This week’s musing is on something I struggle with: taking a step back. This is a topic that I’ll cover over several posts as I work to reprogram the habits which make it so hard for me to do. I hope you can grow with me if you too struggle with this or know someone who does.
In general, I’m a logical person. I like to think things through and act rationally. However, this is not always the case.
I’ve come to realize that whenever I think of something as highly important, I struggle to let it go unattended. It could be a project, a person, or even a habit. If I think it’s important, I feel an overwhelming need to tend to it. This habit has brought me great success in some areas of my life. However, it comes at the cost of my peace. I’ve learned that nothing is worth that. Most victories do not require high attention to detail at all stages. Therefore, I’ve decided to make a consistent, daily effort to change this habit.
This process will not be the same for everyone, but here is mine in its first stage:
1. Identify your attachment style. Mine is a blend of secure and anxious. I’m relaxed most of the time, but pull things closer to me when I worry. You can identify your style here.
2. Identify why you have that attachment style. Ask yourself the hard questions. What have you gone through that makes it difficult to take a step back? Do you fear abandonment or failure? Do you worry about illogical events manifesting without your involvement? No question is too large or too small. Really think about it.
3. Take inventory of what you’re too involved in right now. If you think you’re too involved, you probably are. Write it down. Keep this list near you. I recommend keeping it on your phone.
4. Under each item, write what will happen if you continue to be too involved. Maybe you’ll be in a constant state of exhaustion or you’ll push people away by keeping them too close. Keep your statements logical. Don’t wander too far into the hypothetical. I use this format: “If I do not step back from _____, I will _____.”
5. Under each item, write why you need to take a step back. This will likely be highly personal. Let yourself feel and evaluate. I start my sentences with “I need to take a step back because…” Do this for every item. It could be a sentence or a paragraph. Write without editing. Be raw and truthful. Take as much time as you need. You deserve to have this time with yourself.
6. Give yourself permission to slow down. Think or say “I give myself permission to slow down.” Do this every time you feel yourself getting too involved or trying to reattach to something on your list. Remember that all things need space to grow — yourself included. A tree’s roots will eventually break through a box. Don’t be a box. Be a field that allows all your important projects, habits, and people to grow without bounds. You deserve it, and they do too.
7. Remember that everything and everyone will be okay without you. For those with anxious attachment styles, this will be difficult but it is true. It’s not healthy to carry the weight of everything and everyone you value. They’ve existed without you and will continue to do so. Love yourself enough to realize that stepping back does not mean letting go or losing out. It is the process of regaining peace. It will not feel like that in these beginning stages. I struggle with this step every day. Yet, I trust that a fully secure attachment style is worth the work. It will not always feel like this.
8. Establish healthy coping mechanisms. Some days will be easier than others. Come up with a plan for when you feel yourself slipping. Personally, I’ve started doing Kundalini Yoga every morning, running at least three times a week, writing inspirational letters to myself, and playing the guitar more often. Do something that grounds you. Read your list as often as necessary. Remember why you are doing this. The uncomfortable feelings will pass, but you must work through them otherwise they’ll stagnate and linger. Work through the feelings as they come. Find what works for you, and always give yourself time to do the work even if you don’t want to. Again, you are worthy of a healthy attachment style, but it will not come easily. Humbly accept what needs to be done, and do it.
9. Accept when you fail, but never stop putting in the work. Attachment is not something that will change overnight. It will be difficult, and you will fail at times. When this happens, allow yourself to feel. Process what happened. Identify where you went wrong. Never stop working to better yourself.
10. Revisit your list every morning and night. Reflect on how you’re doing. Odds are you’ll improve every day. Remember that where you are today is better than where you were yesterday, even if you made a mistake. Growth is not easy; no one expects it to be. Yet, all growth is beautiful. You are blossoming.
As you work through this process, remember to be kind to yourself. Attachment is part of a much larger web of understanding. You’ll likely have to work through much more than your attachment style to remain at a healthy distance from what you’re too involved in. It’s okay if the process takes you months or years to complete. What matters is that you are trying and actively working on yourself. You’re becoming more beautiful than you already are (because you are beautiful). Never stop growing.
Thank you for reading. Good luck on the journey. I’ll see you along the way✨