“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” ~Lao Tsu, the Tao Te Ching

Attachment is a natural byproduct of our materialistic society.

For me, materialistic attachment began with my extensive collection of G.I. Joe toys when I was young; I prized each action figure as if they were real heroes!

But attachment in our society goes beyond materialism and childish attachment to things. Attachment is glorified in epic stories of love and romance in movies and books: drilling the idea into young consumers that “true” love is two missing-halves uniting; each soul barely able to have scraped through life without the other.

Attachment is also subtly hidden within our everyday behavior: from our individual perceptions of ourselves (the ego) to the concept that our personal histories confine and limit what we can do today and become tomorrow.

Truly, we can gain an entire world of possibility, empowerment and new life by abandoning attachment to these things and, instead, by “letting go.”

1. Abandon the Ego

“When you let go of who you think you are, you awaken to your true self.”

When we discuss the ego, we are referring to “the self” as it pertains to an individual understanding and mental image of “who we are,” the conceptualization of “me.” We each have an ego, to varying degrees, because the ego is simply our own sense of self.

I am Dave Ursillo, I am a writer, I am 24 years old, and so on. However, we can see our ego manifested in many of our actions, decisions, thoughts and words. This is problematic because it emboldens and inflates a self-image that will give way to unnecessary conflict and confrontation and long-standing grudges.

Abandon your ego.

Recognize when the ego is voice talking in your head, instead of your true and humble self. When you let go of who you think you are, you awaken to your true self. Abandon what you think you need to do to create or uphold an image of yourself in the eyes of others. Instead, be open to what may be.

2. Abandon the Unnecessary

“What you have lost that you realize is not needed, you have never lost.”

Over the course of our lives, we all experience loss to varying degrees: possessions, relationships, and the lives of those whom we love and care about deeply.

Dealing with loss is never easy, and it is never pleasant. Loss is a devastating obstacle on the path to happiness. However, there is a stark difference between loss of that which we wanted and loss of that which we thought that we needed to survive.

Abandon what in life is unnecessary. Besides one another, we truly do not need much to survive and be happy in our lives.

Fulfillment is embodied not in things we own and possess; it is simply a matter of perspective. What you have lost that you realize is not needed, you have never lost. When you abandon what was unnecessary in the first place, you come to embrace as little as what you require.

3. Abandon the Past

“When you let go of the past, you reclaim the present and a world of future possibility.”

Abandoning the past is a major hurdle for many men and women. It’s understandable: we recognize our personal histories as having brought us to this day, this present moment. This much is true. What has occurred in our individual pasts has necessarily influenced who we have become today.

Nevertheless, what has occurred in the past never limits what we can choose to become, pursue, or do on this day.

Of course, I am referring to the power of choice within you, that we each possess; there are physical limitations in every aspect of life. I cannot choose to fly by flapping my arms, nor visit the moon on a whim. But I can choose this moment to pursue a path to engineer a contraption of personal flight, or embark upon a career to become an astronaut.

Abandon the past that haunts you.

Forgive yourself and those who hurt you.

Never forget the lessons learned. The past does not limit our free choice as human beings — only by our choosing to we allow what has occurred unto us in our individual pasts to hinder the present moment.

Our human potential is always unlimited. When you let go of the past, you reclaim the present and a world of future possibility.