Original Link : https://psiloveyou.xyz/non-attachment-is-love-bec44d8d1287
And “attachment” is not
The concept of “non-attachment” is a major foundation of many schools of thought, perhaps most notably of which is Buddhism:
“Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering… the cause of suffering.” – The Dalai Lama
But non-attachment is also one of the supreme ideals of other religions and philosophies, including Jainism, Stoicism and Christianity.
Attachment is NOT love
And one of the greatest disservices we do ourselves is confusing the two. Because by defining “love” as “attachment,” we’re setting ourselves up for nothing but emotional suffering.
Attachment is simply an unhealthy coping mechanism — much like “fight” or “flight” — that we lean into out of fear.
We fear losing something, or someone, so we cling and call this “love.”
But it’s not.
The world and other people are fundamentally never ours to control, and very often, instead of working with this and developing a model for love and relationships that fits, we spend our lives fighting it, pretending that with enough emotional “brute force,” we can somehow overcome the risk of loss. But we can’t. The world and other people simply don’t work that way.
To live with “attachment” is to live in denial.
Attachment causes suffering because all of life is, by definition, transient. And as much as we may protest and protect and pray against it, loss is inevitable.
“Attachment” is the emotional equivalent of a paper rain coat, and while we may believe it “protects” us for a while, the reality is that it’s only going to leave us in a pulpy mess when the weather ultimately rolls in.
Non-attachment IS love
Perhaps best exemplified by the first part of the famous phrase,
“If you love something, set it free”
By practicing non-attachment, you are in alignment with the universe, not spending your life fighting it and living in fear. You understand your role in the grand scheme of things, and because you understand that you never controlled the world or other people to begin with, inevitable changes do not disrupt your perspective of love or “how it should work.”
Non-attachment is about respecting the world and others as individuals, and having a realistic humility and healthy boundaries regarding our own influence or what we are “owed” — or “own.” It’s coexistence and compassion.
Non-attachment is NOT the same as “avoidant”
Being “avoidant” is just as unhealthy as being “attached” —it’s simply the opposite side of the same coin.
“Avoidance” is about “suppressing emotions” and “keeping people and things at arm’s length.” Non-attachment, however, is simply about setting boundaries, respecting people, and experiencing healthy emotions.
As Matt Valentine wrote on Buddhaimonia,
“[Non-attachment] doesn’t mean you stop caring about them. On the contrary, you appreciate them so much more because you’re ever-aware of that they won’t last forever.”
Non-attachment is joy
Good joy — and good love — must be first nourished and fostered in the self.
It is not dependent on others, or the universe. It is ours.
And when we recognize and admit our limitations (rather than denying them and clinging), we simultaneously open ourselves up to the opportunity to redefine our agency over our own joy.
By accepting that we do not own the universe or other people bumping through it — that everything from mountain ranges to mere mortals will change and that we don’t have a say — we allow ourselves to find and maintain joy. Because by embracing that this is okay — relaxing and making peace with change and our lack of control beyond ourselves — we can retain our joy, because it aligns with the world rather than fights it.
By living with attachment, you are not living with joy… you are living in fear — of loss.
Only in non-attachment can we find peace, happiness — and love.
“But why can’t I still be attached? Why can’t this be love?”
If you still feel this way, you’re still trying to fight and deny the fundamental transient nature of the universe and everything in it — including the object(s) of our attachment.
To think that you’re going to go on being attached and believe that’s going to work out okay for you is the same as clinging to a rainbow or getting too attached to a flower.
You’re not an exception.
“What if I think loss is romantic?”
Like “I would rather love and lose than never love at all.”
Look, this is a common viewpoint, but it is not at all what we’re talking about here.
If you are someone who finds “purpose” in wallowing in the heartbreak following a loss, or finds sadness “meaningful” and “beautiful,” then that’s something entirely different, and this viewpoint — one of lightness and joy — will of course not resonate with you. Because you fundamentally want loss. Maybe you see it as an “important” part of “loving.”
That is a different viewpoint — one that carries different neurosis, albeit closely aligned to attachment.
But all this being said: you still understand that this “attachment” is not love; it’s merely an emotional indulgence; something that feels good and rich and syrupy; something that can be milked and fed and give “meaning,” however unhealthy, when it eventually ends (which, at least we can agree that it will.)
Non-attachment is love
…because it’s about respect and boundaries.
It is understanding what we do and do not control:
“We all want to be loved, but… other people’s feelings, judgments, and actions are not within our control… Whether he returns the favor or not, it’s up to him. Once we have done our utter best, to insist in controlling people and events that are actually outside our reach is futile, and likely to lead to pain and misery.” — Massimo Pigliucci
“Become better human beings by way of modulating our natural desires, perceptions, and emotions using one of the distinctive traits of humanity: the ability to reflect on how to be better, and act accordingly.” — Massimo Pigliucci
We can have more love (not less) and be happier (not less ) by re-defining “love” on the foundation of non-attachment.
By relinquishing our fears and poor coping mechanisms, we also free ourselves, and open ourselves up to a love that is healthy, mature, and joyful.