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Use These 5 Practical Tips to Work Through Codependency Issues (Oh Hey Self-Love)

What is codependency?

Codependency, in the simplest terms, can be defined as the dependence of one human on another human or a substance for survival. In psychological terms, it means the excessive need (almost addiction) that one human feels for an external agent for their social, emotional, and sometimes physical wellbeing.

As soon as we are born we become codependent. A baby is codependent by nature. As we grow, we start depending on various people and groups – on family, on friends, on school, on our community.

Later once love blossoms, we get attached to different partners and this cycle continues – marriage, children, grandchildren. And this cycle follows us to the grave.

This shows us that humans, by their very nature, are codependent to a certain degree. As they say, “No man is an island.” So, what’s the problem then?

Is Codependency a Problem?

Codependency can sometimes reach very high levels, which can make relationships toxic.

This relationship can be between two people, between a person and a substance (like drugs, alcohol, food, or work), and even between a person and an activity (like worrying, complaining, thinking, exercising – yes, even exercising!).

You feel codependent when you feel (most of the time) that survival without another person, substance, or activity is unbearable or undoable.

Codependency can sometimes reach very high levels, which can make relationships toxic.

Codependency (which is a form of obsession or addiction) stems from a feeling of lack – a lack in oneself and in this current moment.

It stems from a core belief that this moment is not good enough; something needs to be done to make it bearable. This “something” could be stalking someone on social media, making a phone call to an ex, crying on someone’s shoulder, having a drink, shopping, worrying, etc.

A codependent person lacks the skill to simply “be.” They cannot exist without this person/substance/activity that they have become dependent on.


Here Are 5 Practical Tips to Work Through Codependency Issues:

Codependency is a desperate cry for love. But, not just any love. It’s a cry for self-love.

So, here are some practical, effective ways to heal excessive codependency:

1. Accept and Understand

The first step to solve any problem is to wholeheartedly, unabashedly accept the problem. Open your arms and love your codependency: It is a part of you. Maybe a part that you want to retrain a little bit, but a part nevertheless.

It has been passed down to you from decades of social and cultural conditioning. It is not your fault that you have it, so be kind to yourself. Accept yourself completely and understand that this habit of codependency comes from a long history of the survival of humanity.

2. Focus on Yourself

A big step toward getting codependent behaviors to simmer down is to spend time alone without the object of your codependence. In the beginning, this will be truly difficult. Your brain will pull you toward this object in different ways. That’s when you have to train your brain and distract it.

For example, if you are codependent with an ex, you can make a rule. Every time you think of him/her, you have to replace that impulse with getting on the treadmill and running for 10 minutes while listening to an empowering song.

This will retrain your brain to focus on yourself even if the primary thought was about your ex. Thus, you will slowly bring the focus of your life back on your own organic growth.

3. Develop Your Inner World

Have you ever taken yourself on a date? Watched a movie by yourself? If not, then there is no better time to do that than now. Take yourself out on a date! Write out your likes, dislikes, choices, opinions, views.

Get to know yourself, the same way that you would like to know the person you have a crush on. Become your own best friend. As Carl Jung said, “The world will ask you who you are. If you don’t know, the world will tell you.”

A person who has codependency issues doesn’t really know who they are. They haven’t taken the time to discover their true self.


4. Remove the Victim-Hero Dynamic From Your Headspace

People who have codependency issues often view themselves as a “victim” because they are dependent on someone/something else for their wellbeing. However, another spin on codependency also exists: the “hero.”

A person who has been taught to be a “hero” associates closely with “saving people” as their “way of being.” And to do that, you need people who want to be saved.

Culturally, a knight in shining armor saves (thus, many men are conditioned to be heros) and a damsel in distress needs saving (thus, many women are conditioned to be victims).

Codependency is a desperate cry for love. But, not just any love. It’s a cry for self-love.

This dynamic can indeed be seen as romantic and there is nothing wrong in indulging in this in a playful way. But codependency cannot be a couple’s way of life. Once the knight saves and the damsel is saved, they can both be together happily ever after. But, as fully empowered and balanced individuals.

Saving the damsel all the time will heavily burden the knight. And needing to be saved all the time will always keep the damsel in a feeling of insecurity.

5. Give Without Expecting Back

Once you have gained somewhat of a balance with your codependent situation, it is truly advisable to do something for others without the expectation of getting something back.

The “service to self then service to others” attitude can help you balance between the hero-victim-observer dynamic. This will help you love others and help others – not from a place of need, but from a place of overflowing love.

The Takeaway on Codependency and How to Move Past It

Sri Sri Anandamurti said: “You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars, guides you too.”

You have the strength, the awareness, and the ability to move past any limiting thought patterns or constructs that hold you back.

Love yourself, trust yourself, and use these practical tips to help you rise up and thrive as the powerful, independent force that you are!

Need more self-love in your life? Make Self-Love a Habit With These 25 Practices

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Making Loving Yourself a Habit With These 25 Self-Love Practices
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Radhika Banhatti

Radhika Banhatti is a computer science engineer who works for a software company. She is also a mom, Reiki Healer and Kundalini Yoga practitioner. In her spare time she likes reading and interpreting mystical poetry and writing on her blog.

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