Friday, 27 July 2012

Emotional Attachment - How it damages our relationships and how to avoid it

In this article I will focus on emotional attachment, one of the most common traps that we fall into in our relationships and life. Attachment makes us dependent on the people and things around us and makes us forget that we have natural self-esteem. It also makes it impossible to find true and lasting happiness.

To be attached is to believe there is something 'out there' that will make us happy. This could be anything - a job, lots of money, a new home, or winning a sporting competition, even the Olympics! Of course, it can also be another human being who we believe will make us happy. This is where our dependence on a partner comes from. Whatever the attachment is, it points to a need that we are trying to fulfil, and when this fails we feel hurt and begin to suffer.
An attachment originates when we believe that we lack something personally. This almost always begins in early childhood as we start to make conclusions about the world and our part in it. The problem is that in the fear, pain and confusion of childhood/parenting issues within our families, we can take on many negative self-beliefs. These beliefs are always mistaken because in truth we can find everything we need emotionally (and spiritually) from within, but we begin to doubt this and assume that we need somebody or something else to make us feel complete and happy. At the core of our doubt is the belief that we are personally lacking in love and therefore need to search for it in the world outside us. From this belief stems a whole raft of negative self-beliefs that are full of feelings of scarcity. We might believe that we lack money, health, intelligence, good looks or physical attraction. It is inevitable that we will then look outwards to find these things and make ourselves feel whole again.
Attachments can be incredibly powerful and will hold us back from finding happiness because they deny our own resources. They will also damage and destroy our relationships. It is therefore essential to let them go. What are you attached to? To help identify this, ask yourself what you are still lacking in your relationship and life. Let's say you lack self-confidence. You may have looked for a partner who is much more confident than you and who can support you through difficult situations in life. You may have become dependent on them and be terrified of losing them. Or they might have already left you, and you will already know the dreadful feeling of loss and fear that this creates. If you become attached to your partner you can no longer bond with them fully because you are dependent on them. True bonding can only happen when you feel equal with your partner and need nothing from them.
The way to get rid of an attachment like this is to recognise that your belief that you are lacking in confidence is an illusion. Your natural state is one of confidence but somewhere in your life you began to doubt this and turn away from this gift. You might be able to identify when this happened, but this isn't critical. What matters now is that you recognise that you do indeed have a gift of confidence that you can embrace for yourself and the people around you. Deep down your friends, family and partner know you have the gift and are waiting for you to exhibit it! You might take some time to get to know and accept this 'new you', but with attention and practice you will find that you feel much better about yourself. Your relationships will improve and your dependence on others as well as your attachments will dissolve away.
One of the most interesting discoveries that psychologist Check Spezzano (originator of the Psychology of Vision model upon which these articles and my website are based) has made about the human mind is that the things we become attached to, are also our greatest gifts. In other words, we minimise our lives and become dependent in the very areas that we are experts! The most astonishing conclusion from this finding is that we do not need to search for love in the people or situations around us. All of us are naturally gifted in love and have the ability to form successful and happy relationships. But we are also afraid of this greatest of gifts - and that is why we so easily become attached to people and material world. It is time to recognise our giftedness and embrace the love that is within us and available to us through our relationships and spiritual connections.

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