Detachment is experiencing our feelings without allowing them to control us. We step back and look at things objectively. We let go and accept what we cannot change. We detach from others’ choices, knowing that their spiritual work is not ours to do. We choose how we will act rather than just reacting. We step away from harmful cravings. Detachment is a deep breath of peace and patience in response to unexpected anger. We can listen without losing ourselves. With detachment, we see our mistakes honestly, make amends and start afresh. Detachment allows us to be in the world but not of it. It frees us to lead our lives with grace.


You always have the choice to take all things evenly, to hold on to nothing, to receive each irritation as if you had only fifteen minutes to live.

— Tolbert McCarroll

 The Practice of Detachment

  • I recognize my feelings without letting them control me.
  • I resist interfering with others’ spiritual lessons.
  • I choose to act instead of react.
  • I free myself from impulses and cravings.
  • I listen in order to understand.
  • I have the humility to amend my mistakes.
  • I lead my life as my soul chooses.
Definitions and practices of virtue are used with permission from the Virtues Project™. 

In Family Life

The virtue of detachment within a family manifests as an admirable balance between love and letting go. It is demonstrated by allowing each family member the freedom to grow, make their own choices, and learn from their experiences while offering unwavering support and guidance when needed.

In practicing detachment, family members foster an environment where individuals can flourish without overprotection or excessive control. It involves respecting their autonomy, accepting their unique paths, and embracing change as a natural part of life’s journey. In a family context, detachment means loving one another unconditionally while respecting and nurturing each other’s individuality, fostering an atmosphere of trust, and allowing everyone to be their authentic selves.

Balancing Detachment

Detachment allows us to experience life’s ups and downs with clarity and equanimity. Here are some virtues to keep it in balance:.

      • Compassion: Compassion serves as a vital balancing virtue for Detachment. When coupled with detachment, it allows us to acknowledge our own emotions and those of others without being overwhelmed. Compassion encourages us to connect with others deeper, fostering empathy and nurturing meaningful relationships.
      • Self-discipline: Self-discipline complements Detachment by helping us regulate our impulses and cravings. It empowers us to make conscious choices, ensuring our actions align with our values and long-term goals. When Detachment is balanced with self-discipline, we can avoid harmful desires and cultivate healthier habits.
      • Mindfulness: Mindfulness encourages us to live in the present moment and observe our thoughts and emotions without judgment. It complements detachment by promoting self-awareness and a deeper understanding of our inner experiences. By incorporating mindfulness into our lives, we can better navigate our feelings and reactions with wisdom and serenity.

Striving for this equilibrium enables us to embrace the beauty of detachment while nurturing our connections with the world and those around us.