Attachment – the enemy of happiness

​Because of the nature of the human mind, we can easily move between past, present and future. Unfortunately, we spend far too much time in the past and future. Mulling over past events offers little value. You may feel guilty about something you said or done or, you may be angry about something which was said or done to you.  Either way, you are getting yourself worked up about something which you can never change. The reason you wallow in the past is that not only were you attached to something, but you are still attached to it. Whatever the attachment is, it is anchoring you in the past and stopping your from being truly happy in the present.

Alternatively, you may be thinking too much about the future. You may be fearful or anxious about something which may go wrong or which you might lose. Again, the problem is attachment. You think your happiness is dependent on the person or item you fear losing. In your state of attachment, you desperately try to cling on to it. This sense of fear influences how you feel in the present. So, you end up ruining your present happiness over something which might never happen and, even it does happen; you will be perfectly capable of dealing with it.

All emotions are experienced. Experiences can only take place in the present moment. So, you can only be happy in the present. Thoughts of past and future are really only distracting you from the life you are living right now. Lose the attachments and be happy now.

Attachment will always have a negative impact on your happiness. You can get away with some attachment in your life but if you are attached to too many things or people, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. Because you cannot control everyone or everything in your life. Believing that you can is in itself an attachment. When you lose the attachments, you experience real happiness because you manage yourself while experiencing the world as it really is; with no attempt on your part to control it.

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​What is attachment?

What is attachment?
Because of the nature of the human mind, we can easily move between past, present and future. Unfortunately, we spend far too much time in the past and future. Mulling over past events offers little value. You may feel guilty about something you said or done or, you may be angry about something which was said or done to you.  Either way, you are getting yourself worked up about something which you can never change. The reason you wallow in the past is that not only were you attached to something, but you are still attached to it. Whatever the attachment is, it is anchoring you in the past and stopping your from being truly happy in the present.
Alternatively, you may be thinking too much about the future. You may be fearful or anxious about something which may go wrong or which you might lose. Again, the problem is attachment. You think your happiness is dependent on the person or item you fear losing. In your state of attachment, you desperately try to cling on to it. This sense of fear influences how you feel in the present. So, you end up ruining your present happiness over something which might never happen and, even it does happen; you will be perfectly capable of dealing with it.
All emotions are experienced. Experiences can only take place in the present moment. So, you can only be happy in the present. Thoughts of past and future are really only distracting you from the life you are living right now. Lose the attachments and be happy now.
Attachment will always have a negative impact on your happiness. You can get away with some attachment in your life but if you are attached to too many things or people, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. Because you cannot control everyone or everything in your life. Believing that you can is in itself an attachment. When you lose the attachments, you experience real happiness because you manage yourself while experiencing the world as it really is; with no attempt on your part to control it.
attachment-what-is-attachment

​Attachment occurs when you firmly believe that you cannot be happy without someone or something in your life. The person or thing you are attached to could be anyone or anything e.g.

Attachment occurs when you firmly believe that you cannot be happy without someone or something in your life. The person or thing you are attached to could be anyone or anything e.g.
  • ​A spouse
  • ​A friend
  • Money
  • Status
  • ​What people think of you i.e. your reputation
  • ​A possession

​There really is no limit to the possible attachments you could have in your life. All that is important is that you believe your happiness is dependent on that person or thing being in your life. Attachment prevents you from being happy because you are anxious or fearful about the possibility of losing that which you are attached to. Think honestly about how you would react in each of the following situations:

  • ​You lose your smart phone
  • ​You lose a large sum of money
  • ​Your spouse or partner leaves you
  • You fail an exam
  • Somebody close to you insults you or belittles you
There really is no limit to the possible attachments you could have in your life. All that is important is that you believe your happiness is dependent on that person or thing being in your life. Attachment prevents you from being happy because you are anxious or fearful about the possibility of losing that which you are attached to. Think honestly about how you would react in each of the following situations:

​These types of situation happen every day and most of us overreact to them. We lose the run of ourselves as if it is the end of world but there is no reason to be like that. Losing your attachment doesn’t mean that should be happy in each of these moments. You may feel some sadness, anger etc. but you let it flow and you let it go. You understand that your happiness is still within your control.

Worst of all, attachment can stop you from living in the present moment. Many of your thoughts, words and behaviours are driven by the fear of losing them e.g. you constantly try to impress others; you become obsessive about security; you say Yes to others when you really want to put yourself first. Your present is destroyed by the fear of a future which may never arrive.

These types of situation happen every day and most of us overreact to them. We lose the run or ourselves as if it is the end of world but there is no reason to be like that. Losing your attachment doesn’t mean that should be happy in each of these moments. You may feel some sadness, anger etc. but you let it flow and you let it go. You understand that your happiness is still within your control.
Worst of all, attachment can stop you from living in the present moment. Many of your thoughts, words and behaviours are driven by the fear of losing them e.g. you constantly try to impress others; you become obsessive about security; you say Yes to others when you really want to put yourself first. Your present is destroyed by the fear of a future which many never arrive.

Key Point

When you lose your attachements, it does not mean that you will be ecstatic when things go wrong. You may still feel some sadness but you process it and when you move on; you let it go. You don't keep mulling over past events.

​Understanding the source of your happiness

attachment-understanding-the-source-of-your-happiness
Understanding the source of your happiness

​When you avoid being attached, you realise that the only place to find your happiness is within yourself.

As Anthony De Mello said:

‘As well search for an eagle’s nest on the bed of an ocean, as search for happiness in the world outside of you.’...

​Anthony De Mello

‘As well to search for an eagle’s nest on the bed of the ocean as to search for happiness in the world outside.’

​You are not going to find an eagle’s nest on the bed of the ocean. It would be completely unnatural. I am sure you understand that. But do you realise that searching for happiness in any item or person other than yourself is just as unnatural?

When you are attached to someone or something, that is exactly what you are doing. You are putting your happiness in their hands. For example, if you are attached to your spouse; your happiness is dependent on them staying with you. If they were to leave, you would be devastated.

Not only that but if you are attached to them, you are attached to your image of them. You have clear expectations for who you wish them to be.  Any time that they don’t live up to those expectations, you are going to be unhappy and upset. Just because they chose to do or say what they thought was right. That isn’t the path to happiness and sure as hell isn’t love either.

You are not going to find an eagle’s nest on the bed of the ocean. It would be completely unnatural. I am sure you understand that. But do you realise that searching for happiness in any item or person other than yourself is just as unnatural?
When you are attached to someone or something, that is exactly what you are doing. You are putting your happiness in their hands. For example, if you are attached to your spouse; your happiness is dependent on them staying with you. If they were to leave, you would be devastated. Not only that but if you are attached to them, you are attached to your image of them. You have clear expectations for who you wish them to be.  Any time that they don’t live up to those expectations, you are going to be unhappy and upset. Just because they chose to do or say what they thought was right. That isn’t the path to happiness and sure as hell isn’t love either.
When you avoid begin attached, you realise that the only place to find your happiness is within yourself. As Anthony De Mello said:

Key Point

​When you let go of your attachement, you have no expectations for how other people or the world should be. You take them as they are. Only then can you truly love anyone or anything.

​​Should I stop loving my spouse?

So, should I stop loving my spouse?
attachment-truly-loving-somebody

​Not at all. But if you are attached to your spouse, you should stop being attached to them so that you can start loving them. Because love and attachment are opposites. Attachment is driven by fear. The fear of losing someone or something. Love for your spouse occurs when you accept them for who they are.

For example, you accept that:

Not at all. But if you are attached to your spouse, you should stop being attached to them so that you can start loving them. Because love and attachment are opposites. Attachment is driven by fear. The fear of losing someone or something. Love for your spouse occurs when you accept them for who they are.
For example, you accept that:
  • ​They can think their own thoughts
  • ​They can have their own beliefs
  • They can act in any manner whcih seems appropriate to them
  • ​They are free to live their life as they wish without any interference from you

​When you can accept all of that and you ​still love them, you are choosing to love them. That is when you will be truly happy in a relationship.Think about it for a moment. If you accept that your spouse is free to do whatever they feel is right; what could they possible do to upset you? In fact, if you are upset with your spouse's behaviour; it is not their behaviour which has upset you; it is your expectations for how they should behave i.e. an attachment.

Of course, you can accept another person's right to be behave as they see fit without accepting the behaviour. You can do so by informing them that you are not prepared to accept that treatment and making them aware of you feel when they behave that way. It is then up to them if they want to change their behaviour or not.

And if the day should come where their happiness,or yours, requires ​you to go your seperate ways; you can accept that. ​And, you can be grateful for the good times you shared as you know that while they leave with your love, your happiness is safely in your own possession.

Key Point

​Relinquishing your attachment to your spouse/loved one eliminates your fear of losing them. Instead, you live in the present moment and enjoy your time together, however long it may last. This helps cultivate a mindset where you can be grateful for what you have rather than fearful for what might lose.

​Negative to Positive

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When you can accept all of that and you are still love them, you are choosing to love them. That is when you will be truly happy in a relationship.
And if the day should come where their happiness requires them to leave you; you can accept that. Instead, you can be grateful for the good times you shared as you know that while they leave with your love, your happiness is safely in your own possession.

​What about possessions?

attachment-loving-your-possessions
What about possessions?

​Think about your phone for a minute. How many times have you upgraded your phone over the years?  In the 20 years since I purchased my first phone, I have had more than 20 phones, on numerous phone networks, in 5 different countries. When I buy a new phone, I don’t know how long I will have it but I do know that the day will come where that phone is no longer mine. So, regardless of how fancy the phone might be; why would I place my happiness in a possession which will be leaving my life at some stage anyway?

Whatever your possession may be, understand that it is just a temporary presence in your life.

Eventually, its time will be up and you will both move on e.g.:

Think about your phone for a minute. How many times have you upgraded your phone over the years.  In the 20 years since I purchases my first phone, I have had more than 20 phones, on numerous phone networks, in 5 different countries. When I buy a new phone, I don’t know how long I will have it but I do know that the day will come where that phone is no longer mine. So, regardless of how fancy the phone might be; why would I place my happiness in a possession which will be leaving my life at some stage anyway?
Whatever your possession may be, understand that it is just a temporary presence in your life. Eventually, its time will be up and you will both move on e.g.:
  • ​You lose it
  • ​It is stolen
  • ​It is broken
  • ​A better model arrives on the market
  • ​You lose interest in it

Imagine if your phone was stolen and rather than get too upset, you just accepted that you were going to have to upgrade it within the next year or so anyway..So, while it is a little annoying and a bit of an incovenience, all that has really happened is that you have had to replace your phone a little earlier than expected.

It's just not worth stressing about.

​So, rather than become attached to any item, enjoy it. Love it and be grateful for the things it allows you to do but understand that as with many of the people in your life, you will go your separate ways eventually.

So, rather than become attached to any item, enjoy it. Love it and be grateful for the things it allows you to do but understand that as with many of the people in your life, you will go your separate ways eventually.

​Shedding your attachments requires a little confidence and giving yourself permission to be true to who you really are. Unbreakable Self Confidence can help you get started.

​Conclusion

​Attachment is the enemy of happiness. When you are attached to somebody or something, you are under the belief that your happiness is dependent on them being in your life. You believe that were they to leave your life; your ability to be happy would be seriously destroyed. But that means that you're placing your happiness outside of your control. Your happiness should never be outside your control. You can love people and you can love items. There is nothing wrong with that. But when you are anxious or afraid of losing them, you can’t be happy. You simply cannot experience fear and happiness simultaneously. Whether it is a person or an item, when you release the attachment you get to enjoy the time you spend together without the fear of loss. That’s real happiness.

Attachment is the enemy of happiness. When you are attached to somebody or something, you are under the belief that your happiness is dependent on them being in your life. You believe that were they to leave your life; your ability to be happy would be seriously destroyed. But that means that your placing your happiness outside of your control. Your happiness should never be outside your control. You can love people and you can love items. There is nothing wrong with that. But when you are anxious or afraid of losing them, you can’t be happy. You simply cannot experience fear and happiness simultaneously. Whether it is a person or an item, when you realise the attachment you get to enjoy the time you spend together without the fear of loss. That’s real happiness.

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