Question: “I feel love in an unconventional way and it is beginning to become an issue in my life. I frequently tell people that I’m really close to that I love them, and though I have explained repeatedly that it is not romantic, today one of them asked me to be in a relationship. She is in pain and I feel guilty for not reciprocating her feelings. How can I avoid causing others suffering when everyone wants romance and I just want to help people love themselves?”
Look at it from their point of view. If you tell them you love them, even if you say it’s not in a romantic way, you’re giving them a sense of being “super special” to you. Then, when they want something more and you don’t, they might feel betrayed and lied to. So they feel sad, hurt and belittled, feelings no one wants to have. In Buddhism, we love unconditionally. That doesn’t mean we go around telling people we love them. It means treating everyone with love.
Unconditional love isn’t picking and choosing the people you want to care about or the people you choose to say I love you to. Everyone receives your love equally across the board. No one gets more or less love than anyone else. Your love and care is spread across equally. When that happens, people will see and notice that you are just a loving person who treats everyone the same and not pin-pointing certain people.
Smile and be well!