Detachment: What it is & How to achieve it

Detachment: What it is & How to achieve it
Photo by Laura Chouette / Unsplash

There’s a lot of talk about detachment, but what does it mean and how do you become detached?

In order to understand detachment, we should first talk about attachment. Put simply, being attached means you’ve developed an emotional connection to someone or something.

Attachment isn’t inherently bad; there are varying degrees of attachment. Some attachments are healthy and can be beneficial to your well-being. Others are noxious and will keep you stuck in a cycle of suffering.

At the root of anxious attachment are insecurity and the deep underlying belief that you’re not worthy of human connection. This fosters beliefs about being easily abandoned.

Having an anxious-attachment style means more often than not you attach to people frequently and prematurely. It also means that you’re more likely to become attached to people who are incapable of giving you the emotional connection that you need. This creates one-sided relationships.

How do you know if an attachment is unhealthy? An attachment becomes unhealthy when it’s built on anything other than a genuine connection. This includes fantasy, self-abandonment, or desperation. Healthy attachment helps you to connect with people on a deeper level, enables vulnerability, and creates emotional commitment.

Regarding fantasy, people with an anxious-attachment style are prone to dating in a constant state of fantasy. On more occasions than I care to remember, I’ve had mildly flirtatious conversations with a man and then jumped right to thinking, this could be my husband. I know you know exactly what I mean.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, I’d invent a step-by-step plan of how our love story will play out right down to how I’d be telling our “it happened when we least expected it” love story to people, after we’d been married. This is all before they’ve even asked me for my number or expressed any real romantic interest in me. Whew, thank God for growth.

Don’t get me wrong, fantasising isn’t always a bad thing or something that you should feel bad about doing. But it’s one thing to imagine a future once you’ve learned about a person, progressively developed feelings for that person, and know that you’re compatible with each other. It’s something entirely different to construct elaborate fantasies about someone you just met or barely know. This type of fantasising keeps you attached to things that don’t exist.

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