Could Your Unhealthy Attachments To People, Things, and Places Be Impeding Your Progress?



Ways Unhealthy Attachments To People, Things, and Places Impede Your Progress


Deuteronomy 1: 6 “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain…’”


Attachments are important. People need people, things, and places. We live to create memories and strive to maintain beautiful ones for as long as possible. We meet lovely people, and we want to keep them and remain in their social circles; we move to a new town, we fall in love with it, and we set our camp and never want to leave it; we buy or get a gift of a thing, and we choose to hang ourselves to it.

Don’t get me wrong, attachment is desirable, most times even encouraged. I am attached to people and things too. As a matter of fact, I have a shirt that I bought over 5 years ago, it is all tattered, but I have refused to let it go. Probably, it is because I got it when I really needed a shirt or I received praise for how beautiful it is. Whenever we are decluttering or giving away our clothes, I recommend it to remain in the closet.

Unfortunately, there are times when attachments become unhealthy and impede our growth or progress. We have to understand that while God seeks to settle us, some people, things, and places are meant to be seasonal, and when the time comes to release them, we have to let them go.

Imagine how many people are in relationships they know are toxic but can’t leave!

What about that car that keeps breaking down and has put you into debt but cannot let it go because it was your ‘first’ car? 

And that person that makes you feel unworthy and unwanted, but you keep hanging around them because they are your ‘only’ friends? 

That church that has made you a slave, but you are still in because your pastor is “holding your star?”

Attachment stems from familiarity. It creates a sense of safety, comfort, belonging, and reliability. However these senses are beautiful, they can seriously impede progress, and before you realize it, you are stuck in the same level for a very long time.

There gets a time when you have to leave and explore new opportunities. 

1. Attachment to People

I am a strong advocate for loyalty and building lasting relationships. These relationships, however, have to be meaningful to be worth holding to for years. Unhealthy attachments create emotional dependency, which, at face value seems necessary for social functioning, but highly detrimental if left unchecked. It could lead to a situation where your well-being and self-worth are tied to the approval and presence of specific individuals – such as your parents, siblings, friends, high school or college classmates, former and present colleagues at work, pastors, etc. 

The truth is, the more you become unhealthily attached to people, the more likely you will prioritize their interests at the expense of your own, leading to a lack of autonomy and self-confidence.

Not all relationships are meant to last forever. Happily Ever After is a reserve for a few. Sever the ties with those people who keep you stuck in one place – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. 

Focus on self-awareness and self-esteem and slowly start seeking meaning outside other people’s approval. Build relationships with other people that empower and inspire you to be more independent and grow in your element.

Today, resolve to free yourself from everyone who makes your progress impossible. 

Let them go!

2. Attachment to Things

When I was young, my mom got me a pet dog. I dearly loved him and spent most of my afternoons after school playing with him. One weekend, while opening the gate for an ox-cart to get to our compound, my puppy was run over and died instantly. I had just finished feeding him and we were up for a wonderful time together. I cannot remember any other time in my life that I have cried that hard. On that day, I swore never to own a pet in my life if losing them could cause such pain. My unhealthy attachment to the puppy and fear of loss closed any opportunity for me to have any animal pet.

We have people who are attached to material possessions or substances. They buy a new house, their whole lives become about that house. They cannot sustain a conversation without referencing their 6-bedroom maisonnette. There is a difference between celebrating a win and becoming a rich fool. A rich fool will settle for the achievement of one goal and forget about all other aspirations.

 If a thing diverts all your resources and attention to it, then you have an unhealthy attachment to it. You have to release yourself to other endeavors and redirect your mind to seek things beyond the present. A past success is already a history, and you need to minimize your addiction to that success to create room for more.

Rise up!

3. Attachment to Places

It’s not a secret, I am patriotic. My circle knows that it would take a great deal of convincing for me to relocate to another city or country. Like most of my peers, I grew up wanting to pursue the American Dream – get the best scores in high school, go to college, and relocate to the U.S. immediately after graduation so that I can get the best-paying job, marry a “mzungu” woman, and settle there permanently. Wherever and whenever these dreams changed, I can’t tell. All I know is that I love Kenya – with all its third-world shenanigans, it is my home.

However, my mind is not limited to my country, for I know there are other opportunities out there that I have not explored.

Speaking to Israelites on the other side of Jordan, Moses told Israelites God’s mind, “you have stayed in this mountain (place) for long.” It was time for them to leave and get to their rightful place in the Promised Land. Even before they got to this ‘mountain,’ we see them time and again complaining to Moses how they had better lives in Egypt. They had developed an unhealthy attachment to a toxic place.

Like Israelites, we can stagnate for a long period when we are unwilling to explore new opportunities and experiences. Remaining in one place can be comfortable – you have a community, you can pay all your bills, marry your dream girl, have a stable average-paying job, etc, but is that all there is? Can you challenge yourself to start a business? Move to another neighborhood? Start sponsoring a needy child?

Unfamiliar territories have unfamiliar challenges, but they also have unfamiliar blessings and opportunities. Create a goal bigger than yourself. Like Abraham, choose to trust God to lead you to uncharted waters. There are unexplored nations that you need to gather your belongings and go.


Is it a time for you to ditch familiarity and sever ties with unhealthy attachments to people, things, or places?

. . . . .


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God bless!

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