others. “I’m not going to hold onto this failure because if I had failed this way, I would want to be forgiven.”
It’s a hard task. Happiness is a fight. But it’s worth it.