Behind most addictions, mental health issues and maladaptive behaviors lies a surprising culprit: codependency. While codependency can manifest in many different ways, we usually notice it most in our relationships. It starts to take hold when we look to external sources to provide our sense of wellbeing, when in fact, this should come from within.
Instead of desperately searching for safety, security and love from others (and in turn, pressuring them to perform in ways they can never live up to), it’s our job to search for and cultivate that within ourselves. Self-love is not just a bubble bath on your day off work; it is a fundamental necessity of healthy relationships. Here are a few ways you can start to welcome more of it into your life:
Practice Nonjudgmental Awareness
When battling codependency, it’s important to establish your internal compass. Mindfulness allows us to understand and accept ourselves, and to trust our own decisions, rather than allowing ourselves to be pulled back and forth by others’ wants.
According to meditation teacher Dr. Mark Birkin, “Meditation is the chance to practice giving ourselves permission to feel exactly what we feel, even when we’re not as okay as we’d like to be.” This applies to situations in your life, too: rather than wishing people were a certain way, we can learn to accept them as they are – and know that it’s not our job to change things for them.
Keep Your Cup Full
Far from being selfish, this is your responsibility to others and to your life’s true purpose. Take it from Oprah, who says: “Your real work is to figure out where your power base is. And to work on the alignment of your personality – your gifts that you have to give – with the real reason why you’re here. That’s the number one thing you have to do, is to work on yourself… to fill yourself up, and keep your cup full.
“Oprah cites being her fullest self as the reason she’s able to enjoy so much connectivity and philanthropic impact: “I’m full, I’m overflowing. My cup runneth over. I have so much. I have so much to offer and so much to give and I am not afraid of honoring myself, you know. It’s miraculous when you think about it.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Set Boundaries
In relationships, boundaries aren’t just healthy for the person setting them, they’re healthy for all parties. Boundaries allow you to meet your own needs so you can fully show up for yourself and others. They also set expectations for how others should treat you, reinforcing patterns of positive behavior.
Not sure where to start? Relationship therapist Dr. Andrea Brandt points out that, “Even when you can’t define a ‘healthy boundary,’ you know what it feels like when someone crosses yours.” Start by having an honest but considerate conversation with someone you know is likely to honor your boundaries. You’ll see their positive response and all the goodness boundary-setting brings to your relationship, and eventually gain the confidence you need to set healthy boundaries in all your relationships.
Develop a Wellness Practice – And do it Consistently
Just like bad habits can reinforce negative neural pathways, good ones can create positive ones. When you regularly practice yoga, for example, you start to associate your yogic spaces and rituals with the positive, meditative energy you place there. Pretty soon, you can feel that prana as soon as you pick up your mat. In this way, your practice becomes your refuge, something you can use for daily maintenance and turn to in times of distress – instead of turning to dysfunctional relationship patterns.
Learn more about holistic techniques for combatting codependency in our article, Facts About Alternative Treatments for Codependency.
At The Sanctuary, we offer an integrated, holistic program for codependency recovery regardless of how the crisis is showing up in your life. To learn more about how we can help you feel secure in yourself and free to follow your life’s path, call us at (877) 710-3385 or email us at [email protected] today.
He is the Founder, Administrator, Counselor at the Sanctuary at Sedona.
He has a BA in Political Science and is currently Senior teaching staff at Four Winds Society, an international school of energy medicine. His credentials also include being an Ordained Minister; a Certified Shamanic Breathwork® Facilitator; a Founding Member Society for Shamanic Practitioners; a Member of Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology; a Member of the National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies. [email protected]