It’s not a bad word — detachment — rather, it is the last of many transformative steps that one takes to find happiness in this physical world. Detachment doesn’t mean that you don’t care about others or about doing the right thing; rather, it simply means that you don’t attach your happiness to what people think of you or to the outcomes in a world that you can never control.
Detachment is synonymous with acceptance. It means that whatever the situation, you accept it as it is. Detachment is knowing who you are and what you want but not being attached to the outcomes. Detachment is the ultimate grounding in self and the ability to accept your circumstances without criticism or judgement.
I had a recent experience where an acquaintance told me how disappointed he was in something I’d said — or, in this case, hadn’t said. Although my ego wanted to go into insult recovery mode, I took a deep breath and remembered that who I am is not attached to what this person thinks of me. Once I detached myself from his disappointment (and only he can control his feelings, not me) then I found the whole situation humorous. I was able to smile over it and then my smile turned into a belly laugh. I wasn’t laughing at him or his feelings of disappointment; rather, I was laughing because my detachment from his judgement was so freeing!
Disappointment is almost always anchored in the attachment we place in another’s words or actions and the truth is that sometimes we need to disappoint others. This attachment to what is outside of oneself offers a great opportunity for reflection and learning.
The next time you feel disappointed, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I so attached to this situation?
- How does the outcome really impact me? My health? My wellbeing? My future?
- What would change if I allowed myself to detach from the outcome?
When you allow yourself to detach from the outcomes and accept the situation as it is, then you can more easily refocus on what is important to you. If it’s personal happiness, then know that you are perfect as you are, regardless of what’s going on around you.