Reflections on the Freedom of Positive Detachment

Written by on August 30, 2015 in Emotional Mastery, Self-Care
Positive Detachment

While our core attitudes affect the way  in whichwe view life in general, even those with the most positive outlook can benefit from cultivating positive detachment.

Admittedly, there is a certain amount of confusion about the term detachment because like anything to do with human nature it has the ability to suffer extremes.

So let’s take a moment to clarify what I mean by positive detachment.

Negative detachment is most often described as the inability to connect with others on an emotional level, or as the means of coping with anxiety by avoiding certain situations.

This form of detachment is described as “emotional numbing” or dissociation.

Positive detachment simply refers to a level of mental assertiveness that allows you to achieve emotional balance and maintain your boundaries when faced with stressful circumstances or demanding relationships.

Detaching from others does not mean you don’t care about them.

It is understanding and accepting that caring is not the same as assuming ownership of another’s attitudes and beliefs or following the same path they’ve chosen for themselves.

For additional insights and inspiration, the following is a collection of quotations reflecting on the power of positive emotional detachment.

Reflections on Positive Detachment

Detachment is taking care of yourself and letting others take responsibility for their actions without trying to save or punish them. ~Author Unknown

Detachment is not a lack of love, but a lack of dependency. Not lack of passion, but a lack of attachment to permanency. Not lack of security, but a lack of anxiety in uncertainty. ~Drishti Bablani

You need to belong to yourself, and let others belong to themselves too. You need to be free and detached from things and your surroundings. You need to build your home in your own simple existence, not in friends, lovers, your career or material belongings because these are things you will lose one day. ~Charlotte Eriksson

The laws of detachment allow others to be who they are and you to be who YOU are. Don’t force situations. Solutions will emerge. Uncertainty is reality – embrace it. ~Sue Fitzmaurice

Attachments to fear, anxiety, or drama is the way we are constantly being connected to what is not real. I am finding that by not giving an opinion to another person’s drama I can detach completely. I am empathetic and compassionate but I refused to get involved. ~Millie Mestril

You can love someone and not their behavior, it’s called detachment. ~Author Unknown

The more chances you give someone the less respect they’ll have for you. They’ll ignore the standards that you’ve set because they’ll know another chance will always be given. They’re not afraid to lose you because they know no matter what you won’t walk away. They get comfortable with depending on your forgiveness. You can’t make anyone better than they choose to be by allowing them to disrespect you. ~Author Unknown

Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. ~Author Unknown

Detaching does not mean you don’t care. It’s the ability to love someone without letting yourself get sucked into their drama. It means learning to express love and compassion in a healthy way that helps others without hurting you. ~Author Unknown

Detachment is experiencing our feelings without being overwhelmed by them. It’s the ability to look at things objectively and accept what we cannot change. We choose our responses rather than react to circumstances. Detachment is a deep breath of peace and patience and the ability to listen without losing ourselves. ~Author Unknown

Everything in life is temporary. So, if things are going good, enjoy it because it won’t last forever. And if things are going bad, well, don’t worry because that can’t last forever either. ~Author Unknown

Detachment doesn’t mean I’m trying less hard. It just means that fears and emotions that used to torment and paralyze me no longer have the same power over me. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy; it took me years to really learn to silence my mind. But as you move through your career and your life, you will have to learn that if you’re not what you do, then what you do has no business keeping you entertained at night. ~Kelly Cutrone

Detachment is the art of allowing yourself to embrace something while remaining open to the possibility of losing it someday. ~John B Beja

Detaching with love means letting someone be who they are while protecting yourself from the consequences of their behavior. ~Author Unknown

When you don’t attach your happiness or worth to anyone or anything you become free. ~Author Unknown

Emotional detachment is a positive attitude that helps you avoid getting unnecessarily entangled with the emotions of others. ~Author Unknown

Through detachment, you can be aware and considerate of other people’s feelings, love and care about them, and still not allow their emotions and problems to overwhelm your inner peace and harmony. ~Remez Sasson

Detachment does not mean non-involvement. You can be deeply involved without being entangled. ~Jaggi Vasudev

Try not to confuse attachment with love. Attachment is about fear and dependency and has more to do with the love of self than the love of another. Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty. It’s about what you can give others because you’re already full. ~Author Unknown

Love is an attachment to another self. Humor is a form of self-detachment; a way of looking at one’s existence, one’s misfortune, or one’s discomfort. If you really love, if you know how to laugh, the result is the same. You forget yourself. ~Claude Roy

Closing Thoughts

Achieving positive detachment creates a feeling of absolute freedom and balance from within. It allows you to experience emotions, feelings, and even adversity without being consumed by them.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilien Living Start Here.

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21 Reader Comments

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  1. Great lesson Jeri and I think most people over 30 have at least a few memories they continue to drag around with them when they don’t really have to. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  2. Jeri says:

    This post coincides with a psychology book I’m proofreading. I never thought before how thoughts and memories actually occur in the present. That lightbulb moment has made it easier to start learning how to detach myself from certain memories so they don’t have ownership over me.
    Jeri recently posted…#Publishing: Compiling a Literature AnthologyMy Profile

  3. Cutting to the chase is what I strive for Mark! Seriously, glad you found some enlightenment in the article my friend. 🙂

  4. Glad you enjoyed the article Dave! Every year I go back and review previous articles – tweak and update here and there – and normally I just leave it at that, but a fellow blogger recommended I republish the best of earlier posts so for the next few weeks I’ll be rolling out one or two of them a week. 🙂

  5. You are surely not alone Stella, setting healthy boundaries is a challenge for many people. In fact I’ve more than a few requests to write more about how to do that so I’m actually going to be offering an online course on that later this month. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  6. Mark says:

    Boy M!

    You really know “how to” cut to the chase!LOL!
    And I really love your thoughts under “The Nature Of Detachment” paragraph BTW.

    Especially where you share, attempting to help others may actually be harmful,especially if they are in fact fully capable of doing it themselves!

    Although I must also tell you, some of the most fun I’ve had, when attempting to effectively deal with the whole “detachment” issue.

    Is when I was playing the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” game!”LOL!

    Because I was justifying whatever I did or didn’t do!LOL!

    And now you come along and rip that rug right from under me! Bad M!LOL!

    Thanks for sharing yet another extremely enlightening post!
    Mark recently posted…Why Sometimes Real Opportunity Is Pleasantly Disguised As Just Plain Old Crazy!My Profile

  7. Dave says:

    I’m not sure how I missed this one the first time it was published, but I’m glad I got to read it on the second go-around 🙂

    I love the term positive detachment. I have way of letting things roll off my back. I can quickly dismiss something unexpected or negative that occurs in order to find the positive opportunities in the future.

    As with all things, however, moderation is key. I never completely detach from a situation before understanding it or discussing it with those around me. Once I come to a conclusion as to why this unexpected entity was placed in my path, or simply accept that it was put there for some reason to be uncovered later, I can usually put it out of sight, out of mind.

    A lot of times, this mentality is looked upon negatively, to quiet the discord in our lives until we fully understand it. To me, it’s best to give it due diligence and then let it go 🙂

    Thanks Marty, great article!
    Dave recently posted…Butterfly EffectMy Profile

  8. Stella Chiu says:

    Hi, Marquita

    Talking about attachment, it is crazy and it affects me a lot. now I am still learning how to set boundary. Hopefully it will become better.
    just like you pointed out, there are positive and negative attachments. I am trying to work along more the positive attachments.
    thanks for your post.
    – Stella
    Stella Chiu recently posted…Girls, Before You Will Say “I Do”My Profile

  9. Charmie says:

    Well, all the Hindu scriptures says this thing that detachment is the key to happiness but it is indeed one of the toughest things to do in our life. Thanks a lot for this motivation.
    Charmie recently posted…How to Setup Virtual Host with XamppMy Profile

  10. martyherald says:

    Hey Yorinda, I hear you about the challenges of setting boundaries – particularly when it comes to family and friends, but it’s important for so many reasons as you’ve found out. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  11. Yorinda Wanner says:

    Hi Marquita,
    your post gives a very understandable explantion of detachment and how we can help ourselves to utilize this.
    In the past I used to get drawn into other people’s ‘stuff” and mull things over lying awake at night. Fortunately I have learned to take a step back or inwards and also have learned to set boundaries, which still feels awkward at time.
    Thank you so much for raising the awareness on this!
    Love and Light
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted…Having a Good Day with Nature and BeautyMy Profile

  12. martyherald says:

    Welcome Wellina! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and if my article has caused you to think about all the sides of detachment then I couldn’t ask for a better response. 🙂
    martyherald recently posted…When Optimistic Thinking Isn’t EnoughMy Profile

  13. Hi Marquita,

    I’m glad you made the distinction between negative and positive detachment, because “detachment” has always had a negative connotation for me.

    Only in recent years have I realized how much of my life is affected by negative detachment. So many key people in my life have died, that from a small child the belief of my heart was, “I can’t let you get too close to me, because if you do, something bad will happen to you and I will lose you.”

    But I do understand positive detachment. We can’t allow people to walk all over us, or influence our thinking to the point where we can’t think for ourselves.

    Yes, you’ve got me thinking. 🙂 Thanks for the thought provoking post.

    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Living in the Present MomentMy Profile

  14. martyherald says:

    Welcome Disha! So glad you enjoyed the article and appreciate your taking time to contribute to the conversation. 🙂

  15. martyherald says:

    Welcome Balroop and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation. You making a good point about meaningful change being a slow process. I think this is one of the reasons so many people struggle to achieve their desired results because they want to see results sooner rather than later. Thanks again, and I look forward to visiting you at your site. 🙂

  16. martyherald says:

    Welcome Monna and thanks so much for contributing to the conversation. I think this is an issue that many people struggle with to varying degrees so hopefully the tips will be helpful to others.
    martyherald recently posted…Detachment is the Key to Achieving Emotional BalanceMy Profile

  17. martyherald says:

    Welcome Donna! I can SO relate to the family issue, but your so right about the importance of not only recognizing the problem but taking action. And thanks for your kind words about the new blog. It’s a work in progress and the “look” and features will continue to evolve over the month before the dust settles. 🙂
    martyherald recently posted…Detachment is the Key to Achieving Emotional BalanceMy Profile

  18. Disha Sharma says:

    Very Nice & amazing amazing article for “Detachment is the Key to Achieving Emotional Balance” I Really love this post.

  19. Hi Marquita,
    This is a nice post…it has really addressed the issues of detachment most profoundly. I know positive detachment is very agonising, you have to make persistent efforts to make it effective and keep reminding yourself that the other person no longer is that important as he/ she used to be. with their own opinions and own lives, they almost resent even your love, which becomes painful. It is a very slow process…needs constant reminders but you have to snub many emotions, which naturally keep haunting.
    Thanks for sharing very meaningful points. This is a nice blog, I liked it.
    Balroop Singh recently posted…Are We Really Selfish Or Just Branded So?My Profile

  20. Hi Marquita, Your first 7 points used to be me (USED to be) and it about drove me nuts half the time. This post is an awesome post for people to read and read over again. Once you realize how to conquer these points, life is so much easier.

    I definitely will be sharing this post. Have a great day, Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…Searching Out Those Who Are Interested In What You WriteMy Profile

  21. Hi Marty,

    First let me say that I just love the new look of this blog! Congratulations my friend.

    As for your call to action: I used to be the one that had many problems with this. I would get physically ill. I used to be an enabler, and would do no go to myself or others that had maladaptive behavior.

    It took one small step to help myself. I gave myself the wonderful gift of therapy many years ago. I learned so much about myself. It was a breakthrough, a milestone for me. Then I applied what I learned to do.

    Now I don’t have any problem with detachment. Especially when it comes to family members that used to drive me crazy! I can now still love them, but set strong boundaries up and stick to them!

    Thanks for posting this because I’ve been there in that jail of emotion and I know many still are. But there is hope, there is always a way to get ourselves out of that. All we need to do is learn!

    donna merrill recently posted…Getting My Product LiveMy Profile