Nothing Is Permanent: Ways to Release Attachments to Someone You Can’t Be With

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“Impermanence is not something to be afraid of. It’s the evolution, a never-ending horizon.” ~Deepak Chopra

I have been reading a lot lately on attachment and impermanence. It’s a big topic, one that is often hard to wrap your head and heart around. How can I live a life without attachment? Doesn’t that mean that I am not being a loving or caring person? I mean really, no attachment—it just seems cold.

It’s true what they say: you can’t help who you love. In a perfect world, we would only be attracted to the people who are perfect for us. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Every once in a while we get hung up on someone we can’t be with. Whether they’re unavailable or simply not a good fit, it can be hard to put our thoughts aside and move on.

Here Are 10 Ways to Handle the Pain of Loving Someone You Can’t Have

1. Take up A New Hobby

While enrolling in a painting class or learning how to play the guitar won’t fix your broken heart, it will provide you with a distraction. Try to focus on something you enjoy doing and put your energy toward that, instead of pining over a lost love.

Find something that you really enjoy and put your energy into that. You’ll find that you pass the time much easier, and you might even stop thinking about them all the time. Finding ways to distract yourself from obsessing over someone that you can’t have will make it easier to move on.

2. Have a Support System

Let the people who care about you help you get through tough times. Surrounding yourself with friends and family members can remind you that you always have someone to turn to when you’re feeling down.

3. Enjoy your time together

When you’re spending time with someone that you love but can’t have, it can be tempting to ask for more. However, that will only lead to rejection and more pain. Instead, focus on enjoying the time that you do spend together. Focusing on the good times that you have means that you’ll have more good memories to draw on so that you’re not spending your time thinking about how badly you want to be with them.

4. Protect your feelings

Being this person’s friend is entirely possible. You can be there for them when they need it, but you also need to be able to know when something is too much. Learn to protect your feelings and set boundaries. If you find it hard to listen to them when they’re having troubles with their partner, it’s okay to set that boundary. Be there for them when you can, but also make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.

5. Learn to compartmentalize

This is an important tool in making sure that your mind isn’t being obsessed with your unrequited love when you’re not together. When you’re hanging out with them, make sure that you’re enjoying your time together to the fullest. However, when you’re apart, you want to make sure that you’re not letting your mind keep wandering back to them and distract you from doing your work.

6. Limit Contact with Them

If you’re in pain and having difficulty moving on, it may be time to limit contact with the person. It won’t be easy, but it may be the best way to help you heart heal. Time and space might be exactly what you need.

Relationship and dating expert Ravid Yosef says, “… Leave them behind. Keeping the line of communication open, no matter how good of ‘friends’ you think you’ll be is only keeping the hopes of a relationship alive.”

It might be upsetting at first, but you may just be opening old wounds every time you’re together. It’s time to give them space to heal.

7. Date Other People

This one might take time. But don’t keep yourself from seeing other people because you’re busy isolating yourself. When you’re ready, get back into the dating scene. Be careful not to compare your dates to other people. Just enjoy them for who they are.

8. Keep a Journal Keeping a journal can help you work through your feelings. Sometimes writing down your thoughts is the best way to find peace and move on. Be honest and open with yourself. Journaling can be quite therapeutic.

9. Let Yourself Sulk

Keeping your emotions buried won’t help you heal. If you need to sulk, it’s perfectly OK. Healing takes time. Just don’t get stuck wallowing for too long. Openly feeling your emotions will help you work through your feelings and move on.

10. Tell them how you truly feel

Expressing how you feel to the person in question may be one of the best things that you can do to help yourself both cope and move on. You don’t want to expect anything from them, because that will only lead to more heartache. Instead, simply be honest with how you feel, and how your unrequited love has been hurting you. They deserve to know how you feel about them just as much as you deserve to tell them.

Love is not about attachment or permanence. Love is about spending time with another person, sharing moments, experiences, and each other.

The moment we make it about “keeping” another for our own gain, our own need, it becomes about our ego, fears, and insecurities. A mindful, compassionate, kind being only wishes happiness and love for others. Sometimes happiness and love for others is moving on and letting go.

When you love someone who you can’t have, it can make your whole world turn upside down. Thankfully, these feelings are well known throughout the rest of the world, and you’re not alone in dealing with this type of unrequited love. Learning how to cope will make your life easier and happier than if you allowed yourself to stew in the pain of it all. With a deep breath and a full heart, I know just as my relationship is to the trees, so is my relationship with others. Free of the idea of attachment and permanence, we are able to see the simple beauty of this moment, now.

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