WHY DO WE GET ATTACHED TO THINGS AND PEOPLE?
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
What Is Attachment?
Humans are social animals, and that much should already be known to all of us.
I mean, even for more introverted folks, it doesn’t take a degree in biology to find out that’s precisely how we became the dominant species on the planet.
If every person starts learning information throughout their life but can’t write or pass it on, then the next generation starts from zero.
But, precisely because we share and socialize, we can accumulate experience from our forefathers.
For better or worse, evolution has made attachment to other people and certain objects, even ideas, a very intrinsic and inevitable part of our existence.
Why Does It Form?
Differing from other animals like tigers, eagles, sharks, and the like, humans hunt in packs.
One naked ape can’t wear down an antelope or a bison, but several, coordinating attacks and outlasting a fast animal is what led us here today, literally.
This same reliance on tools was slowly but surely coded into our minds over thousands of years, into something more removed but still essentially the same underlying principle.
Can Attachment Be Beneficial?
Of course, that’s why it is so deeply embedded into our psyche.
Shared experiences, whether they be fun adventures, or going through sad and tough times, facilitate trust between people.
That, in turn, forges stronger connections, friendships, and relationships and even develops us as a person, outside of any external factors.
Notice that people who have many secure and tested friendships have this sort of “cool” aura around them.
Confident in their own abilities, but also the fact that if they need help or some other expertise, they have reliable people to go to.
Identifying Unhealthy Attachments
At the same time, just because you’ve known someone for a very long time or gone through hell together doesn’t mean they are either a good influence on you or that they will stay that way.
Our culture places a twisted sense of “honor” and “loyalty” on not detaching from people who are passively or even actively holding you back with outdated ideas, general pessimism, or even jealousy.
Sometimes these people may even be family, but there comes the point where strengthening bonds become parasitic tumors.
How To Manage Attachments
As great as having friends and even lovers to rely on, everyone needs to be able enough on their own.
It might sound a bit cold, even sociopathic, to people high in agreeableness, but that really isn’t the case at all.
Being strong and confident even when you’re alone just means you can be there for your close ones when they need help or support without compromising your own stability in the process.
Another good tip to identify healthy relationships is people who will hear you out when sad and won't immediately tell you how something even worse happened to them recently.
The same rule works in reverse for friends who will celebrate your victories with you and not start gloating over their own recent success.
So what's the answer? Why do we get attached to things and people? It seems like such a fundamental question with no easy answer.
But as science continues to unravel the mysteries of the human brain, we may be getting closer to an understanding of this complex emotion.
For now, all we can say is that attachment is one of the most fundamental human emotions, and it plays a key role in our survival and happiness.
It's something that we all experience in different ways, but it's always there, lurking beneath the surface.
What have your experiences with attachment taught you about yourself? Let's discuss it!