How Unhealthy Attachment Makes Us Feel Miserable

“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.”
― Steve Maraboli

My day started early today. At 4.30am to be precise. It was the last day of my brother’s and his friend’s visit here in Athens before they left at this ungodly hour to catch their flight back to Munich at 8am.

Both arrived three days ago and my boyfriend and me showed them the city in light speed. We tried to fit every important sight in those two full days of their vacation, ate delicious foods and just fell endlessly tired into our beds at around 9 o’clock each night.

Everything is fading

I hadn’t seen my brother for 1.5 years before that, so his visit was something very special to me. My brother lives in Germany, where we both grew up, and I live in Greece, therefore we don’t see each other a lot anymore. We might exchange one or two lines of text everyday about random things going on in our lives, but that’s usually it. He has his normal job, lives in his own flat, has a small group of good friends and all that Jazz… for me it’s normal not to talk a lot to him, but whenever we do I feel at peace and just very, very happy. So seeing him was a big highlight this year for me and knowing now that I will most probably not see him for quite some time again makes me sad.

My family was never really close. We all would always hold together, but we were never close. While my boyfriend has a long talk with his family over the phone almost every single day, I might Skype once with my mother and sister every two months and in-between exchange random text messages as well. While I think highly of the relationship that my boyfriend has with his family, and I secretly wish my family would also be a bit more that way (even 50% of that would be enough), not talking to them is still “normal” to me. I grew up that way. I don’t miss it, because I never knew it, and now that we’re all old and kind of awkward with each other, changing that feels weird to me.

My brother and me we were always a bit different with each other though. One reason for that might be his carefree nature and his ability to bond with everybody in his own unique way. But still I’d like to think that we understand each other on a very different level than the rest of my family ever could.

When I listen to his jokes, I feel at home; when I rarely hear his thoughts about the world, its problems and mysteries, I fully understand where he comes from. We can talk about rubbish or the most important topics on earth… for hours and hours.

I remember the nights when we all still lived together, everyone was already fast asleep and even I was about to doze off, when my brother suddenly made a strange animal-like sound in the middle of the night in front of my door in order to check if I’m already asleep as well or not. I would always respond with a funny sound as well. Knowing I’m not sleeping yet, he would enter my room and we would talk for hours about everything… me almost about to faint sometimes, because I was just too tired… he talking on and on about things that happened to him in his workplace, stories of his friends or whatever gaming console or game he wants to buy next.

Now while writing this down, I realized that I almost forgot about these moments and that makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can keep it now and make sure not to forget it again, and sad because it shows how time flies by and how things slowly fade away. Moments, memories… and even his short stay here in Athens with us is over now as well. Everything is fading…

Unhealthy attachment

I cried yesterday, thinking about not meeting him for quite some time now and the fact that I cannot talk to him and get an immediate answer. I would have to accept that now I have to wait for his response again and that sometimes he wouldn’t even respond at all.

While I was lying on my bed, thinking about this sadness inside of me, I realized again what a strange feeling it is to “miss” somebody or, to put it another way, “not wanting somebody to leave”.

I thought further and asked myself what would happen if he would actually not leave? Yes it would be fun for days, weeks or maybe even months, but what would be after that time had passed?Would I still be happy? – Maybe…
Would HE be happy? – Most probably not.
Would I still be happy knowing that? – Definitely not.

So why am I crying when I know he goes back to where he wants to be? To his job he loves, to his friends, his new flat, the city he chose to live in… Why am I sad? Or to ask differently: How can I even dare to be sad? How can PEOPLE dare to be that way in general?

How can WE want to bind a person to OURSELVES, because WE would feel better then? How can WE want them to live forever around US, so that WE feel secure, protected and that WE can keep on living together in “harmony” like WE always had? How can WE even think for a second that WE know better how others should live, what others should do or think because this would make them – or actually US – happier people?

The answer is that we’re attached to things that we simply can’t control and that makes us suffer, as Steve Maraboli perfectly explained in the short introductory quote.

If we really care for the other person, should we not be happy when they leave for something greater, experience something new or just go back to where they truly want to be even if it’s apart from us?

I think so and yet – to be totally honest – it’s pretty hard at the same time. The positive side is that this phase of grief never holds on for too long and especially now that my brother wrote to me some funny lines from home about his journey back, I already feel much lighter knowing that he’s fine and exactly where he wants and needs to be right at this moment: Not here with his sister, but somewhere out there in the world LIVING HIS OWN LIFE.

How Trying To Fit Into A Niche Made Me Stop Blogging

So the past couple of months I came to a simple conclusion: I suck at getting things done. I start something, then I start another thing, I drop the first thing, keep on going with the second one and start something completely different again just to drop that second thing as well. Then after all of that, the whole process repeats itself.

Even now that I’m writing this article, my thoughts are actually elsewhere – in the kitchen to be precise – waiting for the chocolate and that thick layer of salty peanut buttery heaven to be frozen just a tiny bit, so that I can pour the rest of the melted dark chocolate all over it to finally finish my own peanut butter chocolate truffle creations. Sounds delicious, I know…

BUT that’s not the point! Or is it?

The thing is: Most of the time I’m extremely passionate about something (the kitchen) despite the fact that just a few minutes ago I made a decision to finally sit down and write (this article).

And no, don’t tell me that you know that as well. Don’t tell me you’re exactly the same and that I’m not alone with this, because I’m sure I’m the most hopeless case out there and no one can compare to my situation! – I’m joking… obviously. But that’s exactly how it feels.

So when it comes to this blog, my passion curve looks kind of like this:


phase11. The “Everything Is New”-Phase – Motivation: 100%!
When I’m starting something new – may it be now with this blog or with whatever – I’m usually starting pretty high… too high maybe. I have an endless amount of energy and ideas and I just want to pour it all out at once.

phase22. The “Uh-oh, what’s that?”-Phase – Ah, never mind!
Now that everything is almost set up, the passion might decrease a bit if I come across problems or just some things that I haven’t quite figured out yet and that keep me from moving forward. This phase usually doesn’t last too long.

phase33. The “Damn Baby, I’m unstoppable”-Phase – Give me more!
As soon as the struggles from phase two are out of the way I’m all in again. I put the pedal to the metal, as they say. I’m writing, I’m confident and nothing can stop me… that’s what I think at least.

phase44. The “I’m doing with my life”-Phase – Get me the fuck out of here!
As time goes by though, other things happen. Distractions appear, new problems arise, I loose the goal that I once had or I simply don’t feel so much like it anymore. Thus, the passion slowly but steadily starts to decline until it reaches its low-point.

While reflecting on those things I realized that the possible “problems” that might arise during this period are the lesser evil here and that distractions are a pretty common thing in our modern “Everyone is ALWAYS on Social Media” society, so I started focusing more on the “lost goal” aspect.

My Goal and How I Lost It

When I started this blog I was in search for that one THING that EVERYONE tells you to have before starting a blog. If you don’t have that THING you should not even lift a finger and better start doing something else. That THING can bring you sleepless nights, because if you haven’t found it you feel like a total failure. The THING I’m talking about is a NICHE. One of my most hated words of the year!

So when starting my blog, my inner dialogue went kind of like this:

What could be my niche? How about XYZ?
– Too boring over a long period of time.

Then what about THAT?
– Meh…

Or maybe I could do something like…
– You can’t be serious!

So I asked myself:

“How come that I don’t have a niche? Come on, I must at least be interested in SOMETHING… ANYTHING!”

And the answer is yes, I am interested in things. I’m interested in MANY things, too many things at the same time which makes it almost impossible for me to focus on just one thing. So I told myself:

“Fuck it! Let me write about whatever I want to write about and let’s see where this goes!”

This became the “Goal” I was working towards. To just write about whatever bugs me or what I want to share with the world at the moment and it worked pretty well for quite some time. No niche, no problems – Right? But humans have a major flaw. Let me explain this flaw with an example so that you can fully understand MY problem:

Most people consume meat, dairy and egg products on a regular basis, even though it’s scientifically proven that it would be better for their health, the animals and the environment to just stop consuming these kind of products.

The flaw here is that humans simply believe in what they have been told and it’s super hard to get them to stop doing something they have been conditioned to for their entire lives, even though they would be better off changing their habits.

The same goes for me and blogging (aaaand lots and lots of other things), but let’s still stick with the blogging for now.

While I was doing my own – niche-less – thing I felt great at first, but over time the Niche-Monster came slowly crawling back into my mind and again I was sure that I’m a total failure and that a blog without a niche can simply not be a great blog. – Damn you, all you blogger experts out there!

So yeah, I just stopped. I lost my goal because of the false believe that it would just make no sense to continue this way.

I’m a Person, Not a Niche!

After having a “dramatic breakdown” because of this I tried to find a solution. Stupid me thought it would be best to start something completely different, but after realizing that this is a bad idea and that I will most likely end up at the same point, I decided to stick to the blog and – again – I started to search for a niche. Nope… I didn’t learn a single thing from all my past “niche-finding” sessions…

Believe it or not, all I needed in the end were two simple posts by random bloggers that assured me that I don’t need a freakin’ niche. Especially one of these posts helped me to make a decision by reminding me of the past and why I wanted to blog so much in the first place.

I’m working on internet-related projects for about 14 years now. When I started blogging back then, all I did was talking about myself and nothing of that fitted in any kind of niche. I wrote about trivial things: What I got for my birthday, what Manga I was currently reading, why I loved it so much, what other websites I was a part of and how much I loved the people there (shout-out to the Shizoo-Crew back then!).

I couldn’t care less what others thought about me. I was proud to share these things and I actually had readers who also cared and liked what I had to say. So I realized that this is what I have to go back to! I have to stop caring and just write what’s on my mind. Don’t worry, I will not go entirely back to my past-blogging-self and start writing about my birthdays again if it’s not absolutely necessary, but I will go back to the roots, back to myself.

I’m a person after all, not a niche!

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