*What in the world is the difference between loving a person and being selfishly attached to them?
Love is the sincere wish for others to be happy, and to be free from suffering.
Having realistically recognized others' kindness as well as their faults, love is always focused on the other person’s welfare. We have No ulterior motives to fulfill our self-interest, or to fulfill our desires; to love others simply because they exist.
Attachment, on the other hand, exaggerates others' good qualities and makes us crave to be with them. When we're with them, we're happy, but when we're separated from them, we are often miserable. Attachment is linked with expectations of what others should be or do.
Is love as it is usually understood in our society
really love? or attachment ? or even possibly for some, only selfish lust.
Let us examine this a bit more. Generally we are attracted to people either because they have qualities we value or because they help us in some way. If we observe our own thought processes mindfully, and carefully - we'll notice that we look for specific qualities in others.
Some of these qualities we find attractive, others are those our parents, or society value.
We examine someone's looks, body, education,
financial situation, social status. This is how most of us decide on whether or not the person holds any true value to us.
In addition, we judge people as worthwhile according to how they relate to us. If they help us, praise us, make us feel secure, listen to what we have to say, care for us when we are sick or depressed, we consider them good people, and it is this type of people we are most likely to be more attracted to.
But this is very biased, for we judge them only in terms of how they relate to "us", as if we are the most important person in the world.
After we've judged certain people to be good for us, whenever we see them it appears to us as if goodness is coming from them, but if we are more aware, we recognize that we have projected this goodness onto them.
Desiring to be with the people a lot who make us feel good, we become emotional yo-yo's -
when we're with these people, we're Up, when we're not with these people, we're Down.
Furthermore, we form fixed concepts of what our relationships with those people will be and thus have expectations of them. When they do not live up to our expectations of them, we're very disappointed, or may become angry !
We want them to change so that they will they will match what we think they are. But our projections and expectations come from our own minds, not from the other people.
Our problems arise not because others aren't
who we thought they we're, but because we mistakenly thought they were something they
Checklist: "I Love You if __________ "
What we call love is most often attachment.
It is actually a disturbing attitude that overestimates the qualities of another person.
We then cling to tightly to that person, thinking our happiness depends on that person.
"Love, on the other hand, is an open and very calm, relaxed attitude. We want someone to be happy, and free from suffering simply because they exist. While attachment is uncontrolled and much too sentimental, Love is direct and powerful. Attachment obscures our judgment and we become impatient, angry, and impartial, helping only our dear ones and harming those who we don't like. Love builds up others, and clarifies our minds, and we
access a situation by thinking of the greatest good for everyone. Attachment is based on
selfishness, while Love is founded upon cherishing others, even those who do not look very appealing to the eyes. Love looks beyond
all the superficial appearances, and dwells on the fact that they are just like us: they want inner peace, happiness, and want to avoid suffering. If we see unattractive, dirty, ignorant people, we feel repulsed because our selfish minds want to know attractive, intellectual, clean, and talented people. Love, on the other hand, never evaluates others by these superficial standards and looks much deeper into the person. Love recognizes that regardless of the others' appearances, their experience is the same as ours: they seek inner peace, to be happy, to be free from sufferings, and to do their best to avoid problems.
When we're attached, we're not mentally and emotionally free. We overly depend on and cling to another person to fulfill our mental and especially our emotional needs. We fear losing the person, feeling we'd be incomplete without him.
This does not mean that we should suppress our emotional needs or become aloof, alone and totally independent, for that too does not solve the problem. We must simply realize our unrealistic needs, and slowly seek to eliminate them. Some emotional needs may be so strong that they can't be dissolved immediately.
If we try to suppress them or pretend they do not exist, we become anxious, insecure, falling into a depression. In this case, we can do our best to fulfill our needs while simultaneously working gradually to subdue them.
"The core problem is we seek to be loved, rather than to love. We yearn to be understood by others rather than to understand them. In all honesty, our sense of emotional insecurities comes from the selfishness obscuring our own minds. 'We can develop self-confidence by recognizing our inner potential to become a selfless human being with many, magnificent qualities, then we'll develop a true and accurate feeling of self-confidence. And then we'll seek to increase true love, without attachments, to increase compassion, to cultivate patience and understanding, as well as generosity, concentration and wisdom.
'Under the influence of attachment we're bound by our emotional reactions to others. When they are nice to us, we're happy. When they ignore us, or speak sharply to us, we take it personally and are unhappy. But pacifying attachment doesn't mean we become hard-hearted. Rather, without attachment there will be space in our hearts and minds for genuine Affection and Impartial Love for them.
We'll be actively involved with them.
If we learn to subdue our attachments, we can most definitely have successful friendships and personal relationships with others. These relationships will be richer because of the freedom and respect - the relationships will be based on. We'll care about the happiness and the misery of all human beings equally, simply because everyone is the same in wanting and needing inner peace, happiness, and not wanting to suffer. However, our lifestyles and interests may be more compatible with those of some people more so than with others and that is alright. In any case, our relationships will be based on mutual Love, mutual interests, and the wish to help each other in life.*