Love v Attachment

“Attachment is the source of all suffering.”

Buddha

I have been talking with a friend who is experiencing massive and confusing feelings that all stem from heartache. The pain brings on unusual emotions for her. There is anger, frustration, fear, malice, jealousy, and a troubling amount of victim conversation. When we are under this type of self-generated, circumstantial pressure, it is easy for our “shadow qualities” to come out to play. The shadow qualities that we’ll touch on the most here will deal mainly with love versus attachment.

Throughout this message, I may use the words “right” or “wrong” occasionally, but please know that I mean “effective” and “ineffective”. This is a method of transformational vocabulary that I will talk about in a separate post. With that said, let’s talk about some of the ways attachment does not serve you.

I think we know that when our true selves are swallowed up by overwhelming emotion, we are innately aware of the fact that some of our feelings can be validated while some cannot. Now, I know that there is a saying in the mental health community that’s been going around that says, “ALL FEELINGS ARE VALID.” However, if a person decides that they must kill their spouse in order to be happy, I could never get behind that; I couldn’t validate that person’s feelings or reasoning. So, we have established that not all feelings are supportive for your emotional well-being (therefore unable to be validated), but that even if they don’t serve us, they are not considered “wrong.”

The most important lesson to learn about attachment is how and when it can happen. It can really sneak up on you if you aren’t aware of it. Some people go through a great, big chunk of their lives never experiencing circumstances in which these types of feelings pop up. Furthermore, this is not JUST an issue with those who are experiencing heartache. Attachment happens when we take a part of our identity and place it in something outside of ourselves. At the time, it may seem like the right thing to do, but it doesn’t serve you, your partner/partners, or the relationship/relationships as a whole.

e.g. A professional football player will sometimes make football the biggest thing in their world. It won’t only be something they love but something that is a part of them…too big a part of them. The trouble is that you can only play pro ball for a maximum of 25-35 years, and we live much longer than that. Whenever the player retires, there is nothing for them afterwards. They experience existential crisis, emptiness, and severe depression. It’s as if their life has lost its meaning entirely. They have essentially misplaced their identity. Many cases like this end in suicide, which is why I believe it gets to be talked about. Learning how to keep your identity as your own and making YOU the biggest thing in your world could save your or a loved one’s life.

The potentially fatal mistake in romantic relationships is one partner placing their happiness (their identity) in the hands of another. They may be independent in many ways, but they are emotionally dependent on another person/persons for their overall joy. This type of approach to a relationship is wildly unhealthy, and it can produce some wicked insecurities or “stories” about who you are. The main issue is that when a scenario like this occurs between two people, the dependent one will feel as though they have “lost” their happiness. When, in fact, they never truly had their own happiness in the first place. These people experience the worst flavor of heartache because even the happiness they thought they had during the relationship was a sort of “pseudo-happiness.”

Some of the stories people tend to create about themselves are: -“I’m not good enough to…” -“I’m unworthy of…” -“Without my partner, I am nothing, and my life has no meaning.” -“I cannot be amicable because I am only capable of showing this person romantic love or hate.”

None of these things are true. Your life does have meaning, you are capable, you are good enough, and you are WORTHY.

Amicability typically goes out the window in these situations. How can you expect to generate a new friendship out of an old romantic connection if you don’t love yourself? Now, I know many people see loving yourself as going to exercise, eating healthy, or treating yourself to a certain experience. BUT the biggest way for you to love yourself is purely psychological. The love that you have for yourself gets to be an unconditional love that transcends all the circumstances of your life. Your mood can be made of soft putty which can be molded and shaped by outside forces, but your self-love gets to be made of carbonized tungsten that is unwavering and strong.

I don’t feel comfortable moving on without doing my best to state the actual difference between these two ideas. It is quite difficult for me to do without using analogies. So, let’s see what Webster has to say about it:

love – strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties attachment – the state of being personally attached

Okay, so Webster didn’t have much to say on attachment, but I’m about to do my best to simplify these ideas within the context of this writing. When you love someone in a romantic way, you WANT them. When you are attached not only to the person but also the outcomes of interactions between the two of you, it is felt as a NEED.

These things are more different than you might think. This is the part where I throw as many analogies at you as I can. You can be a child and love watching television, but if you have SDD (Screen Dependency Disorder), it is quite different. If a parent turns off the television and the child freaks out and throws a tantrum, then it’s a need. One is healthy, the other unhealthy. If you like collecting a certain thing, then that’s a great hobby that you get to enjoy. If you find yourself on an episode of HOARDERS, then you have crossed the line from want to need, love to attachment, and healthy to unhealthy. I hope you can begin to see the difference between placing value in something/someone and creating an unhealthy “addiction” to something/someone.

All of the information thus far has been from the perspective of preventing this type of behavior within a romantic connection. However, many of the people interested in reading this are probably looking for answers that can get them out of this very situation. They are likely stuck in a whirlwind of emotion that brings them through a vicious circle of negative feelings toward either the person they love or themselves. It is somewhere in this circle that we tend to write the stories about ourselves that make having a happy relationship in the future difficult or even impossible.

So, how do you know if you are one of these people? How can you tell if this is what you are experiencing? Well, an easy way would be to remember back to where I said that you were capable, good enough, and worthy. Did you feel anything come up for you like disbelief or disagreement? Did you roll your eyes and decide that you would read on because you are that “finisher” type of person? If any of these feelings popped up for you, then I can say definitively that you have some due attention to be given to your self-esteem, self-love, and the insecurities (stories) that affect them so much.

What do you do to regain your identity after feeling like you lost it? Well, if you are an actionable person who prefers to have a game plan, I can suggest a few action steps you can take on a daily basis that will support you in a powerful way. The first is to recite affirmations that are personal to you. They can be anything from a daily mantra to a simple statement designed to influence your subconscious mind. Here are some examples I’ve come across and some I use myself: “There is much good to come (this would be the mantra-style example).” ‘There’s greatness within you (this would be the simple statement example).’ ‘I’ll one day be among the greatest speakers in the world (this is an example of specificity).’ You can have as many of these as you want, but they get to be tailored to your particular circumstances and able to be memorized.

I simply won’t allow myself to mention daily affirmations without shedding light on a specific exercise that I picked up from the health documentary, Forks Over Knives. One of the interviewees in the documentary said that this daily action step will be a major catalyst in the development of one’s love toward the self. What you do is step in front of the same mirror every day be it your bathroom, bedroom, or whichever mirror you can see yourself and your body. Look yourself over real good, and then stare yourself in the eyes for a moment. Finally, say to yourself,”I love myself unconditionally right now.” After that, just sit with yourself while maintaining eye contact with yourself as long as it takes. For what, you ask? The voices that swoop in to ruin that moment. You need to know that they are going to come. Voices that say things like,”Yeah right, how could you love yourself with thighs like that,” or “No one loves you, so you shouldn’t either.” These voices will come to you if your subconscious mind doesn’t believe your verbal words. Do this every morning, and you will notice that the voices get softer and softer, weaker and weaker, and smaller by the day until you no longer hear them. It is then that you will be ready to start growing a healthy amount of self-love for yourself.

Moving forward to other action steps, I would suggest meditation. This is something that was quite “woo woo” for many years, but science has come a long way. Meditation is a solid way to supercharge your brain for physical and mental cleaning. The physical part is the cleansing of the protein buildup called, BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This is the protein responsible for degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The mental side of it is allowing your brain to stay focused on what you want to focus on while being less disturbed by thoughts that pop up throughout the day. If I were to be asked, I would say that this is the most actionable way to process emotions that don’t serve you. I use the Headspace Plus app. It gives you guided meditations making the idea less intimidating for people who’ve never tried it before.

Self-awareness will be my final suggestion here. This is easier said than done. I don’t know if anyone can be 100% self-aware 100% of the time. There are always sneaky little insecurities that slip into our day that tend to throw us off in big ways. It happens to everyone I know, including myself. However, when you are dealing with attachment, the insecurities are not small. They are big, and you get to battle it out within yourself more times than with the support of a councilor or therapist. This is why it is so important to catch these insecurities while they are saplings rather than avoiding the issue until it is a great Oak. A high level of self-awareness will allow you to do this. You’ll be able to catch them faster and faster over time. It’s all in identifying the point of trigger. When you have something come up for you, step outside of yourself and question it. Ask yourself why it is you are feeling the way you are. If you can answer that question, then you can craft your response in a way that you desire with a clear, thoughtful decision. If you can’t answer it, then it is still a win because you have taken enough time to think about the emotion from outside yourself. This provides you the opportunity to respond to it in a peaceful, supportive way regardless of whether it is directed toward yourself or someone else. Keep this in mind…regardless of the feeling be it sadness, anger, worthlessness, or jealousy, you have a choice. You can let this “flare-up” of emotion affect you like a freight train smashing into your body, or you can let it affect you like a small house fly landing on your arm. At first, they may all be pretty freight train-y, but with your practice of self-awareness, you can turn that freight train to a fly.

We know ourselves better than anyone else. We know our mind, and we know our body. I always go back to the Buddhist teaching of being unattached. Saying that you are committed to being unattached is positive as opposed to the idea of being attached and then letting go. Practicing unattachment (to the outcomes) primes us for situations in the future into which we would typically throw our identity. If we get ourselves into a situation like this with our partner and realize it, it’s important that we are open and honest about where we stand with this. If we find ourselves in a position of identity crisis post-break-up, we must not get caught up in the vicious circle that has raised the divorce rate for so many years.

How to Wake Up Primed for Focus

My friends and I always share ideas about morning routines. However, many of them go straight to what’s their morning workout. I believe in getting your heart rate up right when you wake up. I think that’s a great way to prep your body for the day’s work ahead. I believe in daily meditation. This is a great way to achieve focus and concentration throughout your day. It can allow you to bring a feeling of constant peace as you tackle the day one item at a time. All this being said, I don’t plan to write an entire piece about morning routines. Those are abundant, and maybe I’ll share what I do in more detail later on. As for now, I want to talk about the most important part of my routine ever added.

As an aspiring speaker, I was young and eager to make an impact. I knew that this was going to require me to learn as much as I could in a short amount of time. In my down time working as a medical courier, I would listen to podcasts and “tapes”. Now, when I say tapes, I mean great speakers that have their material on YouTube. The reason I call those videos “tapes” is because of what inspired me to take a listen. It was Les Brown. I’ll paraphrase what he always says about this:

In the first 20 minutes of waking up, your brain is operating at 10.5 wavelengths per second. This is when your subconscious is at its most impressionable.

~Les Brown

I heard Mr. Brown say this many times before I took it seriously. I decided to incorporate this habit into my morning routine after moving across the country in pursuit of my career as a speaker. I can’t say that I do it every morning because I’m not perfect. I do, however, make a great effort to avoid missing a day. It’s just like meditation. If you fall off the horse, you may be a little slow to hop back on.

After seeing what results this habit can produce in my life, I now treat it as a vital part of starting my day. Many of the videos you’ll find on YouTube are longer than 20 minutes though. Sometimes, you can find something solid that is around 10 minutes, but that’s not often. From day to day, the process can look different. Some days, I wake up and I leisurely scroll through to find the winning video title, pick a video, then sit and listen until it is over. Other, more time-crunched days, I’ll have a video picked out before I go to sleep as to skip the searching process and maximize time for other things like exercise and writing. On days that are super crunched and I don’t have time for a routine at all, I will play one of those tapes over a portable speaker in the shower. I’m committed to the listening every single day.

Who you listen to is important because you want to listen to folks that match your flavor of inspiration. Are you a Gary Vaynerchuk type or a Eckhart Tolle type? Those are two very different styles of delivery for two different types of people. I listen to the people I wish to emulate. Those powerful speakers such as Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas (E.T. The Hip Hop Preacher), John Maxwell, and, of course, Les Brown. Listening to this combination of people in my waking moments has had a significant affect on my life.

I barely even need anything else to keep me focused on who I want to become or what I wish to create in this world. Some people use the sticky notes on the mirror method as reminders for mindfulness or as a grounding technique. Some people use daily affirmations to source what they wish to create through the law of attraction. Others read books filled with information concerning the line of work, lifestyle, or goals they wish to adopt into their lives. I do all these things almost daily. I can tell you that not only would these other habits not be as powerful, but they simply wouldn’t exist without this constant flow of motivation that I feed myself when I wake up.

Just as we can prime our mind and body, we can prime our soul by giving ourselves time to really think about our life and set the pace for ourselves right whenever we begin each day. I personally invite you to give this a go. It doesn’t matter if you are broke and struggling or rich and thriving. This method of priming yourself will absolutely influence how you walk, talk, speak, and think all day long.

Emotional Weight

I’d love to post a video of the following slam poetry later on when I’m at my home computer. I’ve performed it many times for different audiences, but I’ve never written it out. So, here it is for the first time in written form. Enjoy.

People say I lift a lot, but they’re just comparing me to them.

They say I lift a lot, but more often times than not you can spot me on a cot that I got not to squat but to watch TV a lot. There’s some honesty for ya’.

Though am I really moving weight? Am I holding on to pain done to me by another? Am I holding on to all those grudges? Do I hold anger and resentment in my heart? No….

You see, that’s a much greater weight than the 45-pound plates that I’ve placed on my plate. I wish there were more ways for me to demonstrate that hate is a much greater weight to manipulate especially in dire straights.

IT’S A SHAME!!

That many of the lives we see are uphill battles filled by a stream of never-ending adversity.

LET THAT WEIGHT FALL OFF YOUR SHOULDERS, and begin to see how easy it can be to flow through your life—like a fish in the sea. Now, I know that may seem corny, but if you believe then you can see that message here is the epitome of BEING…free.

Forgiveness is your friend. Let that weight fall off your shoulders.

Chance Ragan 2018
I always come back to this material when I feel myself starting to carry negativity in my subconscious. It has always been easier for me to carry positive emotions rather than negativity. I’ll no longer choose to weigh myself down with the needless habit of over-packing. I’m only bringing the necessities, and hatred is not one of them!

My Feelings in the Beginning

4/11/19 19:05

                In all openness and transparency, I’m sharing these personal and professional thoughts with the world for a mutual benefit. I’m a speaker who wishes to move the hearts of the masses. Documenting the information that I have written in my journals and saved in the fathomless number of memories contained within my mind will serve me in the future—I can feel it. It’s going to be what my good friend, Cody, describes as a “triangular flow of beneficial actions”, which looks like this on paper:

Blogging    ⇒   Freelance Writing    ⇒   Speaking Career

  Each action will serve the other. The visual makes it seem like a linear relationship, but it is certainly cyclical. Each opportunity to speak will, no doubt, create greater stories in greater numbers because it’s highly likely that I’ll be witnessing other people speak as well.


“If we do this one small, uncomfortable thing every day, then we can reap the benefits of stepping into that discomfort earlier in life.”

CMR

Therefore, the speaking will add fuel to the power of this collection. I wish I could aptly describe the elation I’ve been experiencing in preparation of these action steps. It is an ideal set up that I’ve had before but lost due to changing wants within my own life. Do you have a setup that you’ve created in your life similar to this? Do you do a thing that serves you in doing another thing at a higher level of excellence which serves you in doing something else with a greater level of skill or results? Are you a game tester? If you are, I’d bet you play games all the time outside of work. Are you an athlete? If you are, I’d bet that you don’t only train on the field/court/rink.

I feel like this is what entrepreneurs mean when they say that you get to work toward your dream every hour of every day. They don’t mean to practice that one thing all day; they mean to do things all day that move you toward your dream. Even my daily activities can be broken down in such a way that you can see the result-generating potential. I provided the above “triangle of benefit” earlier to explain a general point. However, the breakdown would have a bunch of items outside of this formula. For example:

  • I read a book on speaking, personal growth, or money management every month, which gives me additional knowledge and wisdom to place in my arsenal.
  • I workout 3 or 4 times a week, which keeps my brain sharp and my body healthy.
  • I meditate and/or recite daily affirmations often, which brings focus to the present and a visualization of the future.

I’m sure I could go full analyzer on my full daily/weekly schedule, but it wouldn’t strengthen the point I’m attempting to get across.

At every time of the day, we can do seemingly small things that serve us in the long run. Stephen Covey calls these “Quadrant II” activities from his interpretation of how [important and urgent] tasks are in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They might be comfortable; they might be uncomfortable. These particular tasks have much importance within the span of your life, but they lack urgency in the present moment. For instance, taking a cold shower early in the morning. That sounds uncomfortable, and it is, but it is many times more beneficial than a hot shower. If we do this one small, uncomfortable thing every day, then we can reap the benefits of stepping into that discomfort earlier in life.

My friend, Ben, says it best: ‘Consistent action toward creating gives you the confidence and the competence to create more of what you want in life.’ Are there little things you can do between the big things that matter? Yes, every day. Are there things on which we can put the time in to move us forward every day? Absolutely. Can these things directly affect each other by being indirectly connected? I don’t enjoy using this word, but they not only could—they should. The greater the degree of interconnection between the things we spend our time doing, the greater our level of success will be.

A1s…Good to the Very Last Breath

20:00 4/18/19

For such a long time, I was resistant to the idea that the people around me were influencing my decisions. My brother and I had a wide variety of friends growing up. Some of them saved lives on a regular basis; others were considered quite dangerous. The powerful realization for me was that the people around me weren’t forcing me to make ineffective decisions, but they were not pushing me forward as to encourage powerful decisions.

That is where the journey to shaping my inner circle started. It’s a never-ending project if you are a social person. The most crucial step to shaping your inner circle is becoming aware of who you would consider that to be. Your inner circle, or your “A1s” as I like to refer to them, don’t have to be someone that you physically see all the time. It could be a person with which you often talk on the phone. Anyone that is a frequent visitor or tourist of your mind is a candidate. Jim Rohn says,”Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.” This not only means to be cautious of who you let in but also what you let into your mind. We are constantly influenced as human beings. Awareness can sometimes be our only weapon to combat the influences in our every day lives.

After really putting thought into who your A1s might be, go ahead and make a list. It’s important to know ahead of time that this list will almost definitely change over time and that’s okay. Many of us travel, live different places, or change our lifestyle in such a way that it draws us closer to some people and away from others. Typically, you can calculate the five people you spend the most time with or those with whom you spend the most time sharing your thoughts.

The next step is typically the most difficult. That is to reach out! Make time for these future-shaping individuals! At times, they could be your only lifeline. I’ve always sought out quality relationships with people I could consider “flat tire friends”. Obviously, these are friends that you know you could call at three o’clock in the morning to help you change that tire. Les Brown’s famous acronym,”OQP”, is something I think about when approaching a new friendship. It stands for “Only Quality People”. Don’t use your time developing relationships with people who have no drive in their own life simply because they are lazy or complacent. These people don’t serve you or your future. They will listen to your goals but not champion them. They will attend your events but not co-organize them. They will witness you grow, but they will remain the same. I’ll reiterate Jim Rohn’s words from before,”Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.”

As soon as I started to distance myself from relationships that didn’t serve me, I noticed something that I 100% expected. Nothing changed; nothing miraculous happened in my life. In hindsight, it was also 100% a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t want to believe that I was being influenced to any extent by the people around me. It was fear of being easily manipulated. I had manipulated people in my past, and feeling it done to me made me feel insecure. Just to be clear, regardless of our level of intellect, we can all be manipulated by others. That was hard to accept for me. Luckily, I was placed around a group of good people that kept me committed to OQP. It took years for me to cultivate those meaningful connections with the people around me. This is no easy task, especially in this day and age. You get to run the numbers just like a salesperson to figure out who is truly worth your time. Keep close this Latin saying,”sed omnis plaeclara tam difficilia quam rara sunt”, for it rings truer today than ever before.

“sed omnis plaeclara tam difficilia quam rara sunt”

“but everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find”

Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl

I’d love to reach as many of the people out there that are like I was years ago. Drowning in my own ego and slathered with arrogance like those I looked down upon…what a vicious circle that was! I thought similarly to a bunch of young men in their early 20’s; I thought I was an immovable rock of individuality. However, I’m about to lay down some cold, hard, psychological facts about how influenced a human can be:

  • Each one of us has a 72% influence on our inner circle (our friends)
  • Each one of us has a 33% influence on our secondary circle (our friend’s friends)
  • Each one of us has a 12% influence on our tertiary circle (our friend’s friend’s friends!!)

“Mathematically, the decisions we make on a daily basis affect people that we will never even meet.”

CMR

So, we are, in fact, being influenced by people that we don’t even know! Isn’t that incredible?! We may know some of the folks in our secondary circle, but our tertiary circle is filled with strangers! With this said, I can tell you that mathematically, the decisions you make on a daily basis affect people that you will never even meet. After learning about this from a wonderful guest my friend, Lewis‘, had on his podcast, there was no denying the power of connection,the flexibility of human individualism, or my ability to influence those around me in a powerful way.

At this point, there is no claiming that you are the exception to the rule of influence. Implement these ideas that have been taught for ages and see what kind of changes you can make in your surroundings. Become aware of your current inner circle (Fab Five, A1s, Ride or Dies, et cetera), create a list of those people and how they affect your life, and then, put in the time, energy, and effort that it takes to keep these powerful relationships alive.

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.”

-Ratan Tata