Quote of the day

by badwillow

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve been a fan of Thich Nhat Hanh ever since I heard him on the radio many years ago. What he said, about changing our perecpetion to alleviate our own suffering, helped me finally leave the Ex. And now he’s helping me again as I deal with my insecurity about the NC.

I’ve always been jealous in our relationship, and with our recent challenges, I’ve felt even more insecure at times. I know I can be clingy and needy, which I also was with the Ex, and that stems from my insecurity. Although I know that, I let it happen. I let myself get jealous and weepy and crabby, and I expected the Ex and the NC to comfort and assure me (the NC doesn’t play that game anymore), which is exactly what my mother does with me.

That’s why the quote above resonated so much with me. Love isn’t supposed to make the person feel suffocated or guilty. The Ex pulled that on me when I was away in China. He made me feel guilty for being away, for not being by the phone whenever he called, for thinking about staying for a whole year instead of coming home sooner. I felt oppressed by his love, and I don’t want to make the NC feel that way.

I found this review of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, True Love, which outlines his four mantras of love:

  • Dear one, I am here for you
  • Dear one, I know that you are here, and it makes me very happy
  • Dear one, I know that you are suffering, that is why I am here for you
  • Dear one, I am suffering, please help

The mantras help make it very simple.

I also found this blog post, which goes into more detail about the four aspects of love in Buddhism. This especially resonated with me:

If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is  not really love- it is even the opposite. if there is no joy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.

The Ex did that to me when he was making me feel guilty and also when he was angry about other things. He’d made me cry, and then I’d cry and make him suffer, then he’d feel guilty and make it up to me, and we’d begin all over again. We fed each other’s insufferable love.

The NC doesn’t work that way. I cry, usually over nothing, which makes him suffer, and suffer for what? For my insecurity, not for anything he did. It’s really pretty shitty if you think about it. Now he worries that I’ll freak out about stuff, and not give me the benefit of the doubt, but he’s just protecting himself.

These are things I need to try to remember, to meditate on. I’ve learned that meditating on stuff like this isn’t about analyzing my behavior. It’s like practice, like the kicks and punches I’m learning. I practice them over and over and so they become ingrained in my muscle memory. If my arms and legs work like that, why not my brain?