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Article updated 2018

Have you ever heard the popular quote by Buddha:

“The Root of Suffering is Attachment”?

It is highly possible that most of the self help books out there that have become popular, are written by masculine men, or women with a masculine essence. I feel like this quote by the Buddha is very true.

BUT the opposite is also true.

The root of ecstasy is ALSO Attachment.

You could try telling my almost 9 month old son who still loves his breast milk that the root of all suffering is Attachment when he latches on for a feed. It wouldn’t work, though.

I believe this advise comes from a masculine soul, and whilst a woman would also notice that this advice may be true, the problem is that it doesn’t make us grow and become more free in the core of our feminine energy.

(Click here to take the quiz “How Feminine Am I Actually?”)

The masculine essence has to push aside love to feel empty.

Every woman on this site has experienced a man pulling away. In fact, any woman at all, has experienced a man pulling away. This is mainly because pulling away allows the man to feel empty or to achieve or to pursue his life’s purpose. And he forgets that you’re still attached. And this hurts us.

But – to feel empty would allow the masculine soul to achieve.

And to achieve is a wonderful thing for masculine human beings. Without it, they get less respect, which they crave.

So, in a way, this advice serves the masculine soul, and in SOME cases, it serves women – perhaps women who really do need to detach and to come out of a relationship where they feel hurt or have gotten hurt. Detachment is valuable in this way too, for women.

But if you spent too much time on this masculine extreme and don’t allow yourself to attach to the right people, and to good things, it starts to destroy our feminine soul.

CONNECTION is the lifeblood of the feminine.

Feminine energy needs connection to exist. Connection makes us feel alive in our femininity.

And YET – with connection, comes attachment of some sort for us. Tell me if this isn’t true for you?

Masculine energy does not grow through connection. Masculine men, if they are true to their soul, need to detach in order to pursue their life’s purpose. For example….men who meditate for hours, days, months, maybe YEARS on end…with no contact with their girlfriend or wife. It hurts the wife, but it certainly may not hurt the man. That detachment is necessary for the man to grow in his masculine essence.

For any man to be attractive – to be the kind of man that makes women swoon, he has to show up with incredible presence, and this presence is only trained in to a man who has had enough emptiness, enough challenges and enough detachment to pursue his achievements. So I really respect that detachment serves masculine men a great deal. It’s healthy for them.

As such, Buddha’s advice may speak to a person who is masculine at their core, and serve that person.

However, if you are a woman and if you do take a lot of self help advice, try to be careful what you listen to.

It’s ok to choose carefully what advice would serve you most of the time, and what advice would serve you in only a select few cases. For example, this quote by Buddha might help you heal from an abusive relationship.

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Attachment to negative Emotional Patterns create suffering.

Whilst attachment may make you suffer – what I believe creates suffering is actually attachment to our Negative emotional patterns of survival. These negative emotional patterns of survival are what is ingrained in to our nervous system through interactions with our parents by the time we are very small – some experts say around 2 years old.

For example, if you were abused as a child, then what feels safe (allows you to survive in your environment) to you might be a man who has a potential for abusing you. It might hurt you, but at least it’s safe. So your nervous system believes.

If what was ingrained in to you was a pattern of distance – then you’d feel safest when keeping a certain distance from people.

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And I believe that our negative patterns for SURVIVAL aren’t always designed for connection with humans, and this connection is truly what you crave, if you are a woman with a feminine essence.

Some people have developed a pattern of survival that means they are safest when connecting with people, and if that is you, then that is a much better pattern than the pattern of safety through abuse.

So, as women, we may get attached to a man in a relationship that is bad, but it’s not our attachment to the man that creates suffering, it’s our attachment to our own negative patterns of seeking approval in order to survive, or attachment to the pattern of abuse that actually causes our suffering. Or some other negative pattern.

The Root of Ecstasy is also Attachment!

There is every bit of ecstasy in Attachment. I feel ecstasy when I am one with my husband, and I feel ecstasy when loving and connecting and sharing with my son. I feel ecstasy when sharing vulnerability with a close girlfriend. But that ecstasy cannot come without attachment.

No attachment is permanent. This is true. But if it was permanent, we wouldn’t know the ecstasy of it. We’d take it for granted.

Related post: What to Do If He Takes You for Granted

Nothing we experience is permanent. But I feel that I would rather have the ecstasy of attachment than to detach, as long as the people and things I am attaching to are at least somewhat willing to be as vulnerable as me.

To think that this quote by Buddha – the root of suffering is Attachment assumes that detaching would end that suffering. 

Perhaps Buddha means that you need to acknowledge that things are transient.

In my bias, I feel like detachment MIGHT end our suffering, but only if we ALSO end our own negative emotional patterns of what feels safe.

And this advice would hold no truth to the person who is in love anyway. They are too attached and this is a wonderful thing. Who wants to die, not having experienced being madly in love? That kind of ecstasy brings attachment with it.

The Danger of following a Masculine Path…

It would hurt us even more if we were to simply try to detach and take a very masculine path in our lives ON TOP OF not noticing and breaking our negative patterns that we developed to ensure safety from a very young age.

For me personally, to detach – This would ruin who I am at my core.

To detach, in many instances (not all), would mean I’d have to deny love and the beauty of connection in many moments.

It would be me actively denying who I really am.

And that would perpetuate me wearing masks to cover who I truly am, or to protect myself when to let go of the armour would give me connection with others.

And I would be wearing that mask of fake masculinity to deal with my fear of abandonment or pain that comes with attachment. That would essentially hurt anyone with a feminine core. You’d be living a life that you THINK is ‘great’, but inside, you’d feel that something is missing.

It’s kind of like this…let’s say that as a little girl, you may have wanted a rainbow coloured tu-tu and ballet shoes and a sparkly halo for Christmas – just for the pure joy of experiencing being feminine light itself, because that is the core of you –  only then to have a parent decide that that isn’t for you – and instead your mother or father buys you a science book because they felt you were better served by ‘going somewhere’ and being a scientist one day.

While that’s nice, and you might have an interest in being a scientist – the truth is that if you have a feminine essence, then you would feel more ecstasy, more excitement and be more connected to other peers of yours if you were given the tu-tu and the sparkly halo.

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This isn’t about us not being able to detach and pursue masculine endeavours.

We can do these things just as god as any man can.

But hurts us. We might enjoy the empty chase of achievement and significance. But it always has that feeling of ‘something is missing’, if we are denying your true feminine core just to pursue masculine things because we think it’s safer to live our life that way.

If I may, I would love to try making a suggestion to you?

Try asking yourself: do you feel more ecstatic and alive at the thought of your favourite song coming on and dancing your heart away spontaneously to it?

Or do you feel more ecstatic and alive when someone comes over to you and says “hey, I bet you can’t eat that whole jar of wasabi!”.

If you feel like the first thing – dancing your heart away to your favourite song would make you feel more alive, and excited, then you probably have a more feminine essence.

And if you have a more feminine essence, then I would suggest to take advice about ‘detaching’ in the right situations. Don’t turn your back on connection and attachment – this is where your heart truly shines and this is where you can be radiant, alive and free.

It seems that in our world, masculine people naturally always unintentionally try to get more feminine people to be more like them – that is, more masculine. And more feminine people try to get a person who is masculine as their core to be more feminine. This is why we need to be more connected to which self help books and advice are serving our core and which are fostering our masculine energy.

This trying to get the opposite sex to be more like us seems to be quite true when you see families where a son or daughter is very out-numbered by siblings of the opposite sex. For example, a lone son raised by a single mother and 3 sisters! A man like this is often more connected to his feminine, which is great, but it’s no good when this boy who is masculine at heart is made wrong from a young age for seeking out challenges or danger, which naturally foster the growth of his masculine energy.

Do you find it hard to get why your man acts the way he does? Click here to read about our program Understanding Men.

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Super Janice
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Super Janice

Ms. Renee,
HELP!!! I feel that I am masculine in my heart. But people don’t think that I am masculine. I am disappointed because I don’t know whether I am masculine anymore!

Janice

Super Janice
Guest
Super Janice

When I was a little girl, I never wanted a tutu. I simply wanted to chase the boys. So I identify as a tomboy.
Today, I enjoy wearing tutu but it’s OK if I don’t have tutus.
I enjoy singing my favourite songs.
So I am feminine in my core.

Nazareen Long
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Nazareen Long

This rings so true, especially this line “If what was ingrained in to you was a pattern of distance – then you’d feel safest when keeping a certain distance from people.” I have more and more noticed myself distancing from people ive felt threatened or hurt by and ive even started doing this towards my husband in my own home. definitely feeling deep down as if something was missing!! Nail on the head Renee.

alicia
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alicia

think I may have the pattern of safety through abuse

alicia
Guest
alicia

Thanks Renee I enjoy coming back to reread your articles. I think you tackle this dilemma in many articles but would like some clarity. People don’t like people taking – agreed! So instead of looking outside for what we want and being all about lack, focus on what we have to give, plus we women need men in our lives and want their strength and protection and (phew!) you say it;s ok to need them – in fact denying this makes it worse, so here I think is the issue for many of us we do need men and some… Read more »

Anna C
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Anna C

Hey Renee, Thanks for writing this article, even if it was so long ago. I read this again today, months later after it’s been published, and I feel it’s one of the most complex articles on this site, and possibly ever written. Only because I’ve recently a book on non-attachment, and that book was already very profound. This article was one step above that book. Also I follow much of Buddha’s teachings, if they empower me. Non-attachment is supposed to make you feel more alive, more free… as if you are observing life as a game, and making decisions not… Read more »

Linh
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Linh

“Feelings are not facts. How you feel only matters to you… what you believe only matters to you. Because your beliefs don’t make you a better person.. your behavior does! So treat everyone with kindness (including yourself), and take feelings with a grain of salt.. they tend to run hot-and-cold for no reason sometimes.. relax….” (Buddisht Booth Camp)

Really love to learn your perspective on this conclusion – another mainstream self-help book…

Thank you Renee

Lisa Reed
Guest

Hi Renee Great post. I myself so deeply related to what you are saying here that I just had to post. I’ve always thought about detachment and relationships as incompatible things. I mean, there is a really fine line between being detached and actually not caring. A relationship is something you strive optimize. You spend time together, you get to know each other, you even share a bed, for crying out loud! Being purposely detached with a person you share your bed with is contradicting yourself. It’s also important to notice the difference between detachment and me-time. Not caring about… Read more »

Erin
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Erin

Hi Renee, I love the article you’ve written 🙂 its amazing! please help me, i really need to figure out what to do ! There’s this guy who claims to like me and calls me his soulmate. he is dating another girl and has been trying to break up with her since the past 9 months and i asked him to not leave her and stay with her but he won’t let go of me and says that he doesn’t want to be with her but wants to be with me. he’s not exactly dating her but he doesn’t know… Read more »

Katelyn
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Katelyn

Hi Renee, Earlier today I was having a discussion with a close girlfriend, let’s call her Jane, about another girlfriend whom I had met through my “former” man, lets call her Annie. Jane and I were discussing a variety of things over fro yo,and this Facebook conversation I had had with Annie a few days previously. Annie and I had been talking about the talk that my man and I had had and how I had decided to continue to love and care about my man versus detaching and being passive towards him. I was telling Annie how a certain… Read more »

latifah
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latifah

Hi Ranee You know am crazy about your news letters , each time I read them I learn about myself , relationships and life atlarge. I treasure you and I feel you are part of me. Feel bad ever since I moved to the UAE the guy I was dating and had fallen deep in love with cut communication after afew months. Infact iam planning to go back to my country because relating is tricky here and the clock is ticking. Love you Latifah

Gracie Decker
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Gracie Decker

I’ve heard that quote before, but never even thought to interpret it that way! After sitting and thinking on it, I definitely agree! Your articles are always wonderful to read 🙂

Loraine
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Loraine

My masculine man does all of the things you describe, every now & then he gets all caught up with all the things he has to do, and sometimes he does forget all about me ‘ apparently ‘. In those times even though I am tempted to pout, I stop myself and instead go and do things I love & enjoy that remind me of who I am as a woman. And guess what, he always comes back, better than ever. We’ve been together 5 years & he never lets me down. I love how manly he is. A lot… Read more »

Maegaret
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Hi, Renee

Good artical the l can deffently relate to some of the things you wrote in this aeticle.
I myself grew up with 2 brothers my my mom and dad were together untell my mother passed away.
The men in my family have always tried tried to think and be like a man try to force me to be the oppisite of who l trully am.
So l never got into reading self help books.

Anna C
Guest
Anna C

Dear Renee, As a follower of Buddha, I can say that THIS is some of the most profound advice I’ve ever read. I’m almost in tears right now because it is so true, and I’ve been blocking my feminine energy these past few days thinking attachment leads to suffering. But my difference was that my attachment was leading to FEAR… and fear was leading to suffering. But Renee, knowing I was attached to that thing I told you about has given me new life and made me the happiest I’ve ever been in my life (now that my relationship is… Read more »

Anna C
Guest
Anna C

By the way, I remember my man telling me yesterday “If you don’t get it, just find another one & move on without a second thought.” And I told him that it was a very masculine way of seeing things, and as a woman, I can’t just detach and move on that easily from something I love. Now I realise that the key is to let that love be. Just let it be and embrace it. Now that I’ve read your post I feel so much better.

Yasinta
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Yasinta

Agree. Just today, I faced a situation which got me angry at the office. I feel anxious, then I texted my boyfriend and tell everything to him, since I understand his masculinity, I didn’t expact he reply anytime soon, but…in fact he did (well took a while still)and as masculine man he gave me solutions, while actually I just want to share my feeling. I’m glad that we both grow, I understand more his masculinity and allow my self to be crazy & feel however I feel, and able to have confersation which latter bring us have better loving and… Read more »

Super Janice
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Super Janice

You are rational!

Ana
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Ana

Renee I loved your article but I am a little confused. If a masculine man needs detachment to be who he is and to become truly masculine, then how can he stick around in a relationship? Doesn’t that mean that any relationship with a masculine man at some point will end?
I don’t think that is the case…can you explain more about detachment…

Thank you!

Eva
Guest
Eva

He would detach but then he’d come back after a few hours, days, or weeks, depending on how you handle his detaching while he does it. She doesn’t mean detachment is forever!

Ariel
Guest
Ariel

Hey great article Renee! Really opened up my eyes! But can you write your opinion and thoughts in the future about what to do if you live with your boyfriend and how to not hate each other! Lol.

But great article, makes sense to me.

Katerina
Guest
Katerina

Hello Renee, another great article and you really got me thinking…It’s one of those articles I want to read again and again. yes i’m reading self help books, i’m doing yoga, i’m learning to meditate, i’m into esoterism and much more. Everything that has to do with self knowledge, exploration and developement is a big part of my life. I can’t imagine living without soul searching and a need for growth..and as a woman i relate deeply with the archetype of the mother goddess, and the “witch”.:P Detouchement is something that has troubled me for a long time. I was… Read more »

Lori
Guest
Lori

Katerina
you have explained this beautifully, thank you. I love the last sentence…

Helen
Guest
Helen

Hi Renee,
Just wanted to say this is an amazing article, I really enjoyed it and it just shows what a well rounded and balanced woman you are. I love the fact that you have the confidence to challenge Buddha but in a way that he would definitely not disapprove of! In fact he would probably bless you with light for this article! Lots of love Helen x

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