What is emotional detachment?
You may have never come across this term before, and if you did, you might not have paid attention to it. However, it is an important quality that can save you a lot of emotional inconvenience and suffering.
So what exactly is emotional detachment? It is a state of calmness, and the ability not be emotionally agitated by people, events, and your own thoughts. It helps you conserve your balance and not take things too personally.
This is not a state of indifference, and does not mean lack of interest or lack of feeling. People, who are indifferent, do not care about anything, and are usually passive. True detachment is something else. It is an attitude of common sense, open-mindedness and practical behavior.
People, who posses detachment, accept calmly whatever happens. They accept the good and the bad equally, because their minds are in a state inner balance and peace. If there is something they cannot do or cannot change, it won’t disturb their inner peace. If they are convinced of the importance of a certain action or goal, they will pursue it with all their heart, ignoring distractions easily.
With this kind of attitude, people accept both success and failure. If they succeed, that is fine, and if they don’t, they will either try again, or forget the matter and move on to something else.
- How many times have you got emotionally involved with something against your will and better judgment?
- How many times have you got angry, frustrated or disappointed by trivial matters?
- How many times have your moods swung high and low?
- How often, in certain situations, you told yourself that the next time you will stay relaxed and calm, and yet, the next time this situations recurs, you forget what you told yourself?
I believe you agree with me when I say that in all these situations, a certain measure of detachment would have been most useful.
When it comes to personal maters, it is hard to stay not involved emotionally. You get involved, and this is quite natural, otherwise, life would have been boring. Involvement makes life ticking and active. However, a certain degree of emotional detachment would do wonders to your life.
This attitude is most useful in your daily life, in the pursuit of ambitions, and of course, on the spiritual path.
Examples of emotional detachment.
- When meditating, a lot of thoughts keep coming into your mind, forcing you to pay them attention, and also awakening associated feelings. This causes you to be too involved with your thoughts, follow them, and forget about your meditation and concentration. If you could display an attitude of emotional detachment toward your thoughts, it would have been easier to ignore them.
- How do you feel, when somebody says something that you do not like? You would probably become angry, unhappy, or feel hurt. Why is this so? Because you value other’s people words and opinions more than you value your own thoughts and opinions. You let other’s people thoughts, words and actions influence your happiness, actions and reactions. Your happiness and actions depend on them.
- On the other hand, if you are able to stay detached, you will not be disturbed. You will stay calm. You will even be able to benefit from what they say. You will not waste hours thinking about their words.
- When something worries you, you spend hours on thinking about it, instead of investing time in finding a solution. You just get pulled into emotional thinking, worries, and fears.
- Have you ever thought, how much time and energy you waste every day, brooding on useless thoughts and feelings, due to lack of detachment? Much of the anger, frustration, unhappiness and disappointments are due to lack of detachment.
- One of the ways to develop detachment is through meditation. In meditation, you strive to ignore thoughts and feelings. This develops the habit of staying calm and emotionally detached, not only during meditation, but also in everyday life.
If you practice meditation, sooner or later, you will start to experience detachment. You will discover that you stay calm and undisturbed, under circumstances that previously made you anxious, stressed, angry or agitated. You will find that you can handle your daily affairs of life in a calm and relaxed way.
Real emotional detachment is a sign of inner strength, and manifests as the ability to function calmly under all circumstances. With this attitude, fewer things harass or bother you.