You are a being designed for relationship. Each of us is. You may not have a significant other...maybe that won't happen for you and you will be called to live as a single person. That can be a beautiful thing. I'm not really focusing on that particular relationship in this post.
I believe that we are here to care about each other. There is a distinction between loving others and liking them. As I type this, birra is in my head. I imagine him grinning and saying, "like a hooker and kissing." Kissing is more intimate...so is "liking." That sounds counterintuitive, doesn't it? Surely love is greater than like. When you were in junior high, you wanted that boy to "like you-like you", but it would have scared your pants off if he'd said he loved you. (Which is often the very reason why he sometimes said it.)
You're more mature now. You know that kind of love is an intimate love. I am talking now of brotherhood love. I may not like you at all, but I am called to love you. What does that look like? It means that I do not wish you ill. I cause you no harm, despite your words and deeds. I pray for your growth, because I am still imperfect and desire to keep growing, to keep learning.
It does NOT mean that I am a doormat. If you treat me poorly, I will call you on it. I will not teach you that it is right or acceptable to do so. I will very likely walk away from you if I can. I may leave the door open: "When you can speak to me appropriately, we'll talk again." I may not. I probably won't like you. I may actively dislike you. I dislike many people. I try not to behave in an unloving manner,
Some people think that acting in a loving manner means having a phony, sickly sweet demeanor. You stand there and smile while someone pokes at you with their sharp sticks, their hate-spewing tongues. No. I love my children. I like them. I crave their happiness and their success. Because of that, I tell them the truth. I set boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. I model love for them to the best of my ability. When someone is disliked, you still offer compassion. You accord yourself well even when they do not. They should have food, warmth in the cold, and encouragement where appropriate. They deserve your honesty delivered without spite. Hopefor their well-being, and pray for their hearts.
That is loving someone. It doesn't have to be exhausting, though it can sometimes be a small burden. Prayers don't have to be long and disingenuous. Often mine are delivered at the moment, silently and go something like this: "I know you love him and he's your child, but I don't like him much. Please bless him and put good people in his path. Give him wisdom, your love, and give him a heart for other people."
Relationship. If you love others, even the ones you don't like...it will make a difference.
It is a amazing how the small words and actions can reverberate throughout society. Surely if we all could embody your sentiments than it would be a better place.
Speaking with one of my dearest friends the other day, she told me;
"I feel like growth comes out of conflict... I think maybe I seek it [conflict] out, because I feel like I'm not growing unless there's conflict."
I was wearing my shaman's hat that day, and what I found I had to offer her, I think may have more wisdom to it than I do myself;
"I've never felt any pressure to comment on it, but since you're bringing it up yourself... you do, yeah.
And you're wrong. Conflict is you fighting growth... growing is when you realize there's no reason for engaging that conflict. Understanding how to not fight; how tp not have to... getting yourself out of that mental approach where you feel like there's conflict, as some sort of external thing, like it's somehow real and not in your own head.
...the only thing you can fight... is you."
I felt that was topical, somehow.
(my use of grammar in speech is admittedly less precise than my writing style generates. I've tried to preserve that)
addendum: Perhaps the rest of my little monologue bears transcription. If only to illustrate its relevance. My apologies for the cliche bombardment.
"There is only love. Life is joy. Pain is an illusion."