Co-dependent living is the main way I have lived. What it means is that I have mostly lived based on other people’s experiences of life. More specifically, if someone I was with was mad, it was hard for me not to be mad. If someone was feeling dismal about the state of affairs in their life, it was hard for me not to join them.
I remember one instance more than 10 years ago when our group at work moved offices and one of my colleagues was very grumpy and frustrated about all the things that went wrong. I hadn’t set out to be grumpy, but I remember somehow watching myself grow grumpier and grumpier and there was this awareness in me that was watching me do that, but I didn’t feel like I could choose my own experience. In a way, I was co-dependent; I was unable to determine and decide how I wanted to approach the situation, I was caught in her reaction, literally feeling choice-less.
It wasn’t until early last week that I started seeing how I could make a choice about how I experienced each situation, instead of only relying on others to show me how I should respond/react/handle a specific circumstance. Last week, I was with my daughter and I realised that I was getting panicky and overwhelmed and that was my default way of handling the situation. From within, I somehow stopped, breathed and decided that I could have my own experience of the situation and that the feelings of overwhelm and panic were trying to guide me, to show me that I was outside of my own experience. They were like signposts. None of it had anything to do with my daughter, she was acting perfectly fine, but my response showed me that I was outside of myself and that I could come back to me and make my own choices about how to handle the situation. It was really like an aha moment, where I could see the reality of what was going on and literally take a step back and reclaim my life from my default way of experiencing life.
Through that small realisation and change in relating to the world, things now seem easier. I somehow found it easier to talk about my opinions and feelings, without being scared, most likely because my well-being was tied up in how others were going to react to a situation any longer. It was like I gave myself some space and permission to be more me; to know that it was safe to be me and that I didn’t have to gauge my well-being based on how others are experiencing life all around me, but solely based on how well I could stay with myself and inside of my own experience, instead of abandoning myself for the sake of how other people were reacting.
It is funny, because I feel like life has given me a myriad of unique experiences in the past two weeks, almost as a way to nudge me back to myself, so that I could find the peace that could come from having my own experience of life. Yesterday and today, I literally felt myself going into someone else’s experience (and because I am quite sensitive to energy and feelings, I also felt them coming into me), and I was able to make the decision to come back to me, and make a choice about what was best for me in my experience. It was so effortless and instinctive! I really am grateful for life for guiding me here and to all the beautiful people who are playing various roles in my life, helping me to turn around, breathe and to choose me. Through choosing me, I am learning to deeply love myself, so that more of me can emerge and shine through, which is such a gift that I can then share with others in return.
May we all be blessed with the clarity to choose love for ourselves! May we all be blessed with the courage to have our own experiences and to love ourselves when that isn’t possible.