2 Timothy 1:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1. indifference to other people or to one’s surroundings; aloofness
2. (Psychology) freedom from self-interest or bias; disinterest
3. the act of disengaging or separating something
4. the condition of being disengaged or separated; disconnection
5. (Military) Military
a. the separation of a small unit from its main body, esp of ships or troops
b. the unit so detached
I’m a huge self-help book lover. You can find me in the sci-fi section or self-help section in Barnes and Nobles. I have an enormous amount of self-help books taking over my home library. I noticed a shiny unopened book in my bookshelf by Melody Beattie titled “Codependant No More.” I wondered “When did I buy this and why?” “Im not codependant, my boyfriend has alone time and so do I we never freak about it.” Someone must’ve recommended this book to me because once I read it I realized, “Whoa, I am codependent”.
There is a chapter on Detachment which I took a highlighter too. You may need to detach from an idea, a situation or a person. Have you ever gone out of your away to help someone who didn’t even ask for your help? Perhaps you overextend yourself because you subconsciously are looking for everyone’s acceptance? When a friend is in a bad mood and you think it has to be something YOU did?
Letting go of being the director of the show
I recently got into a heated email discussion with another mother about our children. I felt I worded the email in a polite, non confrontational way. Her response left me dumbfounded. Since she was mean in the email and took no responsibility. I fired back and sent her an equally mean email to the one she sent me. She responded and by the time I read it I was drained. I responded something along the lines that us now fighting was not at all my intention and I just wanted peace between our daughters and wished she understood. I also ended it with God bless you and your family. I thought for a moment and realized no matter how angry I was I shouldve just turned off the computer and went directly to the school principal instead of now having this petty argument. After that she said “Thank you” but continued to try to hit below the belt. I kept on thinking in my head how could she not want to resolve this in a very adult way, why can’t we come together and show our daughters an example of how to solve disputes. I kept emailing her back trying to convince her to change her mind. Why didn’t she see things my way?!
The real question is “Why am I trying to control this mother’s response?” People are who they are. Page 61 from Codependent no more states: Detachment also involves accepting reality-the facts. It requires faith- in ourselves, in God, in other people, and in the natural order and destiny of things in this world. Once I saw where the conversation was headed it was my responsibility to not engage and insult another person. My feelings got the best of me but well talk more about feelings in a moment.
Letting go of people and their responsibilities
A good question is “Are we doing what it takes to care of ourselves?” We shouldn’t be worried about the responsibilities or actions of another adult. It isn’t to say we can’t be helpful but we are not take on their burdens. Everyone is fully capable of taking care of themselves and making their own choices. You shouldnt do anything that you’ll resent you did later on for someone. Perhaps you volunteered to do someone a favor, or you feel coerced to do a favor. If you cant do it and have a gut reaction that you truly don’t want to do it, if its going to affect you or your family’s balance or peace say “No”. Draw boundaries. People are just people. There is nothing to be scared of. Saying “No” is extremely difficult for me. When your just starting out being assertive “buy yourself some time”. If someone asks you to babysit their 3 kids on a holiday weekend and you had your hopes on going to yoga classes and hanging at the beach you can say “Let me get back to you, I believe I had a previous engagement.” Then there are those people who ask you for things that they know will make you uncomfortable but they ask anyway because they know you will eventually say yes. They may ask for money, business contacts, whatever. To those people saying “Im sorry but I have a policy of not _________ to anyone I’ve had a few bad experiences.” Leave it at that. Use your common sense. Everytime I’m assertive a fear comes over me and I think “OMG, is that person going to be mad at me?” I don’t listen to that fear based feeling anymore. I would do almost anything for some of my genuine friends. Some I haven’t spoken to in months or even years but I’d be there in a moment. You know who your friends are that you have a give and take relationship with and people who just need things.
Dont be hard on yourself when you did nothing wrong
A very smart woman told me “Keep your side of the street clean.” Worry about your own tasks and be morally responsible. When you lay in bed at night you know you’ve done all you can do and you have fulfilled your own obligations. When your conscience is clear and you know you did right don’t keep obsessing over other people’s reaction. When someone acts negative towards you for no reason its a reflection on their current life or spiritual condition. You cannot wallow in despair and fall apart over other people’s reactions or behavior, or situations that may arise. Emotions cannot run you because they change like the wind. For example Jeremiah 17:9 states “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Okay, that text may be a little tough but the point is your emotions are going to change. Everything you FEEL is not reliable. You can’t let people, places or things blow your house down.
When to detach
When should you detach for someone? Basically when you become obsessed and can’t stop worrying about someone or something, about something you said or did, about something they said or did. When you constantly do for someone else and your upset with yourself for constantly “helping” that person. If you’re obsessing over something because you have hurt someone promptly admit you were wrong, change your actions and move on. Obsessing isn’t helping anyone.
You may have to detach completely from people. Some people leave you feeling drained and are not beneficial to your growth. It doesnt mean you don’t care. Quite the opposite you do care but you also respect yourself. Your not here to solve other people’s problems. Your not here to make people act a certain way. Your not here to do things for others for the wrong reasons and then kick yourself about it. Give people the room and opportunity to grow and become evolved on this journey.
Adopt a policy of keeping your hands off other people’s responsibilities and keeping other people’s negative emotions off you.
Im a work in progress and Im trying to do this myself everyday.
Check out Melody’s Beattie’s book here