18 May

Freeing Ourselves from Attachment to Outcome


We live in a culture that is all about attachment.  Attachment to ideas, material possessions and even people.  In counselling sessions I often hear things like “I cannot live anywhere but the family home” or “if this relationship doesn’t work out I can never be with someone else.”  Our attachment to outcome is what can sometimes leaves us disappointed or causes us to miss another opportunity because we are so focused on one thing that we don’t notice the other that is right before us.

In an article by Cherie DiNoia, Let Go of Attachment: You Can Be Happy Even If Things Change, the author explores the human experience of attachment.  With attachment can come a deep sense of loss when life doesn’t go as planned. “What if what I needed to get what I really want in life–peace and happiness–looked different than what I had imagined?”

What would happen if we set goals without caring about the outcome? Author Margaret Paul ponders this thought in her Huffington Post How to Set Goals Without Caring About Outcome. Perhaps a confusing concept as many of us believe a goal must have a specific outcome. Paul points out the difference between goals and attachment to outcome and what can happen with attachment.  “If we attach our happiness and worth to accomplishing our goals, then we will never feel happy until we have what we want.”

People may avoid new things for fear of failure.  In Want to Soar? Let Go of Outcome, Failure and Imperfection by Nicole Urdang says “by allowing a more accepting, gentle, kind approach to all areas of your life and detaching from rigid notions of what is OK, you will feel freer and more relaxed.”

By leaving our minds open we have many possibilities but choosing only one outcome limits us in ways we may not actually wish.  The words “I can’t” mean there is no other option or outcome.  What if we tried without fear of failure or loss? We might actually have an experience that brings personal growth and connection. So go ahead and set goals and open yourself to experience more joy in your life and know that sometimes pain, disappointment or fear can be part of that journey to happiness.


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