We Cannot Own People

Here’s why I try not to get attached (no, no one hurt me):

First, attachment is rooted in sentiment, and sentiment can mess with one’s head, cloud judgment and lead to illogical decisions.

Second and more relevant here, attachment makes us think we have rights to people, so we claim ownership, consciously or subconsciously. This false sense that people are property is our justification for being upset when they don’t respond the way we want them to.

But we cannot own people, no matter how available they are to us or how much we love them.

We should only take what we are given. Anything else is entitlement or greed, insensitivity or a modern spin on slavery. Anything else makes us subhuman, casually descending to the shameful low we have probably sworn to always rise above.

So maybe you’re at “I love you” but here are some other facts:

It’s okay that people are not available all the time.

They will not always pick up your calls and you should be able to live with that. In some circles, this is proof that you’re a grown-up.

The ‘instant’ in instant messaging is subjective. Don’t pause your life for a text, don’t obsess.

You should not be the centre of their life and they should not be the centre of yours. That’s too much responsibility to place on anyone.

You are one of their joys, not the only one. Possessiveness is not cute.

Other people will make them smile. You should want that.

Do these things limit the strength of what we call affection? Not even close.