I thought it would be good to say at the beginning that this blog isn’t directed specifically at anyone (because some people would wonder otherwise), but it is intended to be a personal musing. Some years ago, Bryan Adams put a song with the title “Why Do You Have To Be So Hard To Love?” on his album Room Service, and it was released as the fifth single from that album. The lyrics of this song describe a problem that is true for many people:
“Was it some man that didn’t treat you right
Left you reaching out for him in the middle of the night?
Is there some heartache that you can’t out run
That makes you so afraid to get close to anyone?
You’re so – easy to look at;
You’re so easy to hold.
It’s so easy to touch you – but so hard to let go.
It’s so easy to want you – that I can’t get enough.
Tell me why do ya have to be
Why do ya have to be so hard to love?
Is it some hurt from long ago
That makes it so hard to let your feelings show?
Is it the ghost of who you used to be
That makes you so afraid to bear your soul to me? ”
Bryan Adams, a man who knows a fair amount about complicated relationships, here points to past relationships as a reason why the particularly attractive young lady of the song is so hard to love. Certainly most of us have a lot of baggage when it comes to relationships. If we are above a certain age, we all know a fair bit about heartbreak (I started dealing with it in about my teens, and have kept on dealing with it fairly consistently since then). Bryan Adams himself, being a rock star with known problems with fidelity, would probably not be the sort of person who a wary person would find easy to trust, given the fact that the rock star lifestyle is something that tends to decrease trust, even if (or perhaps especially if) one is a skilled writer and singer of romantic ballads. Trust would appear to be a major issue for any wary woman with someone like Bryan Adams. So the skepticism in this particular case would not be unwarranted–especially since the singer appears to be expecting the lady to bear her soul to him without any sort of marriage commitment, which is rather unacceptable behavior for a gentleman.
But past crushes or relationships are not the only reason why people are hard to love. Let us take me as an example. I don’t consider myself a particularly easy person to love (if I were, I suppose more people would do it). Moreover, there are a lot of reasons why I would not be particularly easy for others to love. For one, I’m a rather blunt and outspoken person, and my words have caused a great deal of unnecessary and unintentional hurt (and that is besides the intentional hurt I have caused with my rather sharp tongue, pen, and keyboard). For that reason alone, I would consider myself a fairly difficult person to love, especially when that is combined with an extreme amount of emotional reticence. The distance I generally like to maintain from other people certainly cuts down on a great deal of the ease of loving me. Mind you, I think I’m worth loving, but I’m not under any illusions that it is an easy or straightforward task.
Of course, as might be expected, there are plenty of reasons for my emotional reticence, and for the fact that I am highly skeptical of others and guarded as a result. Quite frankly, life has not been very kind. Being aware that I am not alone in this, I am not surprised or troubled when other people are similarly guarded for the same reasons. As I am very sympathetic and understanding of others, it is no mystery when others are hard to love because of their own life and family histories, beyond mere relationships. Mind you, I think these people are worth loving, but I’m not under any illusions that they are easy to love either. And to be honest, I don’t want someone to bare their soul to me until I’m ready to reciprocate. That is far from an easy process, as building that kind of trust with me is a rather time-consuming task that requires a gentle touch, and a great deal of kindness and affection. Most people are simply not willing to work that hard for so long, but then again, some people are looking for something very specific from others and present special challenges. The world is full of wounded but beautiful souls, and there is sadly a shortage of people with the decency and patience and skill at helping to heal and repair them.
And that brings us back full circle. When we get to know people, we get to know them as they are as a result of their own choices and to the effects of the behavior of others. Some people are fortunate enough to have lived their lives largely unscathed, while others have really been through the ringer and are wiser, but certainly rather scarred, from the experience. So, if we find others who are hard to love (and there are many people out there who are hard to love for a variety of reasons), it is not necessary to speculate (especially unkindly) on the reasons. Most people, if you can develop a modicum of trust and establish a reputation as a decent and honorable person, will tell enough that the rest can be figured out without too much trouble. What is important is what is one going to do about it? Does one only show an interest in “low hanging fruit,” that is, people who are easy to love without any trouble, or is one willing to put forth the effort to get to know people who have tough shells but may be plenty sweet on the inside. We may not be easy people to love, but we are worth it, and those who are not easy to love (and know it well) are not going to make too many demands on others being easy to love, because they know all too well what happens when souls suffer violence in this present evil world. So let us do what we can and help others be a bit easier to love by showing them some respect and kindness, rather than complaining that others are not easy enough to love for our tastes.