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Love and Detachment

Recently a friend introduced me to the idea of love and detachment, which has to do with letting go of toxic relationships. She brought up this subject under the topic of spirituality. My very first impression was that she was asking me to strive for something abstract, perhaps nonexistent… a common precept that underscores my faith.

But one aspect of what she said stood out. “To Love and to detach”. A basic human skill it seems but a subject with tremendous depth. Love is one thing. Detachment is another. My guess is, you first have to understand what is meant exactly by each term.

What does this mean to me?
Instead of love, what about ‘the sense of obligation’?
In people that you find companionship (your family or friends) is that exactly love.
How do I measure love?
How can I love someone who I never felt safe or comfortable around?
Is that love?
Is obligation love?

Love goes beyond textbook definitions:

“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you and trusting them not to.” MyLittlePont

“The act of caring and giving to someone else.” Love and Peace

“The most spectacular, indescribable deep euphoric feeling.” Jo813

“Nature’s way of tricking people into reproducing.” Anonymous

“Either a humble disease or a blessing.” Antigar.com

From the look of things, our experience is what constitutes what love really is. There is a very high variance between love (as we know it) and love (as we experience it).

And when it comes to detachment, to a complete stranger, I am simply taking time off. But in my mind, where do I start? What am I dealing with? It’s just not as simple as it sounds.

Almost four years and I am still contemplating how far I have come with losing touch with family, friends, and coworkers. Today I still feel a sense of obligation to these people more than I love them. I detached physically but not emotionally. Through a telescope, my detachment seems selfish but under a microscope it was necessary.

Where did I fail? Evolving. Getting used to my emotions. I still felt as though I must live up to their crushing standards or that I had to lie. I felt vulnerable.

As time passed, I learned to adapt to my own standards. I started working on my immigration status. I started working and I went back to school. Things I imagined would train my mind for better. But somewhere along the line, I realized that everything that I ever believed in has so much to do with my past. Detaching in the face of trauma and with the fear of what’s to come seems farfetched. The very people that I am detaching from have been instrumental in my nurturing. It’s almost impossible to detach from who I am. My upbringing plays such a strong role in my will and ability to detach.

But maybe somehow I will eventually evolve. Maybe I can bring myself to a better place. But a snap of a finger just won’t do it. As a good saying goes, “Sometimes the heart needs more time to accept what your mind already knows.”

This journey taught me a lot about myself. It taught me how to overcome fear and it’s been teaching me how to live unapologetically.


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