Why Emotional Attachment Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
In the spiritual movement, most commonly we discuss the need to let go and be free. We are taught that attachments are a bad thing. Stephen Cope is one of the few people to challenge this belief. As the author of the book “Soul Friends: The Transforming Power of Deep Human Connection” Stephen values human connection above many other things. He argues that attachment is good when it is healthy.
Let’s start from the beginning. When you are born, you are supposed to feel attached to your parents or your guardians. They are supposed to be loving, nurturing, and supportive in every way. In fact, if a child does not have an attachment to their parents, that is how behavioral issues and even mental afflictions can start.
A child cannot return the support and nurture yet, as you grow older, you are meant to have reciprocating bonds with close people in your life. In this scenario, both or all people involved in a connection can have an attachment to each other which fuels and strengthens their bond(s).
The word ‘attachment’ has received a negative connotation over the years. However, by definition, it is neutral. It is the bond between two people or a person and an object or a place. A healthy bond with another person can have attachment on both sides. And while an object or a place cannot become attached to you, they can give back to you by providing you with what makes you happy.
Attachment is much more important between people, than perhaps a person and specific foods.
There is little if no argument for attachment to be good for material objects. But when it comes to people, Earth, and life itself, attachment can actually be a good thing.
Attachment To People: A Prerequisite to Thriving
It is said that unless you give it your all and put your heart on the line, you cannot find true love and true connection. At the same time the spiritual movement is all about being unattached. Here is how both beliefs exist and both are true.
As many spiritual leaders point out, we are souls here on Earth having an experience. Our souls are eternal. They go through many lifetimes and reincarnations; therefore everything seems non-permanent in comparison. On a soul level, we also love everyone we meet unconditionally, thus we do not have to be attached to them to love them.
However, is it important to remember that all of us are here for an Earthly experience as human beings. We are here to experience the three dimensional world and human love. These are the things that other dimensions may not offer. The Earth is unique, and we are here to experience it.
That being said, attachment to people is necessary to experience the full spectrum of human love. British psychologist John Bowlby even said that healthy attachments to others are needed in order for you to thrive. It is when the attachments are insecure and unhealthy that problems arise.
It is the healthy and strong attachments to other people that have formed you and transformed you in this life.
One day we may be able to telepathically communicate and instantly feel each other’s emotions and energy, which will create close bonds. Until then, attachment is what drives us to get to know each other better and to stay in close and constant contact which feeds to bond(s).
To summarize; attachments can be good. The trick is to known the difference between a healthy and unhealthy one.
Signs of A Healthy or Unhealthy Attachment
Your soul knows the difference. A healthy attachment makes you feel empowered and happy knowing that the people you are attached to simply exist.
Signs and benefits of a healthy attachment are:
- Feeling the joy of having this connection
- Celebrating the joys of life together
- Feeling more courage in life because you are supported
On the other hand an unhealthy attachment is:
- Craving the other person like an addiction
- Trying to change another instead of accepting them fully
- Being afraid of this connecting changing in any way
- Ignoring reality and living in an illusion
- Trying to control everything
As both Bowlby and Cope argue, attachment is not what we should let go of, instead it is ego, and the clinginess addictions that can become issues. An attachment is a bond; how healthy this bond is, is up to you.
Buddha was once asked: “Is it true to say that good company, good companionship is half of the spiritual life?”
To which he answered: “…Good company, good companionship is the whole of the spiritual life.”
Healthy attachments are good. So go and enjoy them.
Soul Friends: The Transforming Power of Deep Human Connection, by Stephen Cope, Hay House, 2017.