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We’ve all heard it stated, and probably seen it plastered in a multitude of social media outlets:
“If you love something (or, as well, someone), set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” ~ Unknown
As well, noted in countless works of a religious and spiritual nature, we're taught:
“The root of all suffering is attachment.”
Unfortunately, most of us either disregard these bits of wisdom, or we outright ignore the logic within them, over the pursuit of an emotional foray, through the guise of what we imagine love should be.
Many of us, miserably so, have a significantly distorted point of view of the concept of love.
We mistake the thoughts associated with attachment and suffering as love yet, in truth, treating something/one as a possession isn't love; suffering because of our misunderstanding of the concept of love IS NOT love.
Love isn't a process of thought; the minute we begin attempting to figure out "love" we diminish it with the thoughts we subject it to. Honest and genuine love is pure unadulterated emotion. LOVE doesn't do pros/cons; it's simply giving freely without expectations.
Expectations, in whatever form, are processes of thought, projecting our own personal wants and needs upon something/one else—in essence, expectations are attachment (not love). It’s been said, "Expectations are premeditated resentment"; while this is essentially true, we tend to disregard the proverbial middle man (of attachment).
It could be suggested:
Expectations are premeditated... attachment leading to the ultimate result of... resentment.
Fact is, if we ever actually went on about our business and lived our lives without something/one (before and/or after the event) then we're able to, hopefully, recognize by experience that attachment is something we CAN live without; we’ve proven as much to ourselves (despite a probable lack of acknowledgment) with our own actions, within the moment we detach.
However, in contrast, once we've convinced ourselves of the lie within the mind that we "can't live without" any given something/one, and allowed ourselves the suffering root of attachment (for whatever reason this occurs) it's awfully painful to detach from the tragic "object of our (so-called) affection"; itself being a misnomer in context as affection is an action of love.
The Object of Our Attachment/Resentment
To honestly set something/one free we must release OUR OWN attachment first. The actual action we set free when we release our suffocating grip (of raptor talons which we tend to dig in with so deeply) IS the attachment and resentments we cling to within the belief they are, somehow, merit badges of our love.
We don't actually set the object of our attachment free at all.
So many of us mistakenly think we have this power or ability to catch and release our said object of attraction when the reality is other people have free will to make their own choices.
Attachment is actually our burden.
When we allow ourselves to set something/one free, the release we feel is actually our own release from suffering; in response to the attachment and not actually the other way around.
It is a very personal act of self-love to set ourselves free of the suffering of attachment.
To truly love another is to be available for them to practice their own free will, to authentically BE who they are rather than whatever we've attached to them w/ our own very personal suffering.
All this said...
Sometimes we must also release our attachment (again stating attachment isn't love) from the attachment others project upon us; detaching from their continued attachment. As an act of self-love we need to release our own suffering, and as well to potentially relieve some of the suffering others may continue to harbor based on their attachment to us.
Yes, it seems a bit paradoxical...
Release ourselves from the attachment others project upon us by releasing the attachment we project upon them.
Releasing our attachment (and the subsequent resentments we develop) of others isn't simply an act of self-love; it IS an act of genuine love and giving to the people we are, or were, attached to in the first place.
Our release, by the very paradox mentioned herein, IS their release too.
If you love yourself, set YOURSELF free of the attachments/resentments you mistakenly hold so dear. Release the talons.
Release yourself from suffering!