We’re often unnecessarily dependent on so many people, things, and situations. Just because we believe we cannot live without them, or achieve things without them, doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, most of the time this irrational, unhealthy attachment holds us back, hindering our growth, or worse, sabotaging it.
This episode is all about taking a proper look at what kinds of useless crap we might be holding on to and letting go of it all. Let’s start that spring cleaning, yeah?
Listen on the embedded player below, or on your preferred podcast player. If reading is your jam, then scroll down for the transcript. Enjoy! 🙂
“So many times there are people far closer to us in our daily lives – friends, family members, who we believe we cannot live without. We believe they have to validate us, and we always wait on their approval. And we feel like without their support and approval, we can’t make anything happen. Here’s the thing, we can actually let go of these attachments. It’s very, very possible.”Susmitha Veganosaurus – The Feel Good Factor Podcast
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Transcript of episode about letting go of unnecessary, unhealthy attachment
(gently edited for a better reading experience)
Picture this. I’m five years old. My sister and I are ready to get into the swimming pool. But I refuse to get in without my armbands.
My dad says, “you know how to swim now, you don’t need them!” But I start whining “illa, beku, beku” (Kannada), which basically means, “no, I want it, I want it”. I will not get into the pool without my armbands. I’m so scared I’ll drown without them.
To top it off, my sister, who’s younger than me, has happily taken off her armbands and she’s splashing around, swimming so well. And my parents are like, “look at her, she’s swimming. She’s not afraid, you can do that too.” But I’m like, “No!” And now I’m blaming my sister. Why did she have to be so good?
I realise that the guard is quietly saying something to my parents. I miss what he said, but as soon as he said it, my parents have this little, sly smile, and then they slip the armbands onto my arms. They’re like, “okay, go ahead and swim.”
I’m suspicious. What was that?
I have a perceptive little mind. You know, kids have very perceptive minds, they understand… or they notice a lot more than we think they do. So yeah, I was like that.
I knew something sneaky happened there. You know, one moment my parents were refusing to put armbands on me, and the next they’re putting it on me and letting me get into the pool. But I can’t figure out what it is.
It was only much later I realised that the guard had suggested that they remove the air from the bands a little at a time. So for the longest time, for I don’t know, months together, I used to be swimming around with nearly flat bands!
There was just enough air for them to stay on my arms, but not really enough to keep me afloat. So I was keeping myself afloat because I was swimming perfectly well. But the whole time, I was under the impression that those useless, empty things were protecting me.
I believed that I couldn’t progress, I couldn’t be safe, I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t float without them
Yeah at some point, finally, my parents did convince me to take the armbands off. And once I’d done that, I knew real freedom! You know, I got over the fear after a couple of laps, and then I knew real freedom.
I could actually swim faster, they weren’t getting in the way anymore. And I could do things like side breathing, which are very important to get your freestyle swimming right. If you’re a swimmer you know this, side breathing is very important.
So then of course over the years I got really good with swimming. And for so long people would look at me and my sister swim and say, “oh my god, you two swim like little fish!”
A little silly, no? All that time I wasted clutching onto my armbands, and insisting on having them. Being so scared to go forward without them.
I know, you’ll say, “Kids. Come on, you know kids are gullible, they’re innocent. They have all these fears. They have all these attachments. It’s understandable.”
Sure, but guess what? Yup. Way into adult life, all of us have these silly, unnecessary attachments
Things, people, situations that we believe we cannot live without, that we believe we cannot achieve anything without. Can you think of some? When you really honestly sit and contemplate, I’m sure you will figure this out.
How many people are there in your life who you think, “Without them, I’m nothing. Without them, I can’t really do something, I can’t really achieve something”? Or what kind of things are you attached to which you feel you can’t live without? You can’t do without? Perhaps even things like habits, foods, routines, so many things in our lives.
Some of them are terrible for us, and we hold on to them. And they’re easier to identify because you know they’re bad for you, right? But we somewhere believe, we tell ourselves the excuse, that we can’t live without this thing. Or we can’t live without this habit. This is who I am, this is my quality.
Or “this person”, you know, “I need their presence in my life. I need their constant validation, their support, their guidance. Otherwise, I’m nothing, I can’t do anything, I can’t achieve stuff.”
When we had our restaurant, we had this amazing team of people
Everyone, well, almost everyone, was perfectly suited for the place. It was a delicate ecosystem, the energy. Everybody balanced each other out beautifully. Everybody contributed something meaningful to the business. Even most of our volunteers or interns contributed something positive and good to the business, and they moved on, moved away.
But there was this one person, this horrible little man who was a part of the team. And he was taking care of a few backend things. For whatever reason, for the longest time, we believed we couldn’t survive without him. That the business would come to a grinding halt without him.
So even though we knew how horrible he was… like, every day he’d come into the restaurant, those hours that he was present, the energy was negative. Something, somehow was wrong. Everything was filled with friction, and people were clashing with each other. He’d always create some kind of an issue.
We should have gotten rid of him much sooner
If we had, we would have moved on so much better in the business, so much faster. We would have saved so much time, so much energy. We’d have had so much more peace of mind.
But we didn’t. We held on to him, and we let him stay. And we let him do his inefficient… Yep, he was actually not even good at whatever job he was doing, and yet we believed we couldn’t live without him.
So at some point, we managed to get him to work for us only part time. And the moment that happened, the moment he stopped coming into work every single day, the entire energy shifted. Things started flowing so much smoother with the business.
Even then, till almost the very end, we were still holding on to him, and dependent on him to quite an extent. I don’t have many regrets when it comes to my business, but one of my biggest regrets is not having completely gotten rid of that person. This person who wasn’t contributing to our team in a positive way.
He was far more dangerous than those armbands because he was not a minor annoyance, a minor hindrance, he was actually negatively impacting our work. And yet we continued to hold on to him and be dependent on him.
So yes, this happens when you’re an adult too. You just start fooling yourself
We have these illusions, this sense of denial that we can’t get around. Sometimes we get dependent on people, on things, and we think, “hey, we can’t do anything without them.”
Now, that was an example of somebody in a business team. And yes, colleagues are important because we do spend most of our day at work with these people. Yet it’s easier to cut off from a colleague, right? But so many times there are people far closer to us in our daily lives – friends, family members, who we believe we cannot live without.
We believe they have to validate us, and we always wait on their approval. And we feel like without their support and approval, we can’t make anything happen. Here’s the thing, we can actually let go of these attachments. It’s very, very possible.
You don’t even have to cut these people out of your life entirely, you just have to change the dynamics of the relationship
You need to spend lesser time looking for their support. That’s it, you can spend time with them, you can be with them, but they don’t have to support you in what you do. You can do things without them, you can achieve things without them.
The horrible things are easier to identify. But then there are so many things which are not necessarily bad for you, yet you don’t need them. You don’t need them, and they’re kind of slightly getting in your way.
You drop them and you’re so much more free, you can just move forward so much faster in your life, soar so much higher without this stuff, without clutching on to these attachments, these unnecessary things, people situations.
An even simpler area of life to get rid of unnecessary, useless attachments and crap, is basically stuff that we’ve collected over the years
Things that we think we need, and then we hoard them, and pile them. And they just sit there collecting dust, and layers and layers of stuff. Occupying your home, your cupboards, your work table, your kitchen, whatever it is, right? Occupying these spaces unnecessarily, and not allowing other things to come in, better things to come in.
I realised the biggest impact of this when I moved. Because when you move from one place to another, you simply cannot haul things that you’ve collected over decades. And that is a point at which you realise, “oh my god, I have so much crap that I don’t need, that I don’t use!”
A lot of it may not be crap, a lot of it may even be good stuff, but it’s not useful to you anymore
It doesn’t play a role in your life anymore. It’s just holding you back, slowing you down. During the move, I got rid of so much stuff, oh my God, it was incredibly freeing. Aahhhh, deep breath in and out. I felt like I could breathe more for the first time in a decade.
So how about this? Why don’t you start by looking at the stuff you’ve collected, stuff that you have, which really isn’t necessary for you? Start with one part of your house, maybe just your cupboard (because, you know, clothes are something that we tend to hoard a lot) and then move on from one place to another, to another.
Dispassionately look at these things and say, “Okay, what do I need? What do I not need? What is actually useful right now in my life for me to keep moving forward in a positive, light, smooth, easy, flowing way?”
And then you just start getting rid of the other good stuff, other bad stuff. Whatever’s there, just start getting rid of it.
Believe me, there’s so much there you think you need right now, which you absolutely do not need
Take my word for this. And you already know, you don’t even need to take my word for this, I’m sure you already know this on the inside, right? So how about with spring that has just started we get to do some spring cleaning? Of our lives, of our stuff, of our digital spaces.
Everywhere you are holding on to things, relationships, if you have attachments, if you have habits, whatever you’re holding on to that is not serving you, get rid of it. Flush it out of your life, cleanse it out, and watch the freedom, the freshness, the joy and the clarity it brings into your life.
Transcribed using Otter
“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.
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