Healthy Detachment

“Ideally, detachment is releasing, or detaching from, a person or problem in love….  Detachment is based on the premises that each person is responsible for himself, that we can’t solve problems that aren’t ours to solve, and that worrying doesn’t help.  We adopt a policy of keeping our hands off other people’s responsibilities and tend to our own instead.  If people have created some disasters for themselves, we allow them to face their own proverbial music.  We allow people to be who they are.  we give them the freedom to be responsible and to grow.  And we give ourselves the same freedom.”

— Melody Beattie, Codependent No More, p. 56

Why Be a Victim?

“We obviously can’t let go if we are waiting to be saved.  Certainly there are real victims, but most of us put ourselves in this role needlessly.  And we do it every day.

“When our goal is to maintain our sense of wholeness and connectedness regardless of what the day throws at us, we simply will not become a victim.  Nothing is ‘beyond our control’ because we are not interested in control.  We let the people and situations we encounter be who and what they are.  We are not motivated to reform or remake them.  This doesn’t mean we like how everyone behaves, nor does it mean that we fail to protect ourselves and loved ones from destructive people.  But if we commit ourselves to changing even pleasant people when they don’t want to change, we instantly become victims of their reactions.  Each little response to our efforts pulls at the strings of our emotions.”

— Hugh Prather, The Little Book of Letting Go, p. 8-9.

Letting Go

“I’ve found that when you give up on using your mind to solve a problem–which your mind is holding on to like a dog with a chew toy–writing it down helps turn off the terrible alertness.  When you’re not siphoned into the black hole of worried control and playing fretful Savior, turning the problem over to God or the elves in the glove compartment harnesses something in the universe that is bigger than you, and that just might work.”

–Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually), p. 27

“Sometimes, when you’re lucky, you get to a point where you’re sick of a problem, or worn down by tinkering with it, or clutching it.  And letting it go, maybe writing it down and sending it away, buys you some time and space, so maybe freedom and humor sneak in–which is probably what you were praying for all along.”

–Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually), p. 32