This week I want to shed light on how to heal from codependency so that we can stop acting from a place of lack and enjoy healthy and loving relationships in life.
When we are codependent, we are unconsciously seeking approval, validation, and love from external sources. We are excessively relying on other people for approval and a sense of identity. Our subconscious mind is the primary source of this and it is the beliefs we have created and are programmed to be congruent with that cause these behavioral conditions.
Highly empathetic and compassionate people may show codependency by people-pleasing; doing everything for a partner and/or everyone at all times to receive approval, validation, and love. It’s important to be able to fill ourselves up inside with self-care practices, like meditation, knowing your values, needs, and having healthy inner dialogues to ask yourself questions like “what do I need/what do I feel/what do I think? Am I communicating what is important to me in a loving way with my partner or am I just doing everything for this person because I believe if I don’t do it all, love will be taken away?”
When we can’t validate our own feelings or respond to our internal signals, we have a tendency of reacting to outside events, which makes it hard to fulfill our own needs from within and it forms codependency to external factors at our subconscious level. It conditions us to think that in order to get love, approval or validation, I have to worry about everybody else and never bother to worry about my needs, or feelings or thoughts.
The good news in all of this? It’s just programming that can be reversed with these questions:
- What do I need?
- How am I feeling and what am I thinking in this moment?
- How do I validate these needs, thoughts and feelings within me?
- How do I communicate what's important for me to validate myself without being demanding?
Being an intelligent person I know you are, most likely you do know what you need, what you feel and think but are not expressing it. You don't know how or are not comfortable to assert yourself with confidence in telling people what you need, what you feel and think. Most likely if you are not doing this, it’s because there is fear associated with expressing what is important to you. Fear that the person will walk away from the relationship because this person can’t provide/give what you need emotionally, or fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough and therefore you will not be loved. The issue lies in here.
When we live in this place of fear, and won’t tell another person what we need, feel and think, we need to pause and ask ourselves: I am I seeking this person’s approval/validation/love or other things I should be giving
myself? Awareness comes first.
The second part is being able to fulfill your needs from within. One of the sessions in my signature program is dedicated to learning your values and rules, which combined, are the foundation reasons for our human behavior. Values are emotional states, known as feelings. Values are largely unconscious, and they are what we experience on a daily basis as human beings. They are feelings that govern all human behavior and are the standards by which we measure and judge the quality of our lives. Beliefs are the rules we use to measure what behaviors cause us to achieve or avoid certain values. They tell us what we should or should not do. This exercise is so critical to give us resources to fill any void that lingers inside of us.
Take a moment and see if you identify with any of the following:
- A source of love left or abandon you in your childhood;
- Your parents didn’t validate your feelings and you as an adult didn’t learn how to;
- You’re used to getting validation from people who are not there for you when you need it the most;
- You don’t know how to fulfill your own needs from within;
- You’re unaware or uncertain about your core values;
- You’re unable to validate your own feelings and express them healthfully;
- You’re unable to sit in whatever feelings you have.
If you identify with the above, it’s important to hire a coach and work on this part first. It’s okay to feel sad, disappointed, angry, scared… it is healthy to honor those parts and connect with yourself. Don’t dwell on it, but acknowledge the feeling so you can move away from pain and then shift to a healthier and more empowering emotion that will propel you to take action towards pleasure.
These are the initial steps towards healing from codependency and filling any void present within ourselves. Remember that your happiness is 100% dependent on you! Learn how to honor your feelings and navigate through them in a healthy way by taking accountability for what you are feeling instead of putting somebody else in charge of your validation.
If you, like me in the past, struggle with saying no, struggle with the need to fix people, to solve people’s problems as if they are yours, with staying in relationships longer than you should have because you are loyal and loving to a fault, these are signs of codependency. It doesn't mean we need to stop caring for our partners, friends, and family and become the most selfish person on the planet. It means at a certain point you need to stop and realize that helping others all of the time is not your job and that you can’t overexert yourself by putting everyone’s needs in front of yours. If you’re the good girl who feels this pressure to do the right thing because you hope deep down that this will free you of feeling pain, and everyone will like and love you, and you will have the validation, approval and happiness you so dream of and deserve, then you need to shift away from this because it doesn’t work. And in the long run it will cost you.
How to know you have traits of codependency? If you resonate with traits like not checking with your needs, feelings, and thoughts before doing what you don’t want to do just because you want to please others, or maybe you fear of being abandoned, or rejected, or not liked or loved and may have thoughts you won’t be ok or you feel you can’t take care of yourself and refrain from expressing what is important for you. If you resonated with any of these traits, you most likely are putting up with neglect, bad behavior, disrespect, people walking all over you, violating your boundaries and essential needs. Having the confidence to tell people what is important for you and enforcing these boundaries to be respected is a sign you are emotionally healthy and not codependent.
How to heal from codependency and enjoy healthy relationships?
1- know what you need, how you feel and what you think. Be comfortable in telling people what is important for you. It’s paramount to stand up for these things no matter what anyone else thinks, even if it is uncomfortable to do so in the beginning.
2- Take care of yourself first: self-care and self-loving on a mental, emotional and spiritual level are critical to heal from codependency. Put your oxygen mask first so you can take care of others.
3- Let go of the need to fix others. This was a HUGE stepping stone for me and I still struggle with it when I hear someone’s problem from time to time. Part of me, in the past, was a need I have to dive in and ‘save the day’ to be validated, appreciated and liked. Part of it now that I’ve healed so much of that codependency within myself is just me being empathetic because I want to unleash brave hearts from any pain and live a great life. I learned that everyone is on their journey and it is up to them to open up to learn and grow from the opportunities life presents them with.
This was A HUGE lesson for me: you can’t force someone to grow and you can’t fix everyone’s problems. Having this awareness allows me now to spot the moments when I’m doing too much for others without taking care of me first. In the past, this behavior would drive me to exhaustion from overdoing for others to a point I became bitter, angry and resentful when people didn't reciprocate at the same level when I needed the most. I realized I could not even be mad at anyone. I had to take full responsibility because it was all on me when I was the one trying to do everything and solve everyone’s problem, spreading myself too thin and wasn't taking care of my needs. I was tiptoeing in that codependency vicious cycle.
Remember to ask yourself in every single moment: How do you feel? What do you want? What do you think? What are you going to focus on? What does this mean? What are you going to do about it?
When the answers start to come up and you feel the need to
express your needs, wants and feelings with somebody, that’s the real test if you are spotting these traits, mastering your emotions, and honoring yourself first so you can enjoy healthy relationships. You are loved beyond measurement. Stop seeking validation from external factors and start loving yourself from within.
If you want to replace that “What’s wrong with me?” cycle of frustration with the tools you need to get more out of love and life, book your free discovery session with me! A year from now, you'd wish you had started today.