Daily Living · Relationship

My Reverse Attachment Disorder

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Some people can’t get attached to anyone.

I, on the other hand, get far too attached to people, places, things, experiences. I let them take up too much residence in my heart so that it aches painfully when I have to say goodbye.

Life transitions have always been hard for me because I’ve attached so much significance to the previous phase of life or job or group of people. I connect memories to mugs, to songs, to pictures, to movies – so that it’s not necessarily those things in and of themselves that I love, but rather what and who they symbolize – the people I was with at the time, the experiences we were having, the person I was at the time.

But – I realized – it’s not just anyone or any place to which I get attached too easily. It’s only those I feel a connection with … those who share something meaningful with me … those who light the kindred spirit spark within me. Sometimes I know instantly – like my sweet little Cozy Cottage – and other times, it takes a bit of time to get to know someone before trusting them enough to get attached to them.

But then once I’m attached to the thing, person, or experience, it seems to become permanent – something that will last all my life, even if it’s just a memory.

Why is this, I wonder? When other people seem to come and go with relative ease, not seeming to be devastated by change, moves, or the passage of time.

Well, research does show that some people feel things more deeply than others, and I suppose I’m one of those lucky ones – the one that might cry too many tears or mourn the loss for a little too long. The one that connects to others deeply without even realizing it – or even willing it sometimes. The one who gets scared by how much she’s able to care, because she doesn’t want to care too much for the wrong people.

Sometimes it feels like a curse when you notice everything and you have to pretend like you don’t – pretend like things don’t matter, pretend like there are no connections, pretend like you aren’t always wondering when there will come along a connection you don’t have to ignore or pretend away anymore.

But sometimes it’s not a curse. Sometimes you come across someone in your life who shares the same kind of deep attachments – and you rejoice, because you can both get attached to each other and understand how meaningful it is. These are the kinds of kindred spirit friends that you know you’ll keep for a lifetime – that no matter where you go in life, you’ll always share a bond, and you’ll always care for each other, no matter how little you might actually see each other.

These are the friends who “get it,” – who don’t judge you for loving the world so deeply – who don’t laugh at your starry-eyed ideals – and who even put up with you naming the moth who took up residence in your kitchen window (her name was Mabel, by the way).

And perhaps, in the end, it’s more of a gift, because it actually does make the world more beautiful to feel great connection, great love, and great meaning in what surrounds you. Loving the details in the woodwork of the built-in cabinets in my living room doesn’t mean I worship it or find it more valuable than people. Rather, loving these details, along with the cozy blankets draped over my couch and the red tea kettle on my stove and the mantle over my fireplace means I’m infusing the place I live with a love that others can feel when they come into my home.

And when we sit down to have a heart-to-heart chat on the couch in this warm space, hopefully they will feel how greatly I value them and their hearts. Hopefully they will feel the depth of love that I store up for those who mean so much to me in my life. And hopefully, it will be an extension of the One I value above all else – my Savior.

For He is the One who made me to be most greatly attached to Him – and when I am, then the gifts around me become magnified with His beauty – and there is greater reason to be thankful for them. Not attached in a way that’s creepy or that puts them of greater significance than Him. But attached in a way that reminds me of my Savior’s great love for me. He gives the most meaning to everything in this life – and it is such a beautiful gift to be able to experience it in great detail.

And for this, I will be grateful – that it’s truly not a disorder, but a gift to be able to feel things so deeply and attach myself to them with love. And may I live out this gift with delight, even if the rest of the world doesn’t understand.

 

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