Self Initiation

How To Practice Detachment To Attain Happiness

Happiness: Subjective Or Objective

What makes people happy? What makes YOU happy?

Think about it for a bit. Amongst the many variables in your life were you able to dredge out an answer that you felt one hundred percent sure about? Is having more money, better health, or a better education a route to happiness?

We all think we have a pretty good idea of what makes or what we think may make us happy. Social scientists have studied the confounding question of the determinants of happiness and have found that a persons view on happiness is subjective. Really? Yes, really! The studies showed that people who are wealthy are only marginally happier than the average populace.

There is also indication that when a person rises above the poverty level happiness increases. Meaning that when our basic needs are met we are able to evaluate our well being as positive factor that we attribute to happiness. Happiness sounds a lot like economics rather than a philosophy.

The top three things that seemed to have an effect on happiness was love, work satisfaction, and genetics and personality. So it seems that we overestimate the pleasure we will receive if we finish college, get a new car, or get a raise in income. This might all sound incredulous but think about a moment(s) when you focused on attainment of a material thing or circumstance, was the level of happiness that you expected there once you attained this? The thing is as humans we don’t have everything planned out nor do we have good forecasting abilities. At times we indulge in self-destructive behavior and rationalize it as self-care. Attachment to perceived ideal outcomes can drain us emotionally.


To understand the limitation of things,

desire them.

Lao Tzu

Detachment From Expectations

We hold emotional attachment such as feelings of happiness to exterior things. If we are always focusing on what the outcome of a circumstance will be we will miss the chance to take action. This is where living in the moment takes hold, do something now rather than later. To do that we have set goals and take the first step. We have to detach from desire. You might be aware of the principle of non-attachment or detachment in Buddhism, Jainism, and Taoism. These schools of thought teach that desire leads to suffering. Now if you are not ready to give up all your material belongings just yet reach for the attainable. Start by detaching from expectations. Science and spirituality both come to the conclusion that : To desire is to lead a life of suffering.

Here are three things that might help to detach from expectation(s):

1. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else

2. Objective realities are not as important as your feelings. The way you feel matters.

3. Leave expectations at the door

Also, keep in mind that happiness is not a square box and it is a complex constellation of elements.

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