Originally posted in 2016, I felt this message bears repeating.
Love and attachment are not the same. Attachment means that we figuratively grasp onto an object and claim it as our own. Strong emotions come into play with attachment: desire to obtain the object, pleasure at having it, fear of losing it, and anger and sadness when we do lose it. The focus of attachment is on what I want. When the object of attachment happens to be a person, that person is treated as an object - his or her feelings are not important; rather all that is important is possessing him or her.
Loving someone is completely different. Loving means giving. The lover lets go of his own desires to control and own the beloved and instead acts to benefit the beloved and to help that person be healthy and happy. The beloved is appreciated rather than imprisoned.
Here are examples of the difference between attachment and love:
(1) A butterfly lands in a person's hand who becomes attached to the butterfly. That person closes his hand to keep the butterfly, but kills it in so doing. Then he puts the dead butterfly under plastic so he can see it whenever he wants.
(2) A butterfly lands in a person's hand who loves the butterfly. That person leaves his hand open and watches the butterfly. He thrills when the butterfly stays. When the butterfly flaps its iridescent wings and lifts off his hand, he allows the butterfly its freedom, grateful for the moments they shared. He plants more nectar producing flowers to be available for the butterfly and enjoys watching to see if the butterfly comes again.
Attachment leads to misery. Love leads to joy. We have the choice of which to practice.