Photo by Sascha Matuschak on Unsplash

I walked by a graffiti sign today that said:

I fear I am becoming emotionally attached to you.

So I continued my walk simmering on the idea of attachment and how it is the root cause of all suffering.

If you’ve been following along, it won’t be a surprise to you that I have continued my education on Buddhism and expanding my knowledge to hold more of a Buddhist lens. I like it because it doesn’t push a specific type of religion our outcome, it simply encourages mindfulness and introspection when you feel uncomfortable or need to seek personal growth. After all, most of the answers we tend to seek make themselves known if we quietly sit and reflect (see prayer, meditation, running etc…).

Many Buddhists believe that the root cause of all of the world’s suffering is the idea of attachment.

When we define attachment, we note it as:

the condition of being attached to something or someone, in particular.

The United States population is extremely attached. We’re attached to the dog-eat-dog competitive culture in the workplace, neighborhood, gym, Instagram and Church. This idea of always having to achieve something creates a false sense of reality and expectation, ultimately leading to disappointment. Or the sense of “never enough”.

At the start of the new year, many of us set resolutions with hopes and goals to achieve. Some of us stick to them, some of us drop off the resolution train a few days later. Lets say your goal is to work out for 30 minutes every day for 30 days. What happens when you get sick during this challenge and miss a consecutive day due to much needed rest? You feel disappointed, unmotivated, shameful, even humiliated that you did not stick to our goal. You have become attached to the outcome.

When we really look at the things and people we are attached to, we have the opportunity to truly identify if they align with our most pertinent values and beliefs. This idea of attachment often creates fear. The fear of letting go. The fear of the unknown. The fear of accepting things just as they are.

So why are we afraid?

We’re afraid of disappointment.

We’re afraid, that when we truly detach, that we will be disappointed. That others will be disappointed in us. You see, attachment is appearing in this situation as fear. We are even attached to the fear — the butterflies in our belly-because this is familiar.

I encourage you to identify the things you are attached to. I encourage you to look at your daily habits, routine, people you speak with and notice if there is an underlying attachment to expectations you have.

And then I invite you to take a new route.

Your attachment to taking the same way to work? Let that go. Venture off a side street and marvel in the landscaping.

Your attachment of a perfect body after working out for 30 days straight? Let that go, instead celebrate that you honored your body by moving it for 30 days.

Your attachment of the perfect (insert: job, house, partner, career, children, bank statement, vacation, Instagram account, car, weight, pant size)? Let that shit go.

Let it go and simply notice how you have carved out space for growth. You have reduced your stress and anxiety, you have become more present with the world around you.