When I first heard the suggestion to detach from another person, I interpreted it to mean to sever all ties, all communication. Considering it was a relationship partner I was supposed to detach from, I found the suggestion out of the question. What I had failed to understand at that time and frankly, for many months to come, was that detachment didn’t mean to literally turn my back on some one. But rather to shield my emotions from the behavior of others. To let others do whatever they did without my own emotions jumping on their roller-coaster. It wasn’t easy. My behavior, from childhood on, had been a reflection of the behavior of the others close to me. When some one was mad, I was sure it was at me or that I had triggered it. If some one was sullen, maybe my actions could bring them around. If a friend or lover pulled away, it was intentional and a flat-out rejection of my very being.
What a basket-case I was. It’s embarrassing to admit it but the good news is that what was true is no longer true and that’s the hopeful theme in this particular entry. We can change. We can develop new understandings about our own character. We can see how entwined we were with others to the benefit of no one. And we can learn how simple it really is to make new, healthier choices that will ensure our freedom from the emotions and the behaviors of others. While it’s very true that no one is on our path accidentally, it’s also true that their purpose might simply be to teach us how to let go. Learning how to let go of one person allows us to be able to practice it with every one. And when that’s the case, peace can become our constant companion.