Very often we feel like a pot without a lid. We believe that our lid is somewhere in the world and that if we look very hard, we’ll find the right lid to cover our pot. The feeling of emptiness is always there inside us. When we contemplate the other person, sometimes we think we see what we feel we lack. We think we need someone else to lean on, to take refuge in, and to diminish our suffering. We want to be the object of another person’s attention and contemplation. We want someone who will look at us and embrace our feeling of emptiness and suffering with his energy of mindfulness. Soon we become addicted to that kind of energy; we think that without that attention, we can’t live. It helps us feel less empty and helps us forget the block of suffering inside. When we ourselves can’t generate the energy to take care of ourselves, we think we need the energy of someone else. We focus on the need and the lack rather than generating the energy of mindfulness, concentration, and insight that can heal our suffering and help the other person as well.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “How to Love”.