I’m always falling into the trap of attachment to being loved, and of fear of missing out

Oct 12, 2020

QUESTION

Hi Robina.

I hope all is going well with you. I have been listening to your Vajrasattva teachings in France. After studying emptiness, I still engage in attachment, particularly the romantic kind. I realized how much inappropriate attention I pay to my fantasies and it has caused me pain. I know there’s karma that I’m repaying as a result.

I recently and unexplainably became attached to someone I barely knew after three dates. It makes no sense to feel this way. It’s like I’m under a curse. It’s been a repeat pattern for me to get attached to someone who loses interest in me. I like the idea of meeting someone and sharing a life, but the attachment aspect is what kills me. I do know that the object of attachment is a condition and not the cause. From a psychological stance, the rejection triggers my sense of worthlessness as I was growing up, as raised by my family. 

Is there a practice I can do to rid me of these romantic attachments? While at the same time I can date without too much attachments?

Love,

L

ANSWER

Good to hear from you, L.

Well, we all want to be loved, right! That’s our problem! Buddha says we’ve got everything in us already – but our deepest attachment is to be seen as a nice person, to be approved of, to be liked. What to do!

Even though we call it “romantic” attachment, in the end that’s the deepest attachment of all: to be approved of, to be seen and heard. It’s so deep!

Nothing wrong with a relationship – we’ve very social beings – but we need to use them as a basis for developing ourselves, for practicing patience and love and kindness. That’s what makes them work.

Having relationships based mainly attachment is what makes them a disaster. And we end not getting what we want, such as companionship and the rest.

It takes time, L. Relax. Enjoy the relationships and see where they take you. Don’t expect too much. Be easygoing.

And, of course, try to distinguish between love and attachment. Love is connected to the other, sees the other, wants them to be happy. Attachment is totally I-based, fearful, hungry.

Low self-esteem is a sympton of attachment, which at its deepest level, is dissatisfaction.

Love to you,

Robina

QUESTION

Hi Robina.

I’ve been doing a lot of work contemplating on your teachings that I have found online. I find the recurrent theme of wanting to be loved, seeking approval from others as one of the most prevalent attachment of mine. This attachment is the one that has plagued me most in my life. I never expected it to be. But the more I listen to your teachings over and over, the more truth I see in this.

Also, I find myself constantly worrying about upsetting others to the point of paranoia. 

You mentioned that attachment is obvious when we get upset when the ideal situation doesn’t happen. And for me, usually that entails my perception that someone doesn’t think nicely of me. My most recent situation is that of my roommate.

After reaching a boiling point over “personality conflicts” and having “my boundaries not being respected,” I told him to think about moving out because my house may not suit his needs. Then I was shocked that he decided to move out by the end of this month. I became extremely resentful and felt that I was at fault.

Now that I have recognized that these afflictions are based on my attachment, what exactly do I do with the lingering sadness and my fear of missing out? Do I meditate analytically on it until it goes away? I think I reached a stumbling point. Like you said, this kind of work is like putting your hand in your own sh*t. I think that describes the purpose of this experience. Thank you for reading my thoughts. 

Love

L

ANSWER

Dearest L,

Okay, first of all, the anger with your roommate because he didn’t behave as you wanted – that’s because attachment didn’t get what it wants.

And, as you say – you see it so clearly! – the other aspect of attachment is fear of losing something.

But feeling resentful when he moved out — that puzzles me! You should have been delighted!

The main thing is you’re seeing your mind, L, you’re seeing the delusions. What do you do with them? You argue with them, see their lack of logic. Slowly slowly you learn new habits. They don’t go away over night.

And do your practice every day – it’s a longterm approach that’s needed.

The fact is, L, you’ve got a practice, you work on yourself every day, so part of the approach is to be satisfied. Really. Please remember to delight in your progress, to rejoice! You’re doing well, it seems to me.

We forget this. We always just see what we haven’t achieved. This is the irony of attachment as well: always dissatisfied.

Simply think positive thoughts. Say the words to yourself. That’s a very powerful antidote to the delusions.

But be patient, have a longterm view, as I said. All these old habits take time to change.

Love to you,

Robina

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