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The Epiphanies Of Emotional Attachment

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“You only lose, what you cling to”.

Prioritize

Rightly stated by Buddha, this quote has the ability to give direction to our lives. We often find ourselves in miserable conditions where nothing seems more important than our ongoing disturbing thoughts, where we can’t stop crying and expressing our grief in the worst way possible. The world seems bleak and life seems unimportant! If you have ever felt that way, remember you had become emotionally attached.

Emotional attachment means a lack of freedom because you tie yourself to people, possession, habits, and beliefs, and avoid change and anything new. Excess of emotional attachments results in an inability to let go, even if that attachment is doing more harm than good. We might have come across situations when people are in a bad relationship and suffering, feeling miserable but they are unable to end it because of attachment. When there is an emotional attachment to materialistic comfort, a person is not able to discard or give away the things which are no longer useful. It also shows up when we have to make changes in our life because of our occupation and relocate to an unfamiliar place.

As humans, we tend to confuse what is healthy and unhealthy when it comes to our emotions. Therefore, let me make the difference clear here.

  • Attachment to things and people results in us doing actions for what or who we are attached to. For eg., if I’m attached to my books, I’ll keep them clean and arrange them neatly. If I’m attached to a dress, I’ll make efforts to maintain it. In the case of a person, I may go out of my way to provide some resources for them.
  • Positive and healthy attachments are our emotional investments. We nurture, care, and enjoy such relationships. We are attached to ourselves too. That is why we may take a step to care for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We may eat healthily or sleep properly. We may take the help of mental health professionals for dealing with our issues.

The damage done because of getting ourselves attached is often difficult to mitigate and can be harsh on the self. This is because the object or the person of attachment becomes the “center” of our lives. We become obsessed with them.

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Our thoughts, actions, decisions, schedules, feelings revolve around them. We get stuck and end up in circles. We don’t feel free, fulfilled, worthy. It harms our self- esteem and shakes our confidence. With people, we may feel we constantly need to prove ourselves, fight for a special place in their lives, need to take their approval on our being, etc. With things, we go into “addiction”. The moment we don’t have them, we feel something is lacking, we feel sad, we feel less, we feel unmotivated, and we feel lost.

And this why developing healthy attachments is very important as the world is currently a place that propagates the idea of self-indulgence, affection for materialistic fame, and attachment to technology that often harms more people. Therefore, the need of the hour is to focus on building healthy attachments. If you feel that you have an unhealthy attachment to something or someone, you can fix it. Here’s how:

  • Write out the reasons why you feel this way — do you feel “incomplete” without them? Do you feel afraid of losing your self-esteem or stability if you ever lose that attachment?
  • It may be helpful to discuss these questions with your partner, or a licensed therapist. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need people and things you love to stay in your life. However, you should always be your number one priority, and therefore it’s important to establish a healthy, emotional connection with yourself first.
  • Cultivate Self-Love. We need to understand our needs, our cognitive patterns, our reaction patterns, and our strengths and our weaknesses to develop boundaries for ourselves.
  • Indulge in activities that bring self-fulfilment and boost our confidence.

And in the end, just believe in the principle of ‘letting go’. Involvement is necessary but clinging on makes one feel pressured. Let your strings detach and don’t solely depend on them or pull them too tightly. Life is a beautiful journey in discovering your own self rather than being governed by attachments.

This article is written by Manasi Baindur, Priya Shukla, and Murali Krishna who are providing online counselling support in their Mental Health Internship Program.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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