Codependency and the importance of establishing and respecting boundaries is a common theme in my conversations with clients, friends and colleagues.
When our sense of inner power and authority is dependent on another “person, place or thing”, we often feel powerless and “victim to” life. Codependency is exhausting, uncomfortable and stressful. The good news is, that freedom and serenity are just around the corner!
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re talking with someone and they suddenly start giving you unsolicited advice about what they think you “should be doing” with your life, your job, your relationship, or whatever? You probably have, it happens all the time!
When we’re not conscious or respectful of other people’s boundaries, what may feel like compassion, empathy and deep caring, often really isn’t. Unless we specifically ask someone for their advice about our personal life, or they ours, offering unsolicited advice without invitation is actually pretty arrogant and egotistical. I know that may sound harsh, but I believe it’s true.
Do you ever notice yourself doing this with others? Honestly, even if we don’t say it out loud, many of us have a running commentary going on our heads about what we think others could or should be doing with their lives, when it’s really none of our business. It’s like an addiction. How presumptuous we can be.
“Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity. In its broadest definition, a codependent is someone who cannot function from their innate self and whose thinking and behavior is instead organized around another person, or even a process, or substance.” (Wikipedia)
The reason I’m bringing all this up is because most of us are taught to be codependent from a very early age, in our families, our cultures and the collective. It takes courage and deep introspection to, first, see the roots of our dependent behaviors and victimhood, and then be brave enough and take the risk of how others might respond when we create healthy boundaries, take care of ourselves and challenge the status quo.
Codependent family systems rely heavily upon each person dutifully playing their expected role and “not rocking the boat”. The family’s “stability” depends upon us doing our part.
It’s one thing to recognize our own codependent behaviors, and quite another to disentangle ourselves from them. As we step into our power, and live our truth, no matter what, we’ll probably have to face these sabotaging shadows of dependency and diminishing voices in our heads. “What others might think and say” is the most common fear I’ve seen that prevents people from fully embodying their dreams and speaking their truth.
It was quite a revelation to me when I realized how much I was actually “using others” to prevent myself from embodying my vision. Now, whenever I slip into blaming or using others as a reason or excuse to hold myself back, I try to catch myself and take full responsibility for what’s happening within me.
One of my inspired actions for this week is to watch myself very carefully and notice when I might be slipping into a blaming or victim mode, quickly redirect my thoughts, take full responsibility for myself, and move forward from there.
There’s an incredible amount of inner power to reclaim and harness when we you do this!
It’s a new week, won’t you join me?