February 12, 2011

February 12: Detachment is Taking Care of My Emotions First

Tonight, we had an early Valentine's dinner with several couples from our church. We'd not socialized with them much before and the topics of conversation ranged from Harry Potter to schizophrenia. When I found myself too enthusiastic and opinionated on the mental health topic, I found detachment was easy.  Was it because I am not yet emotionally involved?

In the case of closer friends, I find it relatively easy to listen to others who might be grumpy or critical, and be relatively unaffected.  As long as I am not the one being criticized of course.   But in the case of family, it is not so easy to detach. Yet, argument is pointless.  I find I must be silent and cut the topic short.   Otherwise I'd take on my family member's negative frame of mind, and judge myself harshly.

These life examples show me that I have a choice in  how I respond to other people's mood and attitudes.

Today's reading in my Sister Program explains:  "What I have learned by comparing these two situations, is that detachment involves paying attention to my own mood before I have a chance to take on someone else's. When I know my own mood,  I can simply see and hear negativity or anger without becoming negative or angry. I don't have to have a bad day just because someone I love is struggling. This knowledge allows me to let everyone, including myself, to feel whatever they feel without interference."

Let me consider my own mood for a moment before focusing on someone else's mood. My feelings matter, yet I need not defend them. Instead, let me use these moments to check in with myself and know myself a little better. Silence is the perfect precursor to detachment.  

Other  literature from the Sister Program is more explicit,  "Detachment allow us to let go of our obsession with another's behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves."

The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous. But neither, in my experience, do we ever reach a plane of detachment regarding our parents, however wise and old we may become. To pretend otherwise is to cheat.  ~John le Carre

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~