‘Detachment from outcomes’ has been the key theme in many psychology and health articles I’ve come across over the past 6 months or so. Recently, I watched Oprah interview Deepak Chopra where she mentioned her struggle with letting go and eventually practicing detachment to get her goals. But, doesn’t detachment smell of cold blood? Even as someone who has a lifetime’s worth of experience at detaching myself from people who are a negative influence, detaching my mind from the final outcome is a constant struggle. There is only a small gap between your imagined outcomes (positive and negative) but the superstar self critic inside your brain can widen this gap within seconds. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself concentrating on everything that can go wrong and of-course now that you’ve thought of it, it is all going down in flames.
Personally, I feel we are conditioned to think negatively. May be our hairy barbaric ancestors had to think negatively to protect and prepare themselves for all the madness or may be we were disappointed enough times to always think of the worst possible outcome. In my case, the later makes a strong case. The more I fight to make changes, the harder these walls are to break down. Meanwhile, I set my hopes high (positive thinking and that) to only have them crash.
Positive thinking alone cannot solve all your problems, its not a magic solution. All it does is, it just gives you enough energy to keep fighting against the blocks. Thats reality. Disappointments are everywhere, may be there is some evil energy feeding off on our disappointments or may be these hurdles are meant to knock us into something better. Rather than stressing your mind imagining how you are definitely going to fail, concentrate on doing other things that take your mind away even if that is something as non-productive as watching a silly comedy. Engage yourself. In my case, patience is the task master. Delays add up to the frustration and anxiety. These factors aren’t in my control so the best strategy for me is to control what I can control and that is–my involvement with the outcome.
Lately, I’ve been practicing detachment. I use positive thinking to do my best work, be the best I can be and know that there is not one more thing I could have done to make things better in that particular situation. After that, I focus on distracting my attention from the final outcome. If it has to work, it will. If not, I’ve got to remix my strategies and think of yet another creative way to proceed forward. Reminds me of a beautiful thing Will Smith said in one of his interviews about not addressing the block, you basically go through it-over it or find a way around it.
Example of how I detach: If I have been awaiting a job confirmation, I refuse to check my mail every 15 minutes. Instead I will check it only twice a day. I set myself a goal of staying away from email for as long as I can and in the end I give myself a mental pat on the back for being a good girl 🙂
Until a couple years back I was that girl who got stressed if someone didn’t reply to my text or email. Somehow I’d always imagine the worst. When I look at the person I have become today, I feel I deserve a star for my accomplishment. Trying times and difficult people are important for your personal growth, sometimes your patience needs to be tested to the most ridiculous end for you to realize, you really got to change your pattern.
Over thinking and worrying just ain’t working anymore. Detachment teaches you to be self reliant, it teaches you to harness that inner strength within you so you can sustain in the face of whatever worst case scenario. With detachment you spend less time wasting your energy getting anxious and impatient, there by conserving enough energy to think of alternative steps you will have to take to proceed forward again.
Source: Top illustration from Kate Ellen Robinson.com