Let Go of Your Attachment to the Outcome
With finals coming up, everyone stuck in quarantine, and stress seemingly stemming from the minimalist inconveniences, people have become too attached to things out of their control. Even prior to our current global pandemic, people stressed themselves and prompted unnecessary worry by concerning themselves with matters they could not influence. From the simplest means of sending a risky text to a crush or worrying about a test score, we tend to hold emotions and anxiety towards situations that are not in our control.
For some people, a common display of this which we have either experienced or seen in a movie is attachment to a former relationship whether it be an ex-significant other or a loved one passing away. We become attached to the emotions and values that we attribute to that person and lock it in that perspective. For some, having that one lover that we cannot seem to let go of is about maintaining that status of relationship with the individual or for others, we feel that we will lose some sort of security once that relationship is gone. Regardless of what it is, we attribute attachment to things because there is some sort of payoff for doing so.
Although it may be foreign to presume that we stay for some benefit, it is the intensity of the meanings that we attribute to our attachments that make it so hard to let go, but ultimately letting go is merely a choice. The choice may have some resistance because of the narrative we associate with the situation but once we are aware of the reality that we are creating, we can interpret it into a better perspective. We break up and we feel bad that we lose the identity we had when we were with that person or we seek validation for the decision we make. The most important thing to do is to re-frame the situation and take the experiences you have lived through to apply it forward in your life towards your current relationships and future ones. Once you have removed the purpose that serves the attachment and adjusted it to suit you, letting go is nothing more than a choice.
Letting go does not devalue the experiences you have had but rather allows it to be a more constructive means for you to continue forward. We maintain spontaneous intrusive thoughts about our characters and sanity but that does not mean anything, rather it is meaningless, irrelevant. Nothing more than nothing. One of the most common attachments we do from day to day is associate our thoughts with who we are and this can make our attachments all the more overbearing. Some people may never hear this in their lives but we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts are random spontaneous moments that emerge during specific instances; they are merely a fabrication of our present emotions and our past experiences.
Take a situation where you are waving to a friend across the street but they don’t see you, your initial thoughts towards the situation may vary depending on how you are feeling. If you just got out of a scolding from a parent you may be anxious and think, “Oh what have I done now to upset them.” If you had good news and wanted to share it with them, you may not be as bummed and think, “Well I would have loved to share my new promotion but it’s okay because look at that pay raise!” We have a tendency to not be aware that we associate and define reality with merely a fragment situation, solely by our emotions even though our emotions are not concrete. Awareness that our thoughts are anything but definitive and not the situation is key. Our thoughts emerge from our consciousness and allow us to perceive the world around us. Sometimes we have to dismiss it again and again to recognize it as merely a thought. For example, you fail one math test and you progressively get better but all you think is “I’m terrible at math,” “I’m not smart enough,” or “I’ll never be good enough,” rather than recognize you are progressively getting better.
It is essential to evaluate our thoughts from an objective person, almost as someone looking at your thoughts because you are the observer of your own thoughts. Carl Sagan once said, “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” So you beautiful piece of stardust or space jazz, don’t let a single thought ruin your day or keep you locked down from progressing in life. Remove yourself from your attachments and be the observer of your own thoughts. Although it may take time and for some, even a whole lifetime to do this once, let alone naturally, the first step is simply being aware; our thoughts are not a necessity to our identity but rather a part of the complexity of who we chose to be.