The Difference between Commitment and Attachment

The Difference between Commitment and AttachmentBelle was committed.

She was going to stick with this relationship no matter what.

She was never going to give up. She wasn’t that sort of person. She despised people who got married then ended up divorcing six months later.

“No one knows how to commit anymore!” she told me. “They give up at the first sign of trouble.”

But I had a feeling something more was going on.

Pushing Belle a bit further, I found out that the man to whom she was so committed wasn’t exactly committed back. He didn’t treat her respectfully. He put himself first. He never talked about their future together.

Was it really commitment Belle was experiencing…

Or something else entirely?

Most of us consider commitment a very good thing. Committed people are the ones you want on your team. It’s no compliment to call someone a “commitment-phobe.”

But what if you’re committed to something that isn’t good for you?

Maybe you’re committed to a soul-destroying job or a toxic relationship. Maybe you’re committed to being right or seeing the world with blinders on. Is it still such a good thing?

That’s where the difference between commitment and attachment comes in.

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen explains that distinction like this:

“Attachment is a reflex, an automatic response which often may not reflect our deepest good. Commitment is a conscious choice, to align ourselves with our most genuine values and our sense of purpose.”[1]

So, when you make a commitment, you’re doing it for you. You’re making this choice because it aligns with your values. There’s a feeling of peace about it. You know in your heart it’s the right thing to do, regardless of how things turn out.

If you’re attached, on the other hand, you can’t let go. You hold on tight, because you’re desperate to get what you want. Attachment creates anxiety. It’s as if you’ve created a cage for yourself and walked right in.

It’s very easy to get attached and mistake that feeling for commitment.

That’s what was happening for Belle. She believed she was committed to her relationship, but in fact she was attached to an illusion. She wouldn’t give up until her boyfriend turned into the Prince Charming she knew he could be.

When you’re that attached to something, not even reality can deter you.

No one could tell Belle that the man she was with would never be the husband she dreamed of. The thought of losing this chance at happiness was more important to her than being true to her values.

But Belle’s values mattered. If she searched her heart, she could see that what she was actually committed to was a relationship where both parties treated each other with respect, put each other first, and built a future together.

Could she let go of her attachment and fear of loss if it meant serving that higher commitment?

Here are 3 questions you can use to test whether you’re sticking with your relationship for the right reasons.

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How to Avoid the Easiest Relationship Mistake

How to Avoid the Easiest Relationship MistakeSome breakups are worse than others.

When romance goes south over something big, at least it makes sense. But when things tank without obvious explanation, the lack of resolution is particularly upsetting.

There’s one really common relationship mistake that almost everyone has made at some point. According to Divorce Magazine (I swear I’m not making that up), this common mistake is one of the leading causes of divorce.[1] And yet, it’s so subtle, you might not even think of it as a mistake.

Would you like to know what it is and how to avoid it?

Imagine this scenario. Your guy meets you for dinner with a spring in his step. He’s in a good mood. You ask what’s up and he tells you about something good that happened in his day.

He’s clearly excited about it, but the good news doesn’t really interest you. Maybe his favorite team won, but you don’t like sports. Or he had a really good workout, but you don’t see why that something to get pumped up about.

How do you respond? The answer to that question has predictive powers.

Practically everyone knows it’s important to support your partner when things are rough. If he gets laid off, you know he’s going to need some encouragement. The common mistake most of us make happens at the opposite end of the spectrum.

It’s important to support your partner when things are good.

That can be hard to remember because people in good moods don’t seem to need support. We think of support as something we give when people are down. But if he can’t share his joy with you, that’s a huge hit to your intimacy.

If you don’t want to fall prey to this problem, there’s an easy solution.

The following solution sounds simple. And it is. In fact, it’s a foundational concept for building intimacy.

It has three parts:

  1. Recognize success.
  2. Acknowledge success.
  3. And celebrate success.

Now let me break it down for you so you can use this in your own life.

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The Most Important Thing for Real Romance

The Most Important Thing for Real RomanceHas a breakup ever caught you totally off guard? Sometimes we see them coming, and sometimes we just don’t.

One woman I spoke to recently said, “I was hoping things would work out, but the writing was on the wall. When it ended, I don’t think either of us was surprised.”

Within a couple of days, a different woman told me, “I just wish I’d been prepared. I really thought things were fine. When he said he didn’t want to be with me anymore, I was floored.”

Both of these women are smart and mature. One knew where her relationship was, and one didn’t.

Said another way, one of them knew how to accurately assess the state of her own relationship. That’s a vital skill—and fortunately, one you can learn.

And it’s not just vital when it comes to the possibility of breaking up. It’s vital for every stage of a romance.

In fact, learning how to take stock of your relationship might be the most important thing you can do to make your dating life more successful. You’ll know when things are good and why. You’ll also know when things aren’t so great.

Either way, you can take steps to make sure your needs are met and you’re pursuing what makes you happy.

So how do you check-in on your own romance? There are a lot of ways to gauge relationship health, but you only need three questions to get to the heart of the matter quickly.

The first question has to do with a gut-level feeling…

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3 Myths About Single Life That Keep You From Being Happy

3 Myths About Single Life That Keep You From Being HappyEveryone knows it’s hard being single.

It’s lonely, you keep putting yourself up for rejection, and it often feels as though all the good men are already taken.

But what if you looked at single life from a different angle?

That’s where two of the world’s most well-known spiritual leaders come in.

In 2016, The Book of Joy was a runaway bestseller, documenting a week of conversations between the Dalai Lama and his friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Now, dating wasn’t on the list of topics covered. The discussion centered on how we can be happy in a life filled with suffering.

Which isn’t all that far from how to find happiness even when the perfect love seems like a distant dream.

Despite their different backgrounds, these two great men kept coming back to the same theme:

Happiness lies in human connection.

That’s not just a spiritual truth. It’s a scientific one as well.

A Harvard study found that “our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.”[1]

Even more so than intelligence, money, or good genes, social ties contribute to a longer life. In fact, the study participants who were happiest with their relationships at the age of 50 were most likely to reach 80 in good health.

But what if you’re single?

Are you doomed to unhappiness?

That’s where the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama have some unconventional wisdom to share.

Let’s see how their advice shatters some of the myths about being single.

Myth #1. Being single is a lonely experience.

When you’re at a party and you’re the only one who’s single while everyone else is coupled up, you do feel alone. You feel left out. You feel the painful absence of someone at your side.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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