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.