Love and attachment: two words that are frequently used together and sometimes even interchangeably. But is there a difference between these two?

For centuries writers, poets and, even, scientists have tried to understand and define the emotion we know as “love.” More recently, professor and sociologist Thomas Scheff undertook the mammoth task of defining the word, which he calls the most “vague” and “pliable” of all words associated with emotions.

According to counselor Abba Jepsen, attachment is “a state of binding oneself with personal ties.” It brings with itself a constant discomfort. This discomfort keeps people from truly being in the moment, as they are in constant fear of losing the love they feel toward the other person. By attaching ourselves to another, we rely on another person to make us happy and are emotionally dependent on them, adds Jepsen. It makes us develop a selfish focus, where only our own feelings matter. Consequently, attachment often fuels the negative feelings of jealousy, manipulation and revenge.

So, what exactly is love and what is attachment? And are the two really that different? Below, we’ve featured an excerpt from one of Sadhguru’s live talks where he explores the nature of love and attachment and the difference between the two.



How will your understanding of the difference between love and attachment impact your relationships? Tell us in the comments below!

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POSTED IN:Relationships
  1. Jayanthi Reply
    Thank You Sathguruji for this wonderful message..
  2. Rebecca Reply
    I agree with this 100%. Last year I came to this realization very suddenly while being in a relationship with the most unloveable man I have ever encountered. It helped me see why relationships (of all types) were so difficult to maintain and flourish in, and why the majority of them fail, or create absolute misery and resentment. It seems that what we consider to be "love" is a suffocating prison of expected obedience from other people. It's as if we are trying to force others to adhere to an idealized mind-concocted fantasy. We are essentially objectifying the other person(s). And this seems to lead to/ cause a killing (or deadening) of our spirits, and suppresses growth. Love, as I now see it, should be life-nourishing, and growth-promoting, and most of all, freeing.
    • Arevik Reply
      Yes, so true!
    • Donna Reply
      Well said. I've had a saying . "If you don't have expectations of me, then you will never be disappointed." Or-"If I don't have any expectations of you, then I will never be disappointed." This brings freedom to love without suffering. It brings sweet forgiveness to oneself and others. Now I understand more about what Jesus meant when he said, "You must die daily."
  3. Arevik Reply
    Yes your right sadhguru! Also people glorify virginity and women and that upsets me. Women are not toys or sexual objects. We are human beings that's all. Thank you I really enjoy listening to you. You are wonderful. Namaste!
  4. Suzette Reply
    I see this to be true it appears an unhealthy reality.
  5. Hala Reply
    Well, I am a mum and I feel that I am responsible for bringing kids to this world, so I have to make sure that I do everything right to put them on the truck of their well bing. To be honest I am attached to them and my happiness is to see them happy and safe. So this situation drives me to anxiety , fear and drives me creasy when my daughter smooking cigarets , or my son dosen't study enough ..etc Should just be a witness and stop worrying about their future ... Is that a way to get red of attachment ?
    • Kish Reply
      It looks like what you are equating to is inaction. When your daughter smokes or son does not study , it is your responsibility to tell them.
  6. Paul Rocker Reply
    The curious point on this discussion is how to become unattached and free of madness in a consumerist and mad society? The more "zen" you get the more enemies you have. At least in the latin coutries, people get very jealous and naive about "self-controlled" people and many will try to make you go out of your mind, in the day-by-day situations. Good luck for those who managed and accomplished this so difficult task...
  7. Lazypiggy Reply
    I like what Donna said. If I don't have expectations of you., I will never be disappointed. But there is one more thing I like to add on it. Trying to do what you are responsible for without any expectations will keep your experiencing love within you but avoiding any negative feelings and attachment.

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