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Human relationships are complicated and when love is involved, it can get even more confusing. On top of that, we might have a pattern of attracting a particular type of relationship that only serves to hurt us each time.
But don’t worry, the Buddhist concept of the oneness of life and its environment teaches that we’re all connected, so when we change something internally, by default, it’ll manifest in our relationships and who we attract.
The solution already exists within us. So, here’s the breakdown on how to create healthy relationships.
Real love helps you expand your capacity to grow
We might imagine endless vacations with our partners or being with them all the time as real love. If I spend all my time or a majority of my time with this person, isn’t that proof that we really love each other? Of course, it’s wonderful to spend time with someone but if the individual becomes the purpose of your life, it’s easy to be consumed by the relationship.
In a conversation with a student who was asking about what love really is, the Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda shared the following advice:
If you are neglecting the things you should be doing, forgetting your purpose in life because of the relationship you’re in, then you’re on the wrong path. A healthy relationship is one in which two people encourage each other to reach their respective goals while sharing each other’s hopes and dreams.
Discussions on Youth, p. 60
So, here are some questions to ask yourself: What are my goals? What is my purpose in life? Am I becoming a more wonderful version of myself? Does my partner encourage me to achieve my goals?
It starts with us
Referring to human relationships as a mirror, the 13th-century Buddhist reformer Nichiren Daishonin uses the following analogy:
It is like the situation when one faces a mirror and makes a bow of obeisance: the image in the mirror likewise makes a bow of obeisance to oneself.
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 165
Whether we are currently in a relationship or not, creating a healthy one starts (and continues) with us. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is not just about feeling better or finding calm away from life’s problems. Its purpose is to enable people to recognize the inherent worth of their life and become strong enough inside to be completely ourselves.
By repeating this phrase out loud each morning and evening, in essence, we are saying over and over again, I deserve the best relationships because my life is inherently worthy of respect. As Nichiren shares, the people in our lives (who function like mirrors) will respond in kind, and we can attract the best people to help us become the people we’ve always wanted to be.
In short, we can create the relationships we desire by continuously developing into the most wonderful versions of ourselves. Even if we don’t feel like the most wonderful versions right now, not to worry. Each time we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we’re opening our eyes to the truth that we already are perfect and complete.