The influence of attachments in transitions

After watching a leadership inspiring video from Simon Sinek (* you can check later), I wanted to write about the concept of attachments and how creating more awareness on that topic, can help us to move forward.

It is really difficult to make a change or to settle in a new place/situation when we are still so attached to the lives, things, ideas and people that we used to live with.

It is easier to understand the concept of attachments related to material things. For example, since a child, we start to be attached to some of our toys and as we become adults, we chose our own stuff that it is also difficult to let it go and we would become really upset if we lose it.

However, we may not notice or have awareness how attached we are to ideas and beliefs that came from our “lives conditioning” - as most of us act in our automatic pilot.

For example, you may be raised in a family during dinner, the boys would be sat in the table waiting for the food and the girls are the ones that would put the table, serve the meal and after that clean everything. Therefore, without consciousness, if you are a girl, you would think it is your obligation to clean and serve man and would do it all your life unless you start to question the fact. And, if you are a man you would adopt the habit of being served and not cleaning as it was not your obligation to do it.

This is a simple example of a “domestication” process that can lead or not to an idea attachment.

Another example, you may be raised in a family that has a certain tradition and strong religion beliefs and due to this “domestication” process you may believe that only what you learnt is the “correct” way for living and seeing the world ; the acceptance of yourself and others can be affected by this. So, if someone has a different perspective from you and you are so attached to your belief, you may automatic judge the other person and not even be open to listen to a different point of view. If we are so attached to our own beliefs, we may not be seeing other possible opportunities that could be available for us.

My point is that all these ideas and beliefs make part of who we are and if we chose to identify ourselves totally with them, it can impact our self-importance and self-worth.

Therefore, in a transition process, it is really important to identify our stronger attachments. We can start with materials ones which can be easier to be identified and move to the beliefs that can be holding us back from building and moving life forward.

A possible exercise to support you in this process and increase awareness is:

- Make a list of the material things that you would be mad of losing and choose one.

  • Does it relate to your personality?

  • Your sense of value?

  • What sense of security this item gives you?

  • How does that boast your “ego” and why is that so important?

- Explore your emotions.

  • How would be your life without it?

  • Whom would you be without it?

- Now, think about some strong beliefs you have about life or yourself.

  • Is this idea causing you to play safe?

  • Did you alter your behaviour because of this idea?

  • How much do you judge others when they don’t think the same?

  • Are you attached to a particular role you play?

- Again, ask yourself:

  • Whom would you be if don’t hold on to the idea/role you have?

  • How does that affect your personal freedom?

Most people will find out that there are different levels of attachments according to the situation/things. There is no right or wrong answer. And, most people, including myself, would feel maybe fear or even pain when imagining losing the things that we have a strong link. This is normal.

The question is: Can you let some of these “attachments” go? This is only your choice.

Simple being aware of our own attachments releases the power they have over us and because of that we can be more open to see things with a different perspective.

We are all going to die one day, nothing lasts forever. Life is a constant change.

Doing this exercise above, you may find out that releasing some of these attachments:

  • you are much more than the things, ideas and roles you are attached to,

  • it does not matter where you are living or the role you are playing at this moment; you can really enjoy each phase of your life;

  • you may also find out what really matters and which gifts you can offer to the world – you can let your authenticity really flourishes!

Changing to another country was very difficult to me at the beginning as I was too attached to my stuff: my new apartment that took me years to acquire; my role in a multinational company that I was so happy and so proud; my belief that the housewife work had no value; etc. However, as time goes by, I had the opportunity to meet other values; to develop a new look even more loving to myself and with other people and other cultures; to judge less and be more empathetic. About these topics, I want to write another chapter in the future!

So, how open are you to think about your attachments and move forward?


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