Tiny Wisdom: Less Pain, More Love

“The most important thing in this world is to learn to give out love, and let it come in.” -Morrie Schwartz

There are some people we feel we’ll never understand. They make choices we’d never make, they don’t understand why we do what we do, and they don’t give us what we need in our relationships with them.

Vegetarian author and advocate John Robbins had a man like that in his life. That man was his father, and the thing he didn’t know to give was love.

I saw John speak this weekend at Bonfire Heights, the retreat I mentioned yesterday. His father, Irv Robbins, co-founded the ice cream company Baskin Robbins, and lived a life dominated by the pursuit of more.

Irv believed children should be seen but not heard, and fathered with an authoritarian coldness. In fact, years later, after Irv held his autistic grandson—the first time he ever held a child—he asked John, “Do you think all children need love, or just those kind?”

John could have unleashed a lifetime of bitterness for a childhood without warmth and affection. But instead he saw his father for who he was in that moment—an old man from a different time, who was open to learning a different way.

Years later, when Irv was on his death bed, John repeatedly kissed his forehead as morphine dulled his final pain. Irv asked John why he did that, and he responded, “Because I’m showing my love.”

Irv responded, “That’s been important to you, huh?” Followed by, “Less pain!”

To which John responded, “More love.”

Then Irv said, “Less pain!”

To which John responded, “More love.”

When John kissed his forehead one more time, Irv released and fully accepted it, even saying, “That felt good.”

John said, “Less pain?” The last words he ever heard his father say were “More love.”

Sometimes the people who need our love the most are the ones we may feel deserve it the least. We can make that judgment and stay bitter—or we can actively contribute to making the world a more loving place. Less pain, more love.

Photo by Mara Earth Light

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It really shows how love does ultimately win over pain.

  • Melissa Stottmann

    And I’m crying 😉

  • Mia McLaughlin

    <3 <3 <3

  • Anonymous


    Love is always the better choice. I don’t mean that in a hippy sense either. It just is a more intelligent choice from every perspective imaginable. Bitterness and resentment never do anything good.

    Great article. 🙂

  • Pam

    Less pain; more love.

  • What a beautiful story. 

  • Trish Pierce

    Brilliant timing, thank you.

  • Angelica

    I was jut chocked up once again to re-live this moment; thank you. The Robinns were so inspirational, kind, and loving. Again thank you for sharIng his stoty with the world.

  • It was so touching! I was choked up throughout their entire presentation. It was wonderful to meet you. I was at Disneyland yesterday, so I am going to respond to your email today. =)

  • LOL your comment made me laugh–“the hippy sense.” I know what you mean. It can sound so corny to say choose love, but people say it for a reason–it makes the world a better, happier place.

  • You are most welcome. =)

  • Such beautiful people. Everyone should have a chance to hear them speak.

  • Narwhaltat

    I seem to need regular reminders to ‘choose love’ .. to notice the moments when I’m ‘doing’ pain, out of habit .. and gently breathing love into that place .. soothing that pain .. and slowly the choosing of love is becoming the new habit .. thanks to reminders like this  .. ananda .. namaste x

  • You are most welcome. I need to remind myself often, as well. I chose pain for more than 20 years–and I’ve been working to change that for less than 10. Sometimes it some effort, but I think intention and effort go a very long way!

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