Giving out love in an angry world

I'm always being told that I'm not enough.
I'm not nice enough — I don't give enough love.
I'm too nice — I give too much of it away.

It's hard enough trying not to internalize the hatred I see everywhere, and it's hard not to become bitter when everything I try and do seems wrong. Sometimes, I wonder if there's a point in trying to be kind in such an unkind world. Right now, sending love to people feels a lot like throwing it into a void. Once it's given, it's gone — no reciprocation, just a lot of angriness and emptiness looking back.

Sometimes, as I think about this, I find myself harboring bitterness and cynicism. I even accept that jadedness for a while, and I think: I'll just have to live with this. It seems inevitable given how awful people can be. It seems unavoidable given how unlovable I can be, and how I can never escape that and will always be aware of it.

And there's the issue. The way I perceive the world has so much to do with how I look at myself. The more I think of myself as a bad person, the easier it is for me to see others that way.

I look around a lot when I'm outside. Often, when I'm resigned and angry and defeated, something someone does brings me back.

I see the way a mother looks at her daughter — proud and joyful, and her daughter isn't even aware of being looked at like that. All she knows is when she lifts her arms up for a hug, her mom will pick her up.

I see an elderly man drop his items and sigh as he bends down to pick it up, and suddenly five different people are there helping him.

I'm driving, and I need to get into a lane or else I'll take an accidental exit, but someone flashes their light and waves me over.

I'm having a bad day and I'm glaring at the ground as I walk, hoping no one will start berating me for something they think I should've taken care of. Then someone I'm sort of friends with smiles at me, and we talk, and I walk away realizing we've just strengthened our friendship just a little bit more.

I still get yelled at for being too nice, then turn around and get berated for not being nice enough. Sometimes I want to withdraw all of my love so I'll never get rejected and I'll never see myself hurt again. But who is that punishing?

It doesn't hurt the people who already hate me and hate the world and hate people in general. It only hurts the ones who love me. It hurts the ones I love. It hurts me.

This is a world that's hard to love in and hard to love in general. I get it. But for every bit of anger, hate, and recycled hurt out there, some bit of kindness is always happening too.

Trying to change the world is important, but when I try, I tend to fixate on the things that need to be changed. Sometimes, I just need to unplug and remind myself of all the things that don't need changing. All the kind and wonderful people I know and all the kind and wonderful things they do. All the kind and wonderful things that will keep being done, no matter how bad it gets.

So I'll allow myself to take a deep breath, be angry if I need to, and retire from company for a few hours or a few days. And then I'll try to add at least one more instance of kindness in this hectic, scary, impassioned world.