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June 29, 2023
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June 30, 2023

The pain and blessing of detachment

By Stephanie Rattan

Detachment can be defined as the art or process of separation (Merriam-Webster).

The Bible speaks of detachment in the following words, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26).

Once upon a time, the word ‘detachment’ created such a negative image in my mind that I disliked the mere mention of the word. However, it was through the teaching and guidance of a dear friend and mentor that I came to appreciate what detachment really means.

As she journeyed with me through one of the most emotionally challenging times in my life, I realised that no person, relationship nor thing really belongs to us.

This came alive for me even more through the years as I reflect on my siblings. My brothers and I share a close relationship and at the same time we really are separate individuals leading separate lives, in different places.

For many years after I decided to leave home to live on my own, I tried my hardest to preserve how we functioned and interacted and the way we were when I lived with my parents.

As the eldest, I wanted to always be close to them, sometimes forcing things, until I realised these efforts were only leaving me feeling exhausted. The same can be said for intimate relationships, in the sense that although we may be in committed relationships or even married, we do not breathe for that person but rather they take their own breaths.

We are together with each other yet separate. And I think it is very important to always remember this for fear we become possessive.

There is a power that we attain when we realise that we must not cling to anything or relationship for dear life, and yes, we should put in the work for our relationships to work but also bear in mind that nobody belongs to us.

I believe that this mindset would help us respect each other as gifts rather than objects to be possessed. Yours and mine thinking are not always healthy.

Relationships are blessings, not possessions.