I mean shun, not the other S word. And I’m talking about shunning versus detachment. 

Do you shun people who hurt you or who you have outgrown? Freeze them out because you can’t handle the drama they bring to your life?

Sounds healthy, right?

Not so much. I don’t think shunning is a healthy habit. I do think detachment is.

They’re the same thing though, aren’t they? Not even a little bit.

I’m bringing this up because it’s one of those things that keeps popping up. In the quest for personal development, I see people talking about shunning family and friends all the time. That’s not personal development because it shunning comes from a place of hurt and anger, not a place of peace and release.

Detachment, on the other hand, is about letting things go and not trying to control the outcome. It’s a fine line, but the intent and feelings are different.

Let me share a personal example from my life. I have a younger brother who I love very much, yet I hadn’t spoken to him or communicated with him in well over a year. I wasn’t shunning him—if he reached out to me, I would happily talk to him and invite him into my life. When I go to Colorado, I attempt to see him (which may or may not happen).

I have detached from him though. Emotionally he is incapable of showing up for his family. He decided a long time ago that he didn’t want relationships with us. For years I made an effort and the energy drain was exhausting. So I detached. Yes, I love him. But I can’t make him be someone he isn’t. He knows where to find me and that I’ll welcome him with open arms. But I will no longer chase his love. That is detachment.

Ironically, shortly after I first drafted this post, he texted me for my birthday. Maybe subconsciously he knew I was thinking about our relationship? I don’t know. We have a very pleasant text exchange and that will be it probably until the holidays. And that’s okay.

As we move into the holiday season, it’s a good time to think about this. Is there anyone you have shunned, when detaching is what you really meant to do?