Whether you’re embarking on a career change, a new relationship, a move to a new home, or the start of a new school year, change is inevitable. And change can be difficult because all change involves loss.
And then there are the losses that we might feel that don’t seem to bring an upside: the physical loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, the loss of an opportunity or a failure to bring a vision to form can be difficult to navigate.
Someone in the community recently asked:
How can we live with less attachment to the things and people we love, and be more accepting of the inevitability of change, loss or death?
Here are some tips:
It starts with accepting that change is a part of life. Nothing is permanent. Everything has its season. The more we can accept this, the easier it is to detach from people and things, and honor the role they played in our lives.
Expectations create the attachments that lead to our suffering. When we expect something or someone to be a certain way, we resist how it is. This resistance creates our suffering. The more we can release our expectations around what people should do, or who they should be, or how an event should happen, the more we can relax into the present moment and accept what people are doing, or what is happening.
Permission to Grieve
We often mistakenly believe that “detachment” and “letting go” means that we shouldn’t acknowledge or grieve the loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. Acceptance of change as a part of life does not mean we give up the right to feel the pain of the loss, no matter how “small” the loss was. Grieving a loss is part of the process of detachment and healing.
Every person, thing, event, or experience we bring into our lives serves a role for the time it is with us. I have found that it helps to express my appreciation for two things:
- the role that the person/thing played in my life and in my journey
- the space created by the loss, which opens the path for new things and people to enter.
All of this requires practice. And practice requires acceptance of where you are in the process. Release your judgments about how well you’re doing in detaching, and know that we all have attachments. Some are easier to release than others.
Putting it Together
Here’s a shorthand guide to help you remember the key points:
- Accept change as a part of life.
- Acknowledge the role that the person/thing played in your life, no matter how “small.”
- Allow yourself to grieve the loss.
- Appreciate that this loss now creates space for something new to enter your life.
If you found this helpful, please share it with others!