“I’ll be damned Lodro,” you may be thinking, “if I’m not gonna give up my ex. He is a cheating, lying dirtbag and I am for sure going to give him up…the moment I can stop thinking about him every five minutes.”
Let me be very clear: there are times when we might need to cut someone out of our life. That person may be:
- a romantic partner who has hurt us
- a family member who is abusive
- a friend who is insultingly self-absorbed
- a co-worker who tries to turn every conversation into a way to sabotage us
I get that you might need to end regular relations with that person. I am drawing a line between cutting off contact with someone and inwardly giving up on them. Heartbreak can mean loving someone and wishing they would go f*ck themselves at the same time. It’s a confusing emotion because of just that sort of contradiction.
Just because we have been hurt by someone doesn’t mean that they no longer deserve happiness in their lives or are beyond anyone’s help. I’m a firm believer that everyone possesses basic goodness. The Buddha was a living example of someone who was totally spoiled growing up, then tortured himself in the name of spirituality, only to see that he didn’t need to explore external factors in search of peace — he had it within him all along. That is why we call the Buddha the tathagatha, or Awakened One. He woke up to his inherent peace and goodness. He’s a role model in that we too can wake up to our basic goodness.
When I was traveling on one of my book tours I spent some time in North Carolina. I was hosted by a really wonderful couple. I had never met them before. They showed me where I would be staying and drove me to my event. We made small talk on the way and they were polite but reserved.
That night I was asked a question I get asked quite frequently: “How can everyone possess the same goodness the Buddha possessed? Surely Hitler wasn’t inherently good? Surely Charles Manson isn’t basically good? There are people out there who do a lot of evil things!” I answered how I often answer: there are many people out there who are very very confused. That does not mean that underneath their various layers of confusion, neurosis, and pain that…