Tool for Tuesday: Q & A’s On Detachment

A noble dog’s version of detachment

Question: How do you detach from someone you love?

We can love someone but not suffer when they suffer. We can love them and not be miserable when they’re miserable or angry when they’re angry.

If we are emotionally autonomous—as I wrote about in the Native American tribal wisdom here—then we don’t have to take on everyone’s feelings as our own.

Here are some Q & A’s to see how you are with detachment:

Do you suffer because of the actions of others?

Are you always sensitive to the reactions of others?

Do you do for others what they can do for themselves?

Do you try to manipulate situations to make sure that your loved ones get up on time, pay their bills on time and don’t eat too much or too little? (I caught myself the other day coughing loudly because I thought one of my sons overslept his alarm. I decided that if HE overslept it was HIS problem and if I kept waking him up, he’d never figure it out. I had to sit with the discomfort of my own “what if” questions. Such as, “what if he gets fired?”)

Do you cover up for someone else’s mistakes? Do you apologize for them?

The Dalai Lama said, What is meant by “detachment” is ridding ourselves of clinging and craving for something or someone. I would add, ridding ourselves of the need to change other people, places and things to go our way.

So, how do you detach?

Before you speak, ask yourself, “Does it have to be said? Does it have to be said by me? Does it have to be said by me now?”

Before you mind someone else’s business, ask yourself, “Does it have to be done? Does it have to be done by me? Does it have to be done by me now?”

To live our best chapter, we have to live only our best chapter.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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2 Responses to Tool for Tuesday: Q & A’s On Detachment

  1. Living OUR OWN best chapter…what a wonderful way to state the goal. Your posts offer excellent, gentle and specific suggestions. Thank you.

  2. Sharon says:

    A good reminder for me (I am not satisfied with my answers to your Q & As). I need to remember this and incorporate it more often into my actions.

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