What is Attachment Thinking?
Life’s Problems: Is “How” we are Thinking the Problem?
We live in a stressful world full of external pressures – our jobs, sorting our lives out, paying house mortgages off and feeding and taking care of our families to name just a few. But what if these external pressures are not pressures at all. What if these are pressures and their associated emotions, stress, anxiety, fear, anger, resentment and frustration are driven by a particular kind of thinking? What if we were to reflect on our thinking, what would we find?
We would see that when we hold onto our thoughts we generate fear-based emotions and thought patterns. What is this kind of thinking that I am referring to? It is what I call Attachment Thinking.
When we do this kind of thinking there are a whole range of thought patterns and emotions that show up that are generally destructive for not only ourselves and how we live our lives but, also how we relate with others.
What is also extraordinary is that no matter what language we speak or where we live in the world, this kind of thinking and what it generates, is universal.
What Shows Up In Attachment Thinking?
In Attachment Thinking, we think that our thoughts are real. We think and act as if the thoughts are real. They are not however. They are thoughts in language that become real when we hold on. It is important to be aware that thoughts are just thoughts, they are constructs in language. That is what thoughts are, and so, they are not real. Thoughts come and go, they are not permanent.
Common fear-based emotions are anxiety, stress, panic, fear, anger, frustration, resentment, guilt and depression to name just a few.
Common thought patterns that show up in this kind of thinking are:
- I am lost and alone.
- I am not good enough.
- I don't deserve.
- I'm scared.
- I'm confused and I don't know what to do.
- I won't succeed.
Changes that Occur in Our Thinking
Generally, we are not wise and intelligent thinkers. We cannot think clearly, rationally or expansively in Attachment Thinking as we are driven by fear-based emotions and thought patterns.
Below are some commonalities of the changes that happen in our thinking.
- We become blind and unconscious, unaware of "how" or even "what" we are thinking.
- We cannot think straight as fear-based emotions and thought patterns drive our thinking and actions.
- Our thinking becomes tunnel vision and linear.
- We only see what we are attached or holding onto.
- We only think in straight lines, usually outcomes or destination points that lie in the future that we are trying to get to. We cannot see or think outside of what we are attached to.
- We do not see potential, opportunities or possibilities.
- We cannot think in creative, expansive or responsible (thinking with hindsight or foresight) ways.
- Our decision-making skills are impaired as they are driven by fear and control.
- We go around in circles and find ourselves in doubt and confusion.
- We don’t trust ourselves to make decisions and avoid responsibility for making them.
- We make rash unconscious decisions. Our decisions are therefore not informed, wise or intelligent.
- We don’t make responsible choices and decisions from hindsight or foresight (seeing or reflecting on the consequences).
- We are not open to seeing or considering options and possibilities; that there are other ways of seeing to solve a problem/s for example, or that there are a multitude of choices from which to make decisions. Choices are always only one way in this kind of thinking.
Our Perspective on Life
Attachment Thinking changes our perspective on life. Life is perceived as a struggle and effort and we are not in charge of our lives. Life is in charge, not us. We are victims and blame everything on externalities. Life is about outcomes and getting to a destination, where happiness, satisfaction and success is. We constantly search for “it”, what is going to make our lives different, an emotion that we think is outside of ourselves. This emotion will change how we feel about ourselves and our lives. We live life in separation and isolation. Belonging and happiness lies in attachment, to people, things and places. These perspectives on life alter dramatically when we return to ourselves and to Reflective Thinking where life is perceived as a journey, a multitude of experiences to be enjoyed. More detail on that in the next post, Reflective Thinking.
Attachment Thinking is destructive as it is fear-based therefore it is important to become aware of this kind of thinking and what we generate as a result, emotions, thought patterns, changes in our thinking etc. To help with this awareness, a Table was written in the book to be used as a quick reference guide in daily life. This outlines details and insights into Attachment Thinking and the solution, Reflective Thinking. Awareness however comes first because without that, there is nothing to work with.
Breaking the Cycle of Attachment Thinking
With awareness, the two thinking tools can be used to break the cycle of Attachment Thinking and return us back to our calm, normal, genuine and authentic selves and to a different way of thinking: Reflective Thinking. This is covered in more detail in the post: What is Reflective Thinking?
The Table and Thinking Tools for Change
To learn more about Attachment Thinking in general and from the Table (more details and insights) including how to break the cycle using the two thinking tools for change, you can purchase a copy of WTF?!...How am I thinking? from Amazon.com.
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Stay tuned for more insightful posts on Attachment Thinking over the next coming weeks!