How to Love Genuinely

A wonderful brief message for all of us.

Transcribed in full from a youtube clip: Tenzin Palmo Jetsunma interviewed about romanticism that makes us confuse genuine love with attachment – and how it causes suffering in relationships.

“The problem is always that we mistake the idea of love for attachment. You know, we imagine that the grasping and clinging that we have in our relationships shows that we love, whereas actually it is just attachment which causes pain. Because the more we grasp, the more we are afraid to lose; then if we do lose we are going to suffer. Genuine love… well attachment says I love so I want you to make me happy…. Genuine love says: I love you therefore I want you to be happy. If that includes me, great, if it doesn’t include me, I just want your happiness. So it’s a very different feeling. Attachment is like holding very tight, genuine love is like holding very gently nurturing, allowing things to flow. Not be held tightly. The more tightly we hold onto others, the more we suffer.

But it is hard for people to understand that; they think that the more they hold onto someone, the more it shows that they care about them, but it’s not, it’s really just that they’re trying to grasp at something because they’re afraid that otherwise they themselves will be hurt. Any kind of relationship which imagines that we can fulfil ourselves through another is bound to be very tricky. I mean, ideally people should come together already feeling fulfilled within themselves and just therefore appreciating that in the other, rather than expecting the other to supply that sense of well-being which they don’t feel on their own. Then there are a lot of problems. And also, along with the projection which comes with romance where we project all our ideas, ideals and desires and romantic fantasies on to the other which the other cannot possibly fulfil when you get to know them; you realise it’s not Prince Charming or Cinderella – it’s just a very ordinary person who’s also struggling. And unless one is able to see them with … to like them as well as feel desire for them and to also have loving kindness and compassion, then it’s going to be a very difficult relationship”.

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