Codependency & The Road To Self-Love

by Jamie

depressed girl

THAT Girl

You’re sitting home alone on a Friday night, extremely irritated, checking your phone every two minutes with your hair and make up all done with no where to go. No plans except the one you thought you had.“Why hasn’t he called?”, “Why hasn’t he texted?”, “Doesn’t he want to see me?”, “We always hang out.” – You all know that girl, or you are THAT girl. And believe it or not, I was that girl too.

The typical ‘nice girl’ who will bend over-backwards, the one who is constantly available,  and always waiting around for him. She has a life of her own but she doesn’t live it and it slowly deteriorates along side her social life and ambition. She loses her sense of self and starts to mold herself into him and his life. His house, his family, his friends, and all on his time… all of the time.

Hello Codependency

So this all started when a girlfriend of mine and I went for coffee not too long ago and we got on the topic of how we used to be pretty co-dependant on the men in our past relationships and how we love being single because of how much time we get to focus on ourselves. We see who we want, whenever we want. We also get to be selfish, and become more productive and happy than when we were in a relationship. This made me think: “Why was there such a disconnect?” We should still be able to focus on ourselves while finding a healthy balance in our relationships. We came to the conclusion that it was because we were always focused on the other person in the relationship, and not on ourselves. It came from a lack of knowing who we were so we became the permeable membrane and moulded ourselves into the shape our partners to feel safe and secure. It was also a great way to escape our own problems and the things we needed to work on internally. Which kind of gives me the image of those little fishies that swim on the underbelly of a large shark or whale, you know, just going along for the ride. Little did we know then that we were getting further and further away from really figuring out who we were and ending up depleted and depressed.
cuddling

I can only speak for myself and say that I was insecure, impressionable, and lacked self-esteem. I wasn’t self-approved or really understood why loving myself first was the only way to bring anything to a relationship or to live a great life. I was always focused on being the “best girlfriend” and not being the “best me” and therefore constantly lost myself in the other person.

Being self-approved

We all want love, and we are all capable of giving it. But it first needs to start with loving yourself. It was a hard pill to swallow when I realized that I actually didn’t love who I was because I didn’t really know who that person was all along. It wasn’t until I started doing different things and was constantly faced with challenges that I grew to understand what I was passionate about and what made up the components of my personality. If you don’t have a hobby, I really suggest you get one!

Let me paint you a picture of what a self-approved girl looks like: A girl who is self-approved doesn’t lose herself in her partner or in people in general (some people lose themselves in friends or family members as well.) She does what she loves to do every day and doesn’t clear her schedule for a guy just because he wants to hang out. She schedules everything on HER time and makes sure she doesn’t lose balance. She doesn’t wait around for a phone call or a text because she is out living her life with friends, family and the things she loves to do. She makes plans and actively participates in her life and takes responsibility in her relationships by making coffee dates, girls nights, etc. She doesn’t tolerate disrespect from anyone and walks away from all unhealthy situations. She sets boundaries and sticks to them. She does all of this because she loves herself and she knows her worth. She is her number one, and rightfully so.

Being Self-Approved Improves Your Relationships

I learned this the hard way. No one wants to be with someone who is codependent. If you are always available and always doing everything your guy wants to do he will lose interest very quickly. What mystery is left in a woman who doesn’t know who she is or a woman who is always there. Yes you love him, but you should love yourself more. If you don’t love who you are, how do you expect him to fall in love with you? Relationships work when two people know who they are, love who they are, and have a lot to bring to the table. They can give freely without feeling drained and don’t lose themselves in the relationship because they can hold their own end. When both partners are living their own lives, they are always growing, and are always bringing value to each other through their experiences.

Being self-approved improves your life exponentially and not just in your partnership. With it comes the feeling of being balanced, fulfilled, and whole. You become confident in who you are and you grow so much more every day. Self-empowerment improves your well-being and makes you a more successful and happy person. It will drastically change all of your relationships, your career, and your health.

you sometimes think you want to disappear, but all you really want is to be found

Making The Transition

Every persons transition will look different and I only know of my own. I started with a list of all the qualities that I admired about myself and built up my self-esteem slowly. I became physically active to help get some seratonin in my blood stream to boost my mood and with that it altered my view on my body (bonus!) Then I did goal-coaching, mirror work and daily mantras/affirmations. Goal-coaching for me started with reading materials like Brian Tracy and writing down all the things I want to accomplish. I started to write out daily, weekly, and monthly goals and it introduced me to new people through different social activities and hobbies that I had as goals. Socializing is a big part of building up self-esteem and confidence plus it keeps you busy and your schedule full! I would also talk to myself in the mirror (sounds goofy but seriously effective) and sometimes I would write with chalk markers on my mirror a mantra that would motivate me. The mantras would remind me how awesome I really am AND it was an amazing way to start my day.

An example of mirror work: “I really like my eyes.”

An example of a mantra or affirmation: “Joy and beauty abounds in my relationships.”

I also used creative outlets like writing. These are all things that worked for me: find what works for you! My girlfriend kept herself busy with volunteering and getting involved with her school since it was her last year before graduating. She met tons of people and found herself in the work she was doing. So find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment or think outside the box.

I would love to hear any similar stories about codependency and finding self-love. Please comment or message me! 🙂

In light and love,

J

About Jamie
Jamie is an enthusiastic goal-getter and photographer. Aspiring life-coach and author. Yogi extraordinaire and an honest voice to those who seek it. She blogs over at Devoted Shift.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mikey B August 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Boom! I loved the post Jamie.

I can’t relate to the female parts but I can relate to the codependency.

I am now intermittently fasting and being an emotional eater I find that when I feel negative emotions or I experience something that makes my mood sink I become hungry. Every Sunday night I have a tradition of going for dinner at my mother’s place. I enjoy going because it gets me away from my busy schedule and allows me to let everything go for a few hours, the ultimate comfort zone and my mom is more then happy to accomodate her little man.

On the subject of codependency, a few Sundays back my mother called me around 2pm to tell me that dinner tonight was canceled. She was going to go to the Calgary Tower for dinner with some friends in from out of town. A the time I was crushed and immediately I became overcome with feelings of hunger and motivation to gorge. 5pm(The time where I break my fast) could not come fast enough. Thoughts rushed through my head like it’s ok to eat and break your fast, or no one will know etc. After a seemly forever conversation with myself I decided to stick it out. Yoga started at 4pm and I was going to see if I could make it till then.

Yoga was great and I really mellowed out and felt less negativity in myself. I got back home at 5:30 and started making dinner at chill pace. My mood had completely changed and that emotional dependence on my mother had been completely removed. I remember that night the quote “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” running through my head and really being able to resinate with my own independence.

I know you were talking about dating relationships but I felt this was a story that could relate 🙂

Karim Saleh August 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Hi Jamie!

Great article and I’m happy you are on your journey to finding your own independence and happiness. It sounds like you are doing a great job of that 🙂

I guess the way I look at it, being open and flexible is totally cool if you don’t lose yourself in things. If two people are so focused on themselves that they can’t make time for each other or be considerate, then that’s a problem in my eyes. What you are suggesting is that two people can give freely and not feel like they are being drained.

To a certain extent I think this is possible, but I have found from my experience that it takes a certain amount of respect and consideration from another person for me to give freely and not be drained at all. After all my time is my currency. I have always been one to give more than I expect back in return and I guess that’s because I feel I have a lot to give. I tend to even give to people I don’t know all that well without expecting appreciation or anything in return. My reward is given to me when I see some people grow as individuals. I don’t really feel that I need as much as other people mostly because I understand a lot about my own happiness on a deep level. Most people don’t take this time to understand themselves and don’t necessarily even see the point. I see that these beliefs cause unnecessary suffering in most cases and I feel compassion for these people.

I hope that I can lead by example by being the change I want to see in the world and this will inspire others to see what is within them. I want to be open/available emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically for myself and others. I do not want to become self-absorbed- that said, I have to respect my own path as well. But respecting my own path without being considerate of others’ paths is missing the point in my opinion. It’s an eternal dance that I must master…but it’s beautiful.

I have different expectations for someone I am romantically involved with because of the nature of my path. I think that I am emotional enough that at times I will need support on my path and am open to offering the same if needed. I don’t think that’s codependency, I think that’s a reflection of the ups and downs of life. I don’t want to think that if I’m not completely independent at some point, the person I am dating will bail. I think whats most important is that in your vulnerable states, you are nurtured and not torn down rather than not being vulnerable altogether. Its possibly an unusual way of looking at things, but most of us don’t live openly because we are taught to be self-absorbed and most are unaware of their impact on the world/other people. I understand that my strong values and beliefs may mean that I won’t meet someone who understands or can meet my standards. This is okay. I don’t like it, but fulfilling my purpose is the most important thing to me.

I guess what I’m asking you: is being self-approved the same as being self-absorbed? Does becoming independent and more self-loving mean you can’t relate to the drug addict homeless man lying on the corner?

If being busy focusing on me makes me less available so that people who will take advantage of my investment don’t get the opportunity but at the same time makes me less available to the people who genuinely need a hand…then I think I wouldn’t be able to do that.

🙂

Suzan Cera November 22, 2016 at 10:16 am

I agree 100% with Karim.

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