In The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie, talks about a concept called detachment. It encompasses detaching from relationships and outcomes. It is a freeing skill I highly recommend. So often we invest our energy in how things turn out in our lives and sometimes even in other people’s lives. Ultimately, we really don’t have that much control. Oh, sure we have control over our behavior, choice of words, or even whether or not we set our alarm clock. We do not have control over how people feel, how they react to us, or if the power goes out at night unbeknownst to us. Those are the outcomes, and it does not do us any good to connect to how things turn out. Sure, my intention is waking up on time by setting my alarm clock or communicating in a healthy way with my spouse using “I” statements, but there’s no guarantee that my day or my relationship will go the way I want. Detaching from how things will turn out frees us from the of bondage of control.
Many of us spend inordinate amounts of time fretting about outcomes. Think about your day today. What did you worry about? What got your pulse rate jumping? Was it something you have any control over? Really? We tend to think we have more control than we actually do. That belief moves our attention away from the aspects where we have control into an ultimately disappointing realm. A wiser use of our energy is guiding it toward the parts of our life we can do something about. If your boyfriend doesn’t like your emotional ups and downs, do your part to work on developing healthier emotion regulation skills and let go of your fear that he might end the relationship. If he does, you will deal with it from an emotionally healthier stance. If your focus at work is on your fear of getting fired, show up at work, do your job to the best of your ability, and release your grip on the fear. If you end up getting fired, you will know you gave it your all which will help as you move on in your search for another job.
Detaching from outcomes is not synonymous with becoming a slacker. Quite the opposite. Detaching from outcomes gives you power to pursue emotional, physical, occupational, relational, and spiritual growth.
Got a question about this or want some clarification? Just ask in the comments section and I’ll answer.