The Invisible Shackles: How Your Hidden Attachments Trap You

Let’s cut through the noise. Forget Disney’s “Let it Go”—we’re digging deeper. Ever thought about why you’re struggling, even when you’re doing all the “right” things? It’s the invisible chains you’ve wrapped around yourself, mate. No, not the physical ones—though those can be buggers too. I’m pointing to your internal attachments, the ones you don’t even know you’ve got.

1. Shackled by Identity

We attach labels to ourselves, like superglue on a broken vase. As a kid, dyslexia got slapped on me like a tag on sale items. The early ’80s weren’t kind to learning disabilities; it was a stigmatised “problem.” So what did I do? I dodged reading. Worked like a charm—or so I thought.

But then, something cracked. I hit 40, bottomed out, and found solace in an unexpected ally—a book. “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen became my gateway. It took me weeks, but that book kick-started a new chapter. Imagine—what if I had shrugged off that dyslexic label earlier? Where could I be now?

Ever stopped to wonder, what self-imposed limitations are you carting around? You’re rubbish at maths? Who said? Challenge it. Just because you’ve been dealt a certain hand doesn’t mean you can’t reshuffle the deck.

Think on this: You are not who you were told you are; you are who you choose to become. See the difference?

2. Shackled by the ‘Should-Be’s

Here’s a brutal truth: The present moment is indifferent to your melodrama. You could be cradled in a lover’s arms, fretting about an impending breakup, and that doesn’t change the ‘now’. On the flip side, life could serve you a dreadful hand—maybe a grim health report. What then? Wishful thinking won’t rewrite reality.

Instead of fighting it, acknowledge it. Acceptance isn’t resignation; it’s the key to change. How can you adapt if you don’t face what’s right in front of you?

Ever noticed how much mental real estate you sacrifice, fantasising about a different ‘now’? Why squander the one thing you can’t retrieve—time?

3. Shackled by the Ghosts of the Past

Arguments about who said what in the past can churn family gatherings into battlegrounds. You swear you never said it, but your cousin insists you did. You both believe you’re absolutely correct. Here’s the kicker: Memories are fallible. They’re not pristine footage; they’re more like patchwork quilts of impressions.

What we remember isn’t necessarily what happened. It’s our rendition of it. Our brain fills in the gaps, colouring the sketch with our own biases. Still convinced that your memory is a reliable narrator?

Ever caught yourself reminiscing about the “good old days,” stuck in the allure of a past that’s long gone? What’s stopping you from creating a ‘better’ today?

Break Free: Your Imperfections Are Your Liberation

The key to a lighter life lies in severing these invisible chains. You’re a blend of flaws and brilliance—and that’s okay. Life, like you, isn’t a static photograph; it’s a canvas that’s constantly being repainted.

Learn to hold everything lightly. Relinquish your secret attachments and find liberation in acceptance. Your present, your past, your identity—they’re not set in stone. They’re clay, ready to be moulded by the one artist that truly matters—you.

Stop running on the treadmill of your own expectations. Let go. Unshackle. Live.

What are the subtle attachments that you’ve unknowingly let govern your life? Are you ready to sever these invisible chains?

If this helped you, it will help somebody else!

You've just read an article by Steven Webb —  Guiding you through the most difficult times. Here is a link to my podcast Stillness in the Storms and Inner Peace Meditations.

I write to arm you with resilience and inner wisdom, helping you find calm in life’s chaos. Follow me Medium or on substack.

Steven Webb host of Stillness in the Storms portrait picture

Steven Webb

Steven Webb is a renowned meditation teacher with over a decade of experience. Known for his unique approach to quieting the busy mind, Steven navigated through a life of adversity to find his own inner peace. Now, he shares his wisdom to help others build resilience and find tranquility even in life's most turbulent times. Through his writing, courses, and podcast "Stillness in the Storms," Steven empowers people to discover their own sanctuary of inner peace when they need it the most.
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