How to reduce the suffering caused by attachment

how to reduce the suffering caused by attachment by Joy iseki

Attachment and expectations are at the root of emotional suffering.
The idea that life ought to be only this particular way or else it’s not worth it. And because it isn’t so in the moment, you feel TERRIBLE living.
This ideal life belief has led to the depression of many.


Many of us have plans about how we wish our individual lives would pan out. And that’s great. It’s a good thing to have set goals as it gives meaning and direction to our lives.
However, it’s also important we understand that no matter how well we have our lives planned, there could be miscellaneous events. We should have this in mind.
Otherwise we’ll be immobile once anything apart from our goals become our lot at a particular time. And we become unable to move forward because of the disappointment we feel.


When life meets you in an opposite and less desirable state, one less than what you had envisioned for yourself, it can be humbling, to say the least. 
Not many people survive this turnaround of events.
We are often attached to our dreams and expectations of ourselves and the events around us. This attachment can also come from a place of total trust in our abilities to do that which we planned.
Although this isn’t bad, provided we can be grounded enough in the times when we fall below the mark, to allow the different turn of events without taking it personally as who we are.


Our failure to separate events from our Being is part of being attached. It is part of the suffering. It immobilizes us.
Once we become attached to how things ought to be or the directions it must flow; without leaving room for other outcomes, it becomes harder to separate who we are from the events that happen to us. It is at this point some would label themselves failures, because they failed. And others might come to believe nothing good can come out of them, if the failure is frequent.


If we find ourselves attached much to events we’re into, it’s important we also learn how to detach, once those events are over. Even when we win. Because we can also become super inflated with our ego to assume we’re better than those who failed once we have our win. This makes attachment an issue. And a reason it can contribute to our suffering.


Attachment is the resistance to change. It is refusing to change our minds as situation changes. It is obstinately holding on to what no longer serves us regardless.
We can be attached to the feelings an outcome brings even. Or to the image we have of an individual. Or to the event itself to assume we’re one with what happened.
With attachment, letting go is difficult. It’s like letting a part of us go. This is why attachment can immensely contribute to our suffering. It makes flow almost impossible.
And we need flow if we must be flexible and transformable.


How easier would you have moved on from life’s events if not for the attachment to them or the meanings we derive from them? Becoming attached gives the impression that the event is you and you are it. This makes moving on difficult to do.
And most of us are guilty of this. The reason we suffer so much. I’m equally guilty sometimes.
But feeling guilty isn’t enough to deal with the issue. Because detaching from many things around us could add a great deal to our happiness and reduce the suffering.


Acceptance becomes helpful to de-tach when we open our mind to the non-linear path of life’s journey; acknowledging our limited general control over even our own lives. Also, accepting what had happened can help us experience more detachment as we see clearly about the short span of most events to not assumed them as the totality of our Being–something attachment make us do.
Accepting what is and knowing when to let go is the antidote to being attached.


Acceptance is helpful for managing the hopelessness that can come from thinking you haven’t achieved much or done much in the event that a thing you believe in fails. It helps you separate events from who you are. Because you are not what’s happening to or around you. You are the observer or the awareness of these things.


To accept something, especially an unpleasant situation isn’t to be happy that it happened. No. It’s difficult to be happy that we failed. Or that we didn’t meet up to our expectations. Let’s not pretend about that.


Acceptance is admitting that an event happened the way it is. It is realizing that this thing already happened anyway. And it is being aware that more events will happen in a lifetime such that you’re not fixated on what happened now only to lose the zeal for fighting for more possibilities.
Acceptance can ignite hope. You need hope to fight for possibilities. Losing hope won’t help for today or tomorrow.
Therefore acceptance is one way we can de-tach from the failed event or the meaning we’ve attached to a situation that had turned otherwise.


Through acceptance, you learn hope and the grace to maximize your areas of control. Because life isn’t a TV where you can watch only your best shows always. Even your favourite programs aren’t aired all day all the time.
Life, like TV, offers your best programs and your less favourites juxtaposed. You can’t always have only what you want.


If we fail to accept the darkness because we want only light, we might miss the opportunity darkness offers us to grow in the ways it makes our mess invisible to all.
The missing out on possibilities because of our fixation on what already exist only is one negative effect of attachment. Because we become so stuck on what happened that we are immobile and therefore unable to think forward for solutions.


Attachment gives us the impression about a linear, predictable life. But this isn’t the reality of most of our lives.
We plan. We pray. We work. But things don’t always turn out perfectly like that on first try. Or even all the time.
And being attached to the unstable and unpredictable patterns of life’s event is just increasing our sufferings. You don’t need all that unnecessary drama.


We have limited control of what happens around us. Much as we hate to admit.
And learning to accept outcomes is important; mostly those ones that panned out differently than we envisaged after putting in our best plans. We have control over this choice of response after outcomes.
If we can make progress in this path of acceptance, we’ve done a lot to save ourselves from many pain life itself would bring our way just because it’s life.


To accept is to embrace whatever already is. It is not to struggle with the outcome. And at the same time not to settle and give up trying.
To accept is to admit your fallible nature as a human being and embrace the unpredictable patterns of life. This, reduces the unnecessary suffering that comes with being too attached to stuff, events and people. And allows the freedom to navigate through circumstances with ease than if we had been too clingy to them.

To your Healing.

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