The Law of Detachment: How to Apply it to Improve Your Life

Applying the law of detachment will help alleviate suffering and allow you to live in peace and have healthier relationships. Discover what it consists of and how to put it into practice.
The Law of Detachment: How to Apply it to Improve Your Life
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 September, 2022

What would you answer if you were asked who you are? You would probably refer to where you live, your marital status, the work you do, or your possessions. By defining ourselves, we can see what aspects of our reality we’re attaching ourselves to, as we’ve often made them part of our identity. The law of detachment invites us to be freer, to open ourselves to infinite possibilities, and to let go of control of our surroundings.

Put this way, it may seem like a concept that’s too abstract and difficult to implement. This is true: it’s not easy to apply.

However, it’s a great way to have healthier relationships, to achieve our goals more easily, and, above all, to live in a state of calm and fullness that’s distanced from fear.

What is the law of detachment?

The law of detachment is part of the 7 spiritual laws of success promoted by the Hindu writer Deepak Chopra. His work is based on the universal laws that govern creation, at the level of the macrocosm (the Universe) and the microcosm (the human being).

From this basis, he proposes a series of precepts that, when applied in our daily lives, allow us to achieve success and stop suffering so much.

The law of detachment refers to the capacity to renounce attachment to material and immaterial goods and open ourselves to uncertainty and its infinite potentialities. In other words, it consists of detaching ourselves from possessions, identities, and personal relationships in order to anchor ourselves to the unquestionable trust in our true selves and in life.

Detachment doesn’t imply that we stop having goals, stop enjoying ourselves, or that we become cold and distant. We can still have material possessions and future projects and move towards them while establishing deep relationships. The key lies in letting go of control, in enjoying them but not needing them, and in not letting these aspects control us.

Buddhism and the law of detachment
The philosophies of Buddhism gives great importance to the concept of detachment on the path towards genuine freedom.

The four laws of detachment

This general principle is divided into four different laws, which explain in more detail how to embrace detachment on a daily basis. Let’s take a closer look at each of them in detail.

1. You’re responsible for yourself

This law invites us to abandon the victim role and take charge of our circumstances and happiness. Our own well-being depends on no one else but ourselves. Thus, it’s our task to make decisions, be brave, and take responsibility for what happens to us.

We must stop being governed by the mandates and expectations of others. We shouldn’t seek approval and appreciation from others. On the contrary, the goal is to align ourselves with who we truly are, with our values and intuitions, and act accordingly and congruently.

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2. Live in the present and accept and assume your reality

Living in the present is complicated for everyone, as the mind constantly wanders between sadness for the past and anxiety for the future. However, to achieve success and fulfillment, it’s extremely important to focus on the here and now while accepting reality as it is.

Let’s stop suffering, regretting, or blaming ourselves or others for what happened in the past; let’s stop fighting against the current. It’s time to detach ourselves from the past and release the frustration that comes from things not being as we would like them to be. Assuming reality calmly and without judgment is the first step to being able to make a change.

3. Encourage freedom and allow others to be free as well

Freedom is the fullest, most complete and healthy state to go through life. Therefore, our relationships should never be dependent or based on fear and control. On the contrary, they must be based on a good capacity to be alone, which allows us to choose our company by will (and not obligation) and for pleasure (and not out of depdence).

We renounce freedom (our own and others’) when we try to interfere in the lives of others and solve their problems as well as when we try to control, manipulate or please them so that they don’t leave our sides. These attitudes come from fear and need to be renounced.

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4. Assume that loss will happen sooner or later

This last law of detachment invites us to assume and embrace the idea of impermanence: everything passes, everything flows, and change is constant. Nothing is eternal; nothing lasts.

Both our possessions and our relationships will be lost at some point. Assuming this reality will allow us to live more peacefully.

law of detachment
Understanding that time passes with changes and that nothing is permanent allows us to assume existence with different eyes and another perspective.

How to apply the law of detachment

As a result of the above, you may have already gathered some ideas about how to apply the law of detachment in your life. However, here are some more synthesized tips:

  • Don’t seek to control others or impose your opinions. Allow each person to be just as they are.
  • Try not to force situations and not to become obsessed with looking for solutions. Return to your center, find peace, trust and flow with events.
  • Embrace uncertainty. Don’t be attached to rigid desires or goals and remain open to change. Remember that when nothing is certain, everything is possible.
  • Stop defining yourself in terms of what you possess and allow yourself all possibilities of being. Align yourself with your true self and don’t depend on the approval of others.
  • Be responsible for your life and your happiness. Don’t let your emotions depend on circumstances or people outside of you. You are your center.
  • Find the seed of opportunity in every crisis and the lesson in every unexpected event.
  • Allow yourself to enjoy and bond by choice, not out of necessity.

Beginning to practice the law of detachment can be tricky at first. We’re too settled in fear and the need for control.

However, we can take small daily steps by reacting with confidence and an open mind to everything that happens to us. With practice, these attitudes will become more natural to you, and you will see that your life is transformed and peace is your constant companion on the way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.