With some people, however, once they have gotten into a relationship, they have a hard time saying “no” to the other person for fear of losing them. In that respect, love is like riding in a car with no brakes. Sometimes, even if you want to get out, you can’t; even if you regret having gotten in, the car won’t stop. In many cases, people get involved in a relationship thinking they are free and independent, but at some point find they have become captive to the relationship.
Each one of you is infinitely precious. Therefore, I hope you will treat yourself with utmost respect. Please don’t follow a path that will cause you suffering, but take the road that is best for your well-being.
The truth is, ideal love is fostered only between two sincere, mature and independent people. It is essential, therefore, that you work on polishing yourself first.
It is demeaning to be constantly seeking your partner’s approval. Such a relationship is bereft of real caring, depth or even love. If you find yourself in a relationship where you are not treated the way your heart tells you you should be, I hope you will have the courage and dignity to decide that you are better off risking being scorned by your partner than enduring an unhappy relationship.
Real love is not two people clinging to each other; it can only be fostered between two strong people secure in their individuality. A shallow person will only have shallow relationships. If you want to experience real love, it is important to first sincerely develop a strong self-identity. True love is not about doing whatever the other person wants you to do or pretending you are something you’re not. If someone genuinely loves you, they will not force you to do anything against your will nor embroil you in some dangerous activity.
Please have the confidence and fortitude to think to yourself when you face rejection: “It’s their loss if they can’t appreciate how wonderful I am!” This is the kind of resilient spirit you must strive to cultivate.
Please don’t let a broken heart discourage you. Tell yourself that you’re not so weak or fragile as to let such a minor thing bring you down. You may think there is no one who could possibly compare to that person, but how will they compare to the next hundred, the next thousand, the next ten thousand people you will meet? You cannot declare with certainty that there will not be others who far surpass them. As you yourself grow, the way you look at people will change as well.
I’m sure quite a few among you have had your hearts broken or been badly hurt, and perhaps feel unable to go on, your self-esteem in tatters. But you must never believe that you are worthless. There is no substitute for you who are more precious than all the treasures in the universe gathered together.
It is important for you to become strong. For if you are strong, even your sadness will become a source of nourishment, and the things that make you suffer will purify your life.
Only when you experience the crushing, painful depths of suffering can you begin to understand the true meaning of life. Precisely because you have experienced great suffering, it is imperative that you go on living. The important thing is to keep moving forward. If you use your sadness as a source of growth, you will become a person of greater depth and breadth–an even more wonderful you.
Excerpted from Discussions on Youth Vol. 1 By Daisaku Ikeda (SGI-USA, 1998)