Do you know the difference in being committed to something, or someone, but not being attached?
This is a concept I work on a lot in my private coaching sessions. It’s an easy one to grasp logically – but a whole lot harder to put into practice in your real life.
Understanding, and more importantly, embodying this can have huge implications for how you live and experience life. From relationships, to career and beyond.
Because it makes success possible even when the world delivers what to the outside eye appears as failure.
This whole idea stems from the ancient buddhist and yogic principles of “non-attachment”. You see, the buddhists believed that our attachment to things is the root of all suffering.
One of the key principles of both Yoga and Buddhism is the idea of non-attachment – learning to free ourselves from dependence upon our possessions, our occupations, and even our ideas.
– Michael Lloyd Billington
To understand how this is possible, we need to have a better understanding of what attachment is, how it influences us, and why non-attachment is so incredibly beneficial in all avenues of life.
Let’s start by defining what we’re talking about:
- COMMITMENT: Choosing freely how you’re being regardless of results.
An active choice to give something your all. It means practicing non-judgment,. Responding not reacting by creating distance between your emotions and your actions. Effectively it’s acting from your higher self. Learning valuable insights, regardless of the outcomes.
- ATTACHMENT: Letting results determine how you are being.
Often chosen as a passive, even subconscious decision. Seeking to control an outcome and giving with a specific expectation in return. Being consumed by emotion and feeling a sense of fear around it not going the way you want. Acting from your ego, instead of your highest self.
When we’re exploring Commitment Vs Attachment, I don’t know if you can ever truly be “both” at the same time, but we can certainly waver between the two, often without even knowing it. We’re so used to being attached to people, to outcomes, to it being a certain way, that we don’t even question that attachment.
In many ways, this attached way of being is what our culture has taught us. From education, to relationships, to health and wellness. Our society tells us from a very young age that if you want something, well you better work bloody hard for it, and anything less than the desired outcome is a total failure. Not such a healthy notion is it?
Living from a place of commitment is a far healthier place to be, and the added bonus is that if feels SO much better too!
True non-attachment does not mean avoiding or distancing ourselves from people, things or situations, but rather taking responsibility for our own inner peace and happiness, even when we are working toward achievements or embodying beliefs. Essentially, through non-attachment, we learn to see our inherent wholeness and completeness, regardless of our circumstances.
– Michael Lloyd Billington
It’s an easy thing to understand, but a harder thing to practice. Ask yourself – how can you I be committed but not attached? Here are some real life examples to help try and break this concept down.
ie/ Commitment might look like holding space for someone, not reacting, seeing their higher self even through the behaviour they’re presenting. Attachment might look like strong reactions to someones choices, pushing them or being frustrated, being sad or upset it they don’t do what you wish them to. In short giving and expecting something particular back.
ie/ Attachment-free commitment at work might look like staying calm, resilient and driven even though you’re not hitting your sales targets. Instead of being stressed out, anxious or hard on yourself, you hold a vision of you succeeding in the future, learning from this challenge and expecting the best, regardless of the current situation.
ie/ Goal setting and committing to those goals, but not trying to control every minute detail of how the outcome unfolds. Realising that success may look very different to what we originally thought. Being adaptable, being flexible, and knowing that things often work out far better than we can plan anyway.
As I said, it’s a very hard thing to practice, particularly in romantic partnerships – we are so invested in those.
Our relationships are where the distinction between commitment and attachment is perhaps most salient. Are we committed to our romantic partners, or are we attached to them? Is it possible to be both things, or is it possible to be one and not the other?
– Aliya Dossa
In a nutshell, it’s loving your partner, but loving yourself more.
Knowing that of course you want everything to work out and experience the fairy tail ending, but that if it doesn’t you will be ok. Whatever life throws at you, you know deep down you can handle it. Ensuring you are looking out for you, taking care of your needs and wants, and not relying on your partner to do that for you. The ironic (and great) thing is that from that place, of loving yourself, respecting yourself, and honouring yourself – you can love your partner more fully anyway.
While we cannot control what happens around us or to us, we do have the power to control out inner state – that is, even if we cannot control a situation, we can control how we think about it, and in turn, whether we are unhappy or happy.
– Michael Lloyd Billington
Is practicing a philosophy of non-attachment realistic or even attainable? I like to think so, but the truth is I’m not there yet either. I believe (as with ALL of my coaching themes) that this is an ongoing practice, something we need to be consciously aware of on the daily. It really is a lifestyle choice. I don’t believe there is ever a point in the distant future where you will “achieve” this and hang up your boots so to speak.
It needs to be a daily choice, a moment to moment awareness. Asking yourself – Am I being attached right now? How can I shift to a place of commitment instead?
Sometimes you will fall, sometimes you will kick-ass – and that’s ok. It’s perfect. Practicing self-compassion for wherever you fall on this spectrum, in any given moment is what’s needed, and the desire and ability to get back up, and try again tomorrow.
- Think of a specific person, situation or experience and brainstorm what it looks like for you to be committed to this.
- Then write out what it looks like for you to be attached.
- The more specific you can be, the better. Use real life examples, and ones you know you habitually go to. It will be helpful to make this concept more real for you, getting specific on what actions, emotions and thoughts are associated with attachment Vs commitment.
- Once you’ve done your brainstorm, answer the following questions:
– Does this commitment serve me?
– Am I being energised, or drained by it?
– What are my warning signs of when I’m being too attached?
– How can I shift into a place of commitment?
Commit yourself completely to whatever calling you choose to answer. Live full out to achieve it. Take what comes and move on.
Trust the universe and focus on your commitment in order to succeed every time.
Questions, comments or need some advice?
Hit me up and leave your comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Survival of the fittest has become survival of the most adaptable. And to be adaptable means, definitionally, to be unattached. But to be unattached does not mean to be uncommitted.
– Aliya Dossa
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