by Derek O'Neill
When you step back from your stress and the emotions that come with it, you are practicing positive detachment. If there are changes we can make, such as learning to say “no,” or not over-scheduling ourselves, or looking for help with a task that has us extended beyond our ability, we can lower our stress. Yet no matter how much or how little the shape of our external life can be rearranged, the internal shift is the most important. The same events and situations that cause you stress can be emotionally detached from in a healthy way. Detaching doesn’t mean you no longer care, or that you are just going through the motions. It means that you don’t allow the external world to trigger you. When stepping back from negative emotions becomes a new habit, you begin to clearly see that you have a choice in how stress affects you.
We think that we have certain material things, or are in a perfect relationship, or high-powered job. All of this causes suffering and stress. Nothing or no one else makes you whole. To be whole you have to find harmony within yourself. Stop and ask, “Who am I? What am I doing here? What are we born for? Is there something more to all of this?”
Your strength – and ability to deal with stress – comes from remaining open to all the experiences that life has for you. When you get to a stage where you begin to stop tagging those experiences as good or bad, and you just call them experiences, that’s when stress disappears and happiness flows.
Recognize your feelings and vulnerability, acknowledge the stress, and know that it is all part of life. Vulnerability is one of the greatest strengths a person has. If you are vulnerable, you will never be hurt.
It is the opposite of fear. Think about the roots of your stress beyond the actual situation or person that seems to be the cause of it. Are you operating from a place of fear, or are you embracing your vulnerability and fragility? When you embrace it instead of fighting it, you can let go of stress. Vulnerability is having the courage to say to people, “I am not perfect.”