It’s not always easy for me to let go. I’ve held onto toxic friendships, relationships, heck it took me forever to get rid of a sweater I haven’t worn in years simply because it had sentimental value, scratch that it’s still in my closet, but I’m going to get rid of it soon…maybe. Don’t get me wrong, I am not some kind of crazy hoarder that holds on to things and sometimes people, in fact I can count my close friends on two hands, can neatly house all of my clothes in my closet and if there was a fire and I had to get out quickly I’d truthfully probably just grab my cellphone and laptop. While non-attachment is something I am growing into it’s not as hard as you may believe, here are a few ways to actively practice non-attachment.
1.Realizing that nothing and no one belongs to you
No one. Not your husband or wife, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your best friend, your cat, your car, your house, nothing. As obvious as it may sound, we can’t possess people. Your significant other can wake up one morning and decide they no longer want to be with you. Your closest friend can find another friend who they vibe better with. Your car can get totaled, your house can burn down, your cat can run away, someone you thought would be around forever can die unexpectedly. As morbid and depressing as this all sounds, it happens everyday. When we become attached, too attached to things we sometimes forget that those things don’t belong to us, not fully anyway. While it’s nice to be able to say, my husband, my wife, my car, my house, my friend, my cat, those are just terms that we put on things and people as a way to assert some sort of ownership on things that aren’t really ours. Your significant other is a person that existed before you and if God forbid things don’t work out, will exist after you. Your car belongs to the bank and even when you pay it off completely it can break down in an instance, your pet is just an animal you took home one day and named Tyrone, expecting it to respond. We put these titles on things in hopes that now they truly will belong to us but even then “my” is just a word that make us feel more comfortable about our positions. When we realize that these things and people aren’t really ours to begin with, we are able to make peace with the fact that they may not be around forever and hopefully allow ourselves to simply experience them instead of attempt to possess them.
2. Letting it go
“It” can be a two year or twenty-year relationship that has been holding on by a thread, a toxic friendship, a relationship with a close family member that is unrepairable, a sweater that you never wear, it can be anything really, but you know what it is for you. It’s that thing that keeps you up at night, that gives you the worst anxiety, that thing that has you acting outside of your character and constantly makes you feel like your life is falling apart. My first question for you would be, if it hurts so bad, why are you still holding on to it? Why are you constantly reaching out to someone who clearly doesn’t want you to be a part of their life? Why are you emotionally tormenting yourself by expecting someone to treat you how you treat them and constantly being disappointed? Why are you allowing yourself to be the only one trying in a relationship that takes two people? Why have you still not thrown out that damn sweater and where is your cat Tyrone? These are all questions that only you can answer but seriously, why are you holding on to these things that so desperately are asking you to let go? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you terrified of being embarrassed due to your relationship not panning out how you envisioned? If it’s other people you are worried about, forget them. They have their own set of problems are certainly not perfect and if you haven’t already heard this, you cannot live your life for other people. You have to let go of things that are no longer serving you to make room for even better things.
3. Accepting your new normal
The key to non-attachment is not quickly replacing old things with new things, it’s not being attached to anything at all. Once you rid your life of all of those things that were only bringing you down, you have to accept that they are gone. Feel whatever emotions you need to feel. Don’t avoid your reality with happy hours and Netflix binges. Accept that they are gone. Understand why you needed to get rid of them and become adjusted to no longer having them. Let’s say you did not need to get rid of anything you just need to learn to loosen your grip on things in general. That’s ok too. Letting go doesn’t always mean physically letting go sometimes it’s letting go of the idea that you have to keep certain people or things in your life. Letting go the idea that you’re not amazing on your own, or letting go any thoughts of doubt when it comes to trusting that you will be ok without these things or people. The only real way to practice non-attachment is to accept that as much as these people or things may mean to you, you will be ok without them, you will be whole without them, you will keep living without them.
Unfortunately or maybe oddly fortunately, all of my pets either died, ran away or my mom let loose and I had to watch walk past me in the rain because I apparently wasn’t responsible enough for a guinea pig or whatever – when I was pretty young so I never really became too attached to a pet or was able to learn pretty early that yea, things die, sometimes the very day you get them, cue the bird I bought for my dad’s birthday. I’ve had to watch grandmothers, my father-in-law and friends pass away much sooner than I was prepared for if there ever is such a time, which taught me many valuable lessons. Give people their roses while they are here, enjoy your relationships while you can, wear the hell out of that sweater before it’s time to drop it off at goodwill and ride that car til’ the wheels fall off. Just enjoy the experiences, make the memories and when it’s time to let go or say goodbye, while it may not be easy, you will know that the world keeps turning and most important, your life will go on with or without the people, the things, the old sweaters and Tyrone the cat.
Love & light