You'll find, I think, that as you learn more about co-dependency, every person has some of the traits. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just remember that we are human beings. That we are, each one of us, extremely valuable just the way we are. That includes all our characteristics, regardless of how we might label them. Co-dependency is just a label, a way of defining how we, as humans, learn to cope with life, relationships, emotions, and events. Some of what we've learned can be unlearned. Some of what we've learned can be kept or expanded or changed to fit our particular situation or relationships.
The wonderful news is that YOU get to decide what you need to change, and YOU get to determine how and when. Recovery is all about self-examination, growth, experimentation, keeping what works for the moment, and moving ahead with life at your own pace. Be glad that you are learning about co-dependency now. I had to struggle for 33 years before I figured out what was going on in my relationships and how I was contributing to making my life so hard and miserable. I was too focused on the other person, rather than focusing on improving myself.
One of the traps we can fall into is letting others define our self-worth, define our meaning, or tell us how we ought to change our lives for the better. Often, we let those closest to us do this, when we should be doing this for ourselves. Sure, we can learn about ourselves from others, but remember that others tend to see us through their own filters. Often, we end up feeling like failures because we didn't live up to someone else's expectations of us.
But you can step outside all of that stuff and keep your sense of self-worth and value—that's the beautiful thing about recovery—you get to discover exactly who you are and what you want. You get to treat yourself the way you want to be treated and look for others who will treat you the way you know you deserve to be treated—with kindness, respect, patience, love, and encouragement. Those wonderful types of relationships are out there, waiting just for you.
One place to find these affirming relationships is at Co-dependents Anonymous meetings. Find someone who has been in the program for a long time. (Preferably someone with whom you would NOT be romantic—who may have serious relationship or co-dependent issues and may not be totally aware of them yet.)
Another good place, perhaps the best place, is to find a professional counselor who understands co-dependency and can be an empathic listener and affirmer in your life. Someone who will help you see yourself without judging you, and will help you grow through your issues and see yourself in new ways.
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Above all, affirm yourself. Rejoice in who you are. Appreciate yourself as a unique, wonderful, expression of God. You are the most precious, special, and amazing you that ever was or ever will be. As Walt Whitman says, "celebrate yourself." Take good care of you and be as loving and tender with others as you can.
Thank you, God for affirming that it is OK for me to love myself and celebrate myself. Thank you for creating the unique human being that I am.
next: Messages of Love
Staff, H. (2008, December 6). Celebrate Yourself, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, June 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/serendipity/celebrate-yourself