MONDAY PEP TALK | Attachments | Identity, Suffering + How To Shed The Old To Make Way For The New
Here’s your latest Monday Pep Talk…
(If you’re not already signed up, you can do so here.)
Attachment is the action of taking something that isn’t a part of you and making it part of you (and your identity) through energetic or emotional investment. Attachments come in the form of:
Objects - possessions that make you feel like you’re enough/valued (Mum always told me that men in fast cars had small penises)
Beliefs - what ineffective beliefs are you attached to?
Outcomes - things needing to turn out a certain way for you to feel ‘safe’ or ‘loved’. Think career & love.
Experiences - what experiences are you attached to having in life?
Roles - what roles have you attached to your identity? I.e. “The nice girl”, “the people pleaser”, “the crazy party animal”, shy, outgoing, fit, unhealthy, mother, best friend etc.
Shoulds - how life “should” be and how people “should” be.
Ya feel me on any of these?
They become unhealthy when they become part of your IDENTITY. When, if you were to lose one of these attachments, you lose a part of who you are. Those attachments become a filter through which you interact with the world around you. Think: who are you without your attachments? How do they define you?
Where do attachments come from?
As with everything, our attachments were inherited by us at a young age from - you guessed it - our parents, through parental programming, and our environment, through societal conditioning. It's something we were shown, and CHOSE to attach to as part of our identity. To include as part of our identity. (Not always consciously). And throughout life these attachments are reinforced by the people we surrounded ourselves with, the media we consume and the choices we choose to entertain. Key word here: choice.
Anna, what attachments have you unearthed on your journey?
Where do I start. I attended an expensive private girls school, but did not come from money (grandmother paid because she was attached to an image of having grand-children at top schools). To fit in I thought that I had to have a macpac backpack (I got the cheapest one), a mobile phone at 14 (alcatal one touch easy), and whatever the latest cool clothes were.
In my early twenties I believed that if I wasn't married with kids by 30 I'd be a societal outcast. This was in stark contrast to the belief I had that I wasn't marriage material. I would tell any boy who would listen, thinking that admission would guilt trip him into dropping a knee then and there.
I could list right now about 1000 other ineffective attachments I've held (many of which I'm just realising for the first time):
If I go on a date with a guy and he hasn't text me by 9am the following morning to say how wonderful I was he doesn't like me
My mum should just be happy and not talk about her problems, and should put my needs first until I'm 65
If I study for 3 years to do XXX degree at Uni, I have to work in XXX for the rest of my life
I have to travel to Bali and line up to have a photo under a waterfall so people realise how worldly and #travelgoals I am
This relationship needs to end in marriage
If I have new activewear then I'll be suddenly want to work out all the time.
How do we shift our attachments?
As mentioned above, attachments become unhealthy when they become part of your identity and you cannot detach yourself from the thing. Attachments often lead to suffering because they are loaded with expectations that are often unmet. When those expectations don’t deliver, we make ourselves (or other people) - wrong.
The art of non-attachment, a buddhist philosophy, is about asking for what you want in life but being unattached to how and when it needs to happen. This process asks us to lean into trust and surrender.
>>ACTION: Bring to mind an object, belief, outcome, experience, role or 'should' that you feel attached to. Grab your journal and answer the following questions:
What does this attachment give you?
What would life be like without it?
Who ARE you without it?
How does this attachment affect your relationship with others?
How does this attachment affect the way you show up in life?
How would you like this attachment to shift?
Life is fluid, always moving and ever-evolving. The depth to which your attachments exist is the level at which your suffering will too. It’s a CHOICE. You are not your attachments; you are CHOOSING your attachments. So if they are causing suffering, you get to choose something different.
With this awareness, you realise that you are the co-creator of your life and can define the level of attachment and suffering you create in each experience.