I Don’t Belong To Anyone: Love From A Buddhist Perspective.
Have you ever felt that lonely? I have.
Today I’m alone. Nobody comes, nobody sees, nobody understands.
Only me to rely on.
They all left. I won’t get attached to anyone anymore.
I would refuse to get attached to my boyfriends or lovers, because I had been hurt and disappointed. I felt not worthy of being truly loved.
Surprisingly, those failures helped me figure out that forgetting, or even being forgotten, doesn’t say we didn’t have magic moments before. It doesn’t question the strengths and beauty of the feelings we had inside us. Most of the time, it just shows we were not made to follow the same roads afterwards.
That’s how I decided to surrender on being afraid of losing loved ones — of leaving or being left. I decided to enjoy moments and opportunities as a way to embrace life fully.
What does the Buddhist vision teach us about love, detachment, and happy endings?
1. About reaching happiness through ourselves
“Peace comes from within, not from without.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
I had been living with a persistent delusion that people and things would provide me with more happiness and satisfaction than they really can. And this is where I used to get tripped up.
For example, how much am I using my partner’s love to fill a void in my own self-esteem and self-acceptance? I have understood as time went by that a truly healthy individual is one who is complete by herself, and doesn’t need to depend on something external as a necessary condition for happiness.
The traditional, or shall we say Judeo-Christian, education I received had conditioned me that way. I thought finding true love meant starting an everlasting relationship that would help and be there till the end. I don’t say this isn’t possible. Of course it does exist, and it’s not always contradictory.
Staying with someone forever doesn’t necessarily mean to stop striving on becoming a more complete individual, able to stand on her own.
But real contentment can only come from ourselves.
This statement implies accepting we won’t fight our loneliness or insecurity through the others. That we won’t use them to heal our scars, to cover our personal demons.
The traditional views clearly put aside the fact that people are evolving creatures of nature. As a result, we grow, we change through the experiences we have and with the people we meet along the way. However, our boyfriends or lovers don’t always evolve the same way.
We are our own life’s guiding principles. That is why we mainly need a change to keep on being entwined with our inner self, taking our distance and leaving some of our entourage.
Striving to remain attached to our partner, if we don’t share the same goals or visions, is out of nature from a Buddhist perspective. It’s seen as wasteful.
2. About surrendering on getting attached to avoid suffering
“Everything that has a becoming has an ending. May your peace with that and all will be well.” ~ Jack Kornfield
When I agreed to lose control on moments and people, to stop making future projections or wondering what could happen next such as when and how the story will end, I discovered another kind of love. The one that doesn’t rely on belonging to one another in order to bloom.
This freed my soul from its chain. It thus became a lot easier to enjoy moments because I wasn’t expecting anything else.
Accepting love is, of course, accepting uncertainty. It’s agreeing with the fact that what we love may go as fast as it entered our lives, and may never come back. But this is not a reason to stay away from what love could bring.
For Buddhists, attachment is quite the opposite of love. Attachment says, “I want you to stay and make me happy. You’re my pill,” while love says, “I want you to be happy, and I’ll be happy for you, even if you’re elsewhere.”
What brings suffering in love is the feeling that people belong to us simply because they love us, that we have the right to know what they do, what they think. It’s getting identified with something outside of ourselves. Endings bring so much pain as we compare them to a loss.
However, when something dies, we don’t lose it, quite simply because we have never owned it. We don’t own people.
From a Buddhist perspective, authentic love is whole, complete, and in essence, beyond suffering. The absence of love is suffering. The illusion of loss leads to suffering. True love does not leave a wound when it is lost, because true love can never be lost. It stays in our memories.
The way to avoid suffering is not to avoid love and its risks, but to stay away from attachment and its illusions.
A few of the people we get to meet, and have great memories with, leave indelible marks on our soul. Sometimes short romances tend to change ourselves, or to help us find our way more than long-run ones do. They go deeper in the soul.
That’s why we may never regret a second of what happens when we decide to embrace life and the ones it puts on our way. Even if sometimes we know, from the beginning and inside of us, that life will make us go on a distinct road.
At the end of the day, life may turn progressively into a beautiful road, paved with gemstones — each shining one representing an intense and energetic soulmate of the past.
“I don’t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember… I’ll be different, but somewhere lost inside me there’ll always be the person I am tonight.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sophie Gregoire is a thinker. You may often find her with a new idea or a new concept to explain, holding a notebook and pencil. Also found reading and writing, she is more than anything an independent soul. She enjoys traveling and getting lost in new places, namely in Asia. She says it helps understanding our worlds, its people and the humankind. She loves writing to transform her endless thoughts into some kind of reality, and to keep the little piece of sanity she still has. She savors coffee, encounters, Yoga and meditation, and cats… while her own cat is her greatest muse! You could contact Sophie via Facebook.