How to Let Go of Attachment

November 1, 2021
Shanna Windle

From almost the moment of birth, we start creating attachment bonds to the people closest to us. Instinctively, we know this is what will keep us alive for the next several years of our young lives. This is one of the very first realizations we have as humans and it’s an intensely powerful one. We also learn at a fairly young age that planning for our futures can help insulate us from the many of the misfortunes and difficult variables that life likes to throw at us. We start thinking about what we will need to succeed and what we want our outcomes to be. We stop living in the present moment and preoccupy ourselves with thoughts of what’s to come. We tell ourselves where we will be, and who we will be with, in our imagined future. We become extremely attached to these ideas, people and outcomes. We steadily convince ourselves that these things are absolutely necessary for our lives to work and they are our only paths to happiness, success and fulfillment. When we unknowingly choose to live in this imagined future or self-imposed construct, we are creating a gateway for pain and suffering to enter our lives whenever any of those things change.

One of the hardest things to deal with for many of us after a relationship ends with a romantic partner, is reconciling our two futures. One, is your old future (that you had grown incredibly attached to), where that partner played a huge and incredibly important role in your life. And then, there’s your new future where that person no longer plays a role at all and everything has to change. These two scenarios couldn’t be more different! That sudden massive change can send your brain into some rough territory emotionally. Letting go of that attachment can be extremely difficult for many of us. Attachment to people can be one of the hardest attachments to heal from, because as I mentioned before, it’s one of the very first things we learn.

Letting go, whether it is a person, circumstance, habit, etc., is a one of the bravest acts of surrender you can experience.  And let me remind you, it isn’t a one-time decision.  It involves an everyday commitment to letting go.  Need some tried and true strategies on how to let go of attachments and allow the good things to flow to you?  Read on for ideas!

HOW TO LET GO OF ATTACHMENT

Releasing attachments isn’t the easiest thing to do sometimes, but it can be done healthily.  Not being attached to people or things doesn’t mean turning yourself into an emotionless robot. In fact, it can be just the opposite. You can love and honor everything that has meaning to you, but also accept that it is not within your control to have that thing exactly the way you want it, forever. The nature of our universe is to change. Sometimes the changes are subtle and sometimes they are huge, but either way, they are inevitable. Allowing yourself to stay open to the possibilities of life will help you go through more turbulent times.  Below are further ways to practice letting go of attachments in your everyday lif

Accepting the Present Moment As-Is

Boy this is tremendously hard at times because our human brains want to protect us and keep us safe, which many times means looking to far into the future or lamenting the past.  This is why meditation is such a powerful practice, it helps you practice present moment awareness so that our minds stop racing (more on how to start a meditation practice in this blog post).  The more we can stay “in the moment” the less pain we feel at the hands of attachment to something outside of ourselves.

Understand Why you are Attached

Understanding why you are attached to something is helpful in the process of releasing it.  When we can understand the thoughts and feelings that are associated with our attachment to some person, place, or circumstance, we can start to release the attachment by realizing that the attachment itself was formed based on these very thoughts and feelings.  But thoughts and feelings are within our control, and when we start to change the narrative around the need for these certain things in our life, we can shift away from the necessity of them.

Shift your Focus to Self-Care

Having unhealthy attachments are a recipe for self-loathing and despair, so in order to start to release these attachments in the healthies way possible, we need to shift our focus to self-care.  When we take the energy and attention that we have essentially given away to something outside of ourselves and redirect that energy and attention on our own self-care, we become the apple of our own eye.  This helps us to grow and blossom in ways we never thought possible.

Embrace Hopeful Thoughts

There is certainly something to be said about embracing positivity when and where we can.  As we let go of things that were once deeply embedded in us, it is important to create a vision for ourselves that is healthier, and that we can work towards every day.  Having hopeful thoughts about our ability to release an attachment or what life will look like after the attachment is released is like giving ourselves our own personal cheerleader.  And who doesn’t need a lil’ ra-ra-shishboombaaa in their internal world?!

Develop a Gratitude Practice and Attitude

Gratitude has a way of shifting our vibration from one of a lower frequency to one of a higher frequency in a matter of seconds.  If you don’t do it daily, put a gratitude practice into place that you can use from time to time when you’re feeling low.  That might be taking a few minutes to write out all the things your grateful for in that moment, writing someone a thank you note that has done something for you (big or small!), pray to your higher power, etc.  Anything that puts you in a state of gratitude will help you shift away naturally from any negative attachments.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but I assure you letting go of attachments that you know are not good for you deep down, will make you feel good for many years to come.  This list of ideas is certainly not an exhaustive one, but my hope is these ideas give you enough of a launching off point to help with your release process.  And as the saying goes, “let go and grow.”  

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