“Attachment” Is Just Fear
It’s a response to a threat, just like “fight” or “flight”
We have certain responses to perceived threats of risks. Many of us have heard of the first two — fight or flight. But there are two more that fewer of us know about:
- and… Attach
And these preferences — as well as the stimulus that we perceive as risks — include other people — and relationships.
When we feel uncertain or at risk, some of us fight. Some of us run. Some of us (the peacekeepers) submit, and some of us? Attach.
We effectively cling to the other person, moving ourselves into their spaces and violate boundaries — ours and theirs. We get jealous, demanding, emotional. We do more and then flail when we “don’t feel appreciated.”
And it’s all unhealthy — just as much a response to fear as fighting or running, and no “better.”
How to get over attachment as a response to fear?
Realize that uncertainty is the norm.
We don’t control the universe — or the outcome of every scenario, even including our own lives.
“We need to get over ourselves.”
— Laura K. Kerr PhD
“Attachment” is not love
So many people who are “attached” (or “addicts”) think that this is love — healthy love even — and that they “love too much.”
But as Heidi Priebe recently tweeted,
Attachment is about fear. And not only that, but it’s also about fighting against the entire universe — pretending things outside ourselves are there for us to attach ourselves to (and bend to our will.)
Non-attachment does not mean “detached”
We love in the way we sit in the sun, or hold sand — that is to say: lightly.
It does not mean aloofness, indifference, apathy, but rather acceptance. It’s love without anxiety. It’s love without presumption. It’s love with lightness.
I always like to share Huxley here:
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
- Aldous Huxley, Island
And, as the Buddha shared:
“Desire is the root cause of suffering. The dropping of desire brings an end to suffering.“
I’m not saying we shouldn’t love
And I’m also not saying running or fighting or submitting are any more healthy, because they’re not.
But it is about redefining what “love” means, and accepting a healthier viewpoint and behavior — ones that do not involve addiction and craving, but rather lightness and compassion.
“To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something, and it is only such love that can know freedom.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Practicing Non-Attachment In Your Life
A few steps:
- Develop your own sense of security rather than seeking it externally
- Develop healthier boundaries — a separation of self and everything else
- Deepen your connection to the universe, not just the other person
Love means being complete on our own, and exercising healthy viewpoints, coping mechanisms and behaviors.
To love means being your own person — and accepting that the other person is their own person as well.