4 Ways to Practice Letting Go of Attachments

4 Ways to Practice Letting Go of Attachments

“Dare to live by letting go.” — Tom Althouse

Many of us are attached to people, places, objects, habits, and beliefs that we don’t consciously know we’re so attached to. But it only takes a single thought or vision of the future to trigger a fearful sense of longing to remain forever attached to something.

Sometimes, our attachments get so intense that we actually become aware of the fact that they’re holding us back in some way. To detach from our attachments, we need to open ourselves up to the nature of change and uncertainty.

Detaching from something or someone is easier said than done, and there’s absolutely no guarantee that it will be a fast and painless endeavour. But if your intuition is telling you it’s time to grow past it, then letting go will be worth it.

Look Toward Nature

Nature itself is the purest example of the reality of impermanence, so it can be helpful to simply go out and walk among the trees to notice how everything in the natural world is constantly changing. No two visits to the same outdoor space will be the same if you take notice of the little details. Everything from the winds and waters, to the leaves and wildlife is in constant flux. The nature of change and a need or detachment can be made even more obvious by making a habit out of noticing the seasonal changes that take place in nature over a longer period of time.

Reflect on Past Personal Changes

No doubt you’ve already experienced lots of big and small changes in your past where you've had to let go of attachments, whether you were conscious of it happening or not. It can be really helpful to think about some of those past changes in order to become more accepting of detachment in the present. Changes like old family homes you moved away from, pets you said goodbye to, or breakups you went through may have been extremely difficult to detach from back then, but you’re probably okay right now without them. Realizing this can make it easier to accept that detachment is part of life, and that you will always be okay.

Flip Your “Loss Pain” Mindset

Motivational speaker Brendon Burchard says that one of the big reasons why so many people have such a hard time dealing with change is because we suffer from “loss pain” by focusing too much on what we have to give up to make change happen. But what if we focused on what we’re about to gain instead? This doesn’t mean that you have to deny that you’ll be losing something — it just means shifting your focus to what’s more desirable or positive. By detaching from something that’s holding you back, you’ll be free to move toward what you really want, even if you’re not sure what that is just yet.

Be Grateful for the Joy You Received

Whatever you’re attached to certainly brought you joy at some point in the past. It’s important to reflect upon those past joyful experiences so you can appreciate the value you got from that person, place, or thing. It also helps you become more aware of the fact that although you want to hold onto it, you’re probably not getting as much joy out of it in the present (or you won’t in the future), which will make it far easier to detach from. Over time, it’s only natural for us to outgrow the things that we once held dearest to our hearts.

Be gentle with yourself when you’re trying to detach from something or someone. Even though it’s fine to remind yourself that everything will be fine eventually, make sure you don’t suppress any emotions you experience along the way as you patiently work toward freeing yourself from attachment.