Attachment for me comes down to two things – People & Stuff.
Over time I have released pretty much most of my attachment to ‘things’. While my partner loves new, shiny things and the latest technology going, nowadays I would rather spend my money of making memories than buying the latest of this or that.
When I was younger I would place so much value on inanimate objects. I would become distraught if something happened to them. I remember I misplaced my St Christopher when I was at school, oh my goodness, you would have thought the world had ended.
My obsessive tendencies reinforced my attachment issues. It was painful and exhausting.
Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). Attachment does not have to be reciprocal.
Whether reciprocated, or not, my attachment to people in my teens and twenties was totally out of control. As with a lot of my illness I mostly internalized these issues however, occasionally I am in no doubt my behavior was not acceptable, in any shape or form. Cringe.
Even creeping into my thirties, up until my diagnosis, I struggled letting go of my attachment to relationships. My heartbreak was excessive and unnecessary yet those feeling were real and painful to me.
Releasing attachment takes time, patience and an awful lot of work. It has taken me years not to place value on objects. As soon as I started reading more into Buddhism I immediately accepted I could never give up all attachment, however slowly and steadily my obsessive and extreme attachments became less and less.
Letting go of attachment for me involved being grateful for what I have, but knowing it may disappear at any moment.
I look around my home and at everything I own and love, and I remind myself that what I really want is inner peace. It is the love and laughter that keep it happy home, not the TV or pretty dresses.
Attachments are draining and hard work. While the latest in technology or a beautiful necklace bring pleasure, are they really what brings true happiness?
So, what’s the answer?
Have you tried Mindfulness ~ a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Use your breath, meditate.
Write it down, release you thoughts and feelings onto the page and journal it out.
Acceptance is often tough but very worthwhile. Things are what they are, unfortunately, even if they are not what you want.
Shift your focus. Be grateful for everything that you do have. And smile.
What attachments do you want to release?