Last week, I wrote about codependency and how it isn't only about loving someone with addiction. It can be caring for others and people pleasing to the point that you have lost yourself. It can leave you feeling angry, burnt out, stressed, tired, anxious, and lonely. All things I'm sure you'd rather not feel.
If you are finding yourself feeling any or all of these things, you are not alone. In fact, you are one of millions of people around the world trying to navigate life with codependency. You can feel peace again. But, it won't be easy work and it will take patience.
There are four areas that I found helped me out of codependence: Acceptance, Self-Love, Boundaries, and Communication. If you can learn these four things and commit to practicing new behaviors everyday, you will slowly begin to notice a shift towards peace.
Acceptance is hard. In fact, I think its the hardest thing about recovering from codependency. It took me YEARS to get to a place where I could accept certain people in my life. Yes, YEARS. But it doesn't have to take that long for you. I'm sharing what I've learned so hopefully you feel peace much sooner.
Ask yourself this question: If my loved one never changes, will I be happy that I've spent a great deal of my time and energy trying to change them?
As much as we can see a different life for someone - one filled with exciting and fulfilling dreams and visions - it is all for nothing if someone doesn't want or see it for themselves. It sucks, I know. So, will you be happy that you've stressed yourself out to the point of sleepless nights and panic attacks if your loved one doesn't change?
Ponder that question. Revisit it everyday and consider your thoughts. You deserve peace.
Here's some blog posts on Acceptance:
Self-love is all the rage and rightfully so. If we lack self-respect or the genuine willingness to put ourselves first, how can we expect other people to behave differently?
Loving yourself will allow you to lay the groundwork for strong boundaries and communication with your loved one. If you don't love or respect yourself, you will let people walk all over you, regardless of how much it hurts or causes you emotional pain.
Start a peace practice. Give yourself 5 minutes to do something (you decide) that brings you peace. It could be a quick walk, a quiet shower or bath, reading a book, journaling, meditating, or a nap. It really doesn't matter what it is just as long as you commit time each day to giving yourself at least 5 minutes. Set a timer and prioritize yourself!
Here are some blog posts on self-love:
Consider all the behaviors from others that leave you feeling "less-than", used, taken advantage of, hopeless, tired, etc. What are you willing to tolerate?
If you have a clear list, it is time you decide what your boundaries will be and stick to them. Perhaps your boundary is "No alcohol in the house. If I find alcohol I will dispose of it.". In this case (and most), I think communicating your boundaries is important. The last thing you want is to throw away a bottle and have an argument about it. Communicate this boundary and set your expectation. More about communication next.
Mean what you say and say what you mean, but don't say it mean.
Here are some blog posts about boundaries:
If you're anything like me, you might be a screamer. So frustrated that the only way you know to communicate is by yelling. My mindset was always, "What the hell is wrong with YOU?!!". I'm not perfect, that's for sure. But, I've come a LONG way from my screaming days. It still happens from time to time. I've made some peace with that. But I've learned to pause and practice being okay with silence while I allow my emotions to relax.
Maybe you're more the silent, retreat-off-to-myself type? That's okay, too.
The key is to keep our emotions balanced as much as possible when things get heated or don't go as we hoped. Practice some of the tips in these blog posts for better communication:
If you liked this post and would like to chat, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from you and personally respond to every email.
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