So here we are, the end of July and the last instalment of the blog series: ‘Letting go’. Thank you to everyone who has followed my explorations this month, and to everyone who has stumbled across my thoughts with love and support!
L E T T I N G • G O: Last in the series! In this blog, I share my thoughts on the difference between attachment and love. If any of the ideas resonate with you, I hope my thoughts bring you some perspective and permission to love unconditionally. 💕🦋 ••••••••••••••••• 'Love is like a butterfly. If you chase it, it will fly away. But, if you are patient and sit still long enough, it will land gently into the palm of your hands…'
To begin to unravel the idea of attachment, let’s paint a picture… Imagine that we had discovered a flower, intentionally or not, that allured us with its intoxicating perfume and stunning appearance. Just being in its presence brightened our day and made us sensitive to being alive. Its beauty also permeated our vision and transformed our perspective of weeks, months and years ahead… Now, we could walk away with this appreciation and leave it for others to enjoy, often meandering back to the flower to nurture it; or, we could pluck it out of its element to take it home.
In the first option, leaving it to grow naturally for others to enjoy can be evocative of LOVE; and, in the second, possessing the flower for our own benefit is evocative of ATTACHMENT.
In this story, whilst attachment can seem to be beneficial as we get to tie ourselves to a beautiful, uplifting feeling, attachment to loved ones and material things actually cause us to suffer. When there is attachment, there is also weakness, clinging and fear. Since all things are impermanent, when people change, things stop working or [enter life event here], we inevitably feel unprepared and as if something that was ours had been taken away. In light of the flower, we would still expect it to give us the same pleasure it did before we plucked it out; however, once it withered away, we would feel the weight of its absence and would experience suffering of some sort.
How can we further notice the difference between attachment and love?
ATTACHMENT is where we become self-centred; it is conditional and is felt when trying to feed our needs and self esteem. Have you ever craved attention from someone and have felt angered when they have not met your expectations?
I have experienced this feeling more palpably recently… Despite being in a wonderful relationship, I have caught myself often feeling a crippling sense of loneliness without my partner by my side. By default, because I was so happy, I noticed that I had placed so much expectation on our time spent together that I began to feel weak by myself – again, attachment can be seen to weaken us; we give away the key to our happiness as we allow it to be found outside of ourselves.
LOVE, on the other hand, strengthens us as we stay in control of our happiness and agency. Whilst attachment grasps, demands, needs and aims to possess, love allows, honours, forgives and appreciates. Whilst ATTACHMENT is exclusive, only felt for some things or people, LOVE is inclusive and is for everyone.
Of late, what I have been allowing myself to meditate on is that all things are constantly in flux and are ever-changing; since nothing in life is guaranteed, let’s let go of unhealthy ways of thinking and being. Let’s learn to separate ATTACHMENT and LOVE and learn to appreciate the people around us without causing them or ourselves to suffer. We don’t need to hold onto people or things so tightly, as this can cause the things we supposedly love to suffocate.
What else are you doing with your time/ energy that fills you up independent of that special person/ possession? Are you being creative? Investing in your career? Sharing your love with other people? Exercising to benefit your physical and mental health? All of these acts of self-love only serve to help you love from a place of fulfilment.
What attachment do you need to let go of? Life is but a vapour.