Happy Summer! Doesn't it feel like it's finally here?! I hope you are enjoying it to its fullest. School gets out this week and even though I don't have anyone in school at this point in life, that is when it still feels like summer to me.
If I think back, I can conjure up that feeling as a kid on the last day of school. Freedom! Then when your kids are older and have that last day, it is a different kind of freedom. No more schedules, homework, and packing lunches. I will never miss packing lunches! Summer = Lazy. Love it.
We spent the weekend at our cottage, just the two of us. On Saturday, we tackled a large to-do list and Sunday we relaxed all day. We listened to a sermon together, grilled, napped (in the sun) and went for a great bike ride. It was a gorgeous summer day and we took full advantage of it. Looking forward to many more!
This week there were no computer or internet problems, so I want to pick up where I left off talking about a seminar at the She Recovers conference. It was titled "Codependency, The Disease of Looking Elsewhere" and was led by Nikki Meyers. Both the seminar and Nikki impacted me greatly and led me to explore this word further. I also wanted to include her bio here in case you would like to look her up (I highly recommend you do.)
Nikki Meyers is an accomplished yoga therapist, teacher and practitioner. She is the founder of CITYOGA School of Yoga and Health in Indianapolis, IN. From her personal struggles with addiction, Nikki is quick to tell the world, ‘The 12-step program and Yoga saved my life - one is my lifeboat, the other my launching pad’. Her website is y12sr.com, if you'd like to learn more.
“Codependence has been described as ‘the addiction to look elsewhere.’ It’s the belief that something outside of ourselves; people, places, things, behaviors or experiences, can give us fulfillment and joy. This is not only the most common addiction, it is the base out of which all other addictions and compulsions arise.
Codependents can have difficulty: experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem, setting functional boundaries, making decisions and/or verbalizing requests. A serious dis-order which can be life threatening under certain conditions, codependency is often expressed as the need to control or be controlled and/or approval seeking or confrontation avoidant.
At its heart, codependency has to do with our search for our true selves. When we find our true self and connect it with some bigger energy or higher power, we are free to relate to others in a way that opens deeply fulfilling relationships with ourselves, others and the Divine.” -Nikki Meyers
After reading that, you can see why I was intrigued! This really hit home with me. Which part resonates with you?
In a way, we are all codependent, right? I used the comparison of my addiction to the game whack-a-mole in my life in my most recent talk at this year's Get Real Conference. Remember that game? I recall playing it at Chuck E Cheese while my kids were in the germ pit of balls.
Life can be like that game, especially addiction. Just when you have conquered one, another pops up. My game looked like this: Alcohol - WHACK. Food - WHACK! Shopping - WHACK! Sugar - WHACK! Wait, there’s Shopping again - WHACK! Since I’m not shopping, I should celebrate with cake - WHACK! Alcohol, everyone else is drinking at this party I’m going to park myself by the dessert buffet - WHACK! Does this hit a chord with you? It did with me and I quote from above: “the addiction to look elsewhere. It’s the belief that something outside of ourselves; people, places, things, behaviors or experiences, can give us fulfillment and joy.”
Until I attended this seminar, I had no idea codependency could mean a thing, place, or an action! I always thought it was about people! It is, but not completely. This is a disease of looking elsewhere for something or someone to fill you up. We are all dealing with this on some level.
Trying to fill ourselves up with tools from the outside when really, we can only fill that void with a big dose of self esteem that comes from inside. You need to have a good relationship with yourself. That you affirm everyday who you are when you see yourself in the mirror. I love the movie “The Help,” and this quote is one of the reasons:
If you’ve seen the movie, you know why Abilene was saying this to this sweet little girl. The little girl's mother was so demeaning to her. Planting a seed in this sweetness that she was not enough! Abilene was teaching her that no matter what the world says, this is who she really is and to make sure she tells herself that everyday. Teaching her that she is in control of how she feels about herself.
I love that and that’s what God wants us to do. Not fill ourselves up with things of this world to cover up the hurt in life. We need to speak kindly to ourselves and affirm that with Him, we are always enough.
When I am down on myself and beating myself up for doing something I shouldn't of, I need to pause and ask myself why? What am I avoiding or running from? What am I feeling right now? The key is to ask myself these questions before I am already in the moment itself.
When I am in the sale room at Anthropologie, that is not the best time to ask myself those questions because I would have all the wrong answers. The adrenaline is already flowing as my arms are laden with items I don’t need. What I need to do is stop and ask myself (before I get out of the car) how will I feel after this self indulgent, time wasting, behavior?
That answer is always some degree of guilt and it doesn’t fix anything. So now when I add guilt to the current emotion I am already struggling with, I feel even worse. I find that sometimes I'm using those things to avoid doing something I would rather not do. Like a household chore, writing, or phone calls that I have to make. Back in the day of landlines and napping babies I would talk on the phone for hours. Now, I hate to talk on the phone and will do anything to avoid making calls. Sorry, but true. (Please don’t be offended if I talk to you on the phone, sometimes it's totally necessary.)
So I might pick up a snack and my book and promise myself a brief indulgence and then back at it. Never happens; one thing leads to another and before I know it I have wasted precious time doing something I shouldn't have. I write this because I know I am not the only one guilty of this time wasting tactic. I just never considered it a codependency thing, but as you can tell, it is.
These are all things I have been working on, but I must admit I've thought of them as only bad habits. I’m an addict. I do nothing good or bad in moderation. I’ve always told myself that this is just who I am. God has been trying to open my eyes to look at this differently for awhile. This morning I wrote down a reflection I had on a blog I'd read and I want to share it with you:
“My choices are my own. I am choosing to make it difficult. I keep choosing to keep one foot in the door that makes me sick. You are only as sick as your secrets. What if there were no secrets? It is as easy as always making the right choice, every single time.”
It's not that easy though! It's easy at 7:00 AM to write down that statement and follow it, but not at 7:00 PM at night! I am struggling to make a commitment to give up some of these things I find myself dependent on, but this is hard. I don’t know how to moderate anything! I only know how to do the black and white. No alcohol, been there, done that. I get that, but how do I do this with shopping and sugar? I have never been good at this “just a bite thing” or “I am just browsing.” So no more sugar or shopping ever? I don’t think so!
That’s why I believe it has been brought to my attention. It's not just a bad habit or two (or 7)
it’s a codependency issue and I need to work on this. It’s keeping me from living my best life (thanks Oprah.)
I am formulating a plan to change my head game and quit whacking the moles. I’ll let you know how this is going. Gulp. I am starting with this verse. It's going to be on an index card everywhere I look. In my face where it needs to be.
So this week, I shared with you the actions, things, behaviors, and experiences in codependency that hit home with me, but wait there is more! I also learned about the roles we take on in this way of living and thinking when we are codependent. Here's a sneak peek at next week's words:
VICTIM - MARTYR - CONTROL FREAK
In the meantime, let me know if any part of today's blog has hit a chord with you. I would love to hear from you and maybe we can share strategies. We are always stronger together!
Remember: You is kind, you is smart, and you is important. Best of all however, you are a Child of God. Start there because it is an identity that I carry with pride and I hope you do too.
Peace on your weekend,