As I become older I have discovered a painful truth: very few people love or care for me. When I was young I expected to be surrounded by people who would love me, but as I approach the age of 55 I realize that those people do not exist. I find this disappointing. Not only did I expect love and affection as I approach my elder years, but I believed I was entitled to it. That is because I gave my love and affection freely only to discover it was not reciprocated, at least not to the degree that I expected.
For a long time I denied that this was the case. It was not true! They do love me, but they just do not know how to show it! This made me a little sad, but I deluded myself into believing that it would get better if I would just provide more love and attention. Needless to say, that did not improve anything, but only made me more disappointed, and much worse: I became angry, frustrated, and resentful. How dare you! Damn it, I am entitled to your love!
Instead of being surrounded by a loving family, I find myself totally alone. I have discovered that the world is filled with people who do not love or care about me, and, furthermore, that those people who I expected to love me are at best indifferent. This realization was and still is incredibly painful. Much of the initial pain has since subsided. The reality has set in. Life goes on. At least that is what I tell myself.
Over time I realized the foolishness of all this. Why should I be angry and frustrated by the fact that I was not loved? Why should I believe I am entitled to love and affection? How was anger and frustration going to change anything, or make my life better? Simply stated it won’t. It will only make me bitter and resentful. Being alone and disappointed is bad enough, but being bitter, angry, and lonely is something much worse.
Now you may be thinking at this point, “What a sad and pathetic, and even cynical guy!” If you are prone to sentimentality, you may even feel a bit of sympathy for me. I would ask you to hold back on those feelings for a bit, and instead think about the possibility that we are all in the same situation. You see, I would suggest that there is a big difference between love and utility, and that most of our disappointment and frustration comes from confusing the two.