Sunday, February 22, 2015

Healthy Detachment: A Far Cry Different Than Being a Doormat

In spiritual circles, there is much discussion about detaching or rising above something frustrating or bad behavior that truly is wholly unacceptable.  This talk ensues leaving an earnest seeker thinking they are somehow trapped in the space of forcing down anger and frustration while they try to rise above something or not let something bother them.  It is so very important to note that many spiritual principles are discussed but not necessarily understood in their proper context and without that context, you could be misapplying principles to your own psychological detriment. 

Healthy detachment does not mean that you walk around letting everyone use you as a doormat while you just smile and I say, I love you or I forgive you.  You can do and say these things, absolutely!  But, if you are in any way being inauthentic about that, you are actually harming yourself.  Sometimes you have to say something until you mean it but that is mostly applicable to negative self-talk and that is certainly not what I’m talking about here.  What I’m talking about here is actually several concepts wrapped up into one designed to help you better understand how you can make some choices that will hopefully be more in line with your integrity and authenticity as well as helping you understand human interactions and their true intent.

Let’s face it and be real up front, not all of us know how to play nice in the sand box in terms of human behavior.  We’ve even been guilty of this kind of behavior ourselves, lets be very honest, at least at some point in our timelines.  The first part about this concept is to understand that another’s bad behavior is not your doing, is not your fault and is nothing for you to carry no matter how loudly the poor behaving person screams from the mountain tops.  Bad behavior is about the person conducting it and not you.  Learn accountability for your own behavior and you will start to notice where that accountability is lacking in another.  When you start to notice, don’t slip into the trap of judging another’s side of the street dirtier than yours because that doesn’t really lift you up either.  You have to deal with what you face to get the true meaning and essence of the life lesson before you.  

When people behave poorly to us, until we break old patterns of our own thoughts and normal reactions to the behavior or others, that behavior is likely to generate negative emotion within us.  That’s perfectly fine and completely okay.  Allow yourself to feel the emotion and then consider whether you might be able to understand its true message to you.  Perhaps that message is simply this:  Some people have suffered environmental psychology they are either unable or unwilling to change and this causes them to behave poorly and sometimes even in ways that hurts your feelings.  Fighting back with vengeful-type behavior is like trying to put out fire with gasoline.  You’re likely the one to go up in flames.  I always suggest that when someone has hurt your feelings with their behavior, it’s best to take a moment, a breath or even a walk long enough for you to gain your composure to the point you can articulate how you feel.  Then I’m going to suggest that if it is safe for you to do so, tell the person how you feel when they behave in a certain way.  I suggest that you don’t attack the person but instead you focus on the behavior.

State your piece and then get ready to let go of your attachment to outcomes.  You see, people who behave poorly cannot change their behavior until they learn how.  You can speak how you feel when it is safe to do so (or journal or talk to a trusted friend or adviser if it is not safe for you to speak how you feel) but you can’t control another person or their behavior at the end of the day.  To complicate matters even more, the way you perceive the “bad behavior” is filtered through your own environmental psychology and part of the emotion you feel may not necessarily be from the outside world at all but for something within you left unexamined, a belief held and long-forgotten that you were unconsciously reminded of by someone else’s bad behavior.  Regardless of your perception, regardless of the reason for the other person’s bad behavior, you can express how you feel about it.  Consider a discourse rather than a raging argument.  Consider a moment of listening within for what is calling to you.  Listening without for what someone else is really saying.

There is a final part to this and this is perhaps the most important.  If you’re getting the message and still the bad behavior continues and you really don’t want to participate, that’s where you have to choose your own side and set a boundary to protect yourself.  The best way to do that is to step off the battlefield or seek the appropriate assistance with processing what is happening and making the best choices for you.  Healthy detachment is when you arrive at a place where you know what “stuff” in an interaction is your “stuff” and what “stuff” in an interaction belongs to another.  Set boundaries.  Participate only in what you wish to participate in and do so gladly whether that means stepping further into discussion or stepping off the battlefield entirely.  Know that you were put here to be no one’s door mat.  Sometimes some people behave so poorly that the only way you can hear your own inner messages on whatever it is they brought up for you is to get away and spend as little time as possible with that person.  Set a boundary around what you will or won’t participate in.

In closing, truly for your own sake and benefit, you must let go of the idea that you have the power to change another’s behavior.  Healthy detachment means that you truly understand that you have power only to understand and control your own behavior, make your own choices for your own ideals.  No other can be accurately judged by your standards, perceive exactly the way you do or contain within the exact same messages for life lessons that need learning like you do.  Healthy detachment means that you allow yourself the authenticity to feel how you feel, think before you act or react and that you choose then what you will or will not participate in.  It is work and hard work sometimes.  The malware that runs rampant within our sense of self-needs to be right, validated and vindicated and thinks it can control others.  This is an illusion. 
With healthy detachment you can show yourself compassion by allowing your feelings to be felt, seeking understanding, speaking up if you need to be heard and then moving on if need be in order to set boundaries more in line with your own personal integrity.  You can also show another through healthy detachment, the respect and the courtesy to allow them to be exactly who they are without your interference or requiring them to change.  Participate or don’t but let go of any idea of getting them to change.  Let go of the thoughts of “only if.”  You can “only if” every single relationship or encounter and never will you get to the space of healthy detachment while you dig yourself deeper into the emotional egotistical drama of it all.  If you want to engage in it, it is up to you but if it isn’t healthy for you then you have some choices to make to get off the floor and decide you will detach rather than be a doormat or martyr. There is nothing of true value in that for you.  You’ve done nothing so wrong that you deserve such self-inflicted punishment.  Know this and feel the truth of it within you.

These are no easy things to learn.  Simple in concept perhaps but more challenging in action and action for you personally is what this is all about.  Your timeline, your life and your experiences are about you but not necessarily in the way you might think.  So, give yourselves room to be, to feel, and to respond to life as you deem most appropriate. Detach from the need to manipulate or control what you consider to be bad behavior in others and try if you can to accept people and situations just exactly as they are.  If you don’t like their behavior, set boundaries for yourself, communicate your boundaries where needed and you can go on living, understanding, expanding and growing in a healthy manner in your life.


© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

If you like this post, you might enjoy some of the concepts in my books.  You can visit my website at:


No comments:

Post a Comment