Attachments to things that are outside of your personal realm of control can easily become toxic. If you aren’t careful, you can find yourself stuck in rotten relationships, working dead-end jobs or compulsively buying expensive things you don’t need. Oftentimes people try to fill the void created by attachment with unhealthy habits like overeating, drinking or petty gossip. Attachment, when left unregulated, breeds suffering. Learning to properly let go of these attachments and move on from them is extremely beneficial.
Shift your perspective.
In order free yourself from the binds of psychological attachment, we must come to see things from a fresh point of view. Non-attachment means recognizing our subjectivity and not relying on it too heavily.
Step back and breathe deeply.
Over-attachment leads to irrational emotions and can lead us to make rash decisions. Try to step back, retreat mentally and allow yourself to meditate on your attachments before committing to them. Clarity will result from taking a time out with your thoughts. Like Alan Watts said, “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” To let go, try giving your feelings time to settle.
Focus on the present.
Much of our attachment anxiety results from thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future. Realize your path is not a straight line and the obstacles are what keep things interesting. Focus on making the most of right now and your attachment-rooted sufferings will gradually fall out of the picture.
Spend time alone.
Whether or not your troubles with attachment are confined to the relationship department, voluntary solitude is an important part of letting go in general. Learn to show yourself love and affection. Relying on others for validation is a common attachment. The art of self-reliance will help you let go. When you stop feeling the need to impress others, many attachments fade away.
Focus on the internal.
Part of this self-reliance means realizing that most of your sufferings are entirely psychological. Focus on your internal dialogue. Is it confused, panicked and/or deeply negative? To let go of what you truly can’t get out of your head, try to address your deepest concerns internally before acting out.
It’s easy to blame one’s issues with attachment on the objects of attachment themselves. Take responsibility for your actions and own up to your mistakes. Make peace with whatever it is you find yourself having trouble moving on from and realize that if you got yourself into a negative mental state, you can most certainly get yourself out.
Find new people.
Sometimes unpleasant attachments are rooted in people who bring us down through envy or mindlessness. If you’re having trouble letting go, try to surround yourself with people who empower you and don’t hold you to their personal standards. Find those who appreciate you for who you are rather than what you provide them with.
An inability to let go relies on the constant fear of change. Try stepping outside of your comfort zone. Do that which you fear and you will conquer your fears. In trying new things, you may discover that what you were afraid of letting go was just holding you back. Learn to be comfortable with the initial discomfort that results from imposing big changes on your life. In time, your anxieties about change will fade away.