Have you ever had a once in a lifetime opportunity presented before you, and you didn’t take it? How about just any opportunity? The second question is easy; the answer, a resounding YES. The first question is a little harder to discern, people have different interpretations of what that means. Most of our opportunities are “once in a lifetime”, so consider all of the ones you’ve already passed up! To improve yourself, to get a salary increase, to spend time with your lover. The opportunity to listen, to speak out, to take your dreams head on. Who is stopping you from doing it? Another easy one; the answer is, you are. We are not born feeling worthless, depressed and stagnant. It is a part of the human spirit to take risks, to adventure, and to explore, so how come we don’t. We end up giving up on ourselves and accept the mundane, the abusive, and the self-destructive. Giving up our power to manifest our own greatness in life, and leaving it to someone else to make a decision for you. Continuing this habit of holding back on our choices or having a fear that we may “rock the boat” by speaking our mind are signs of a codependent lifestyle. We think to ourselves, well I can’t speak up so it’s up to that other person to make my decisions and make me happy. Our emotions and thoughts are now riding on someone else; in many situations, it’s a significant other, it could also be a friend. We rely on our partner to make the decisions while we just seemingly walk through our lives in a trance. When things don’t work out to our desire, then the blame is on that other person because it was their decision. Deep down, though, it’s up to us to let that person have our power. Some people will be happy to take your power as long as you’re willing to give it up. This is the beginning or the perpetuation of a cycle that is deeply rooted in our unconscious mind.
In Melody Beattie’s book, Codependency No More, she discusses the aspects of codependency and why people develop it. This book really gripped me and helped me overcome some of my own codependent behaviors. In it, she is telling a story that resonates across the world and affects millions of people. The story of how we gave up our power. It can begin when we are children and we experience the effects of a parent with substance abuse issues such as drinking. It can also begin with a traumatic situation in our adulthood. Something that told us to stop caring about ourselves. When we don’t care about ourselves we don’t feel like we’re worthy. When we don’t feel like we’re worthy we become unstable and begin to engage in self-destructive behaviors and surround ourselves with destructive people. Operating under the spell of codependency means that your personal challenges, your goals, and above all, your dreams are superseded by the need to satisfy others. Notice I say SATISFY because that is all you are doing. We as people with codependent characteristics tend to maintain the “peace” or general contentedness of our lives. We tend to always be on edge, ready at a moment’s notice to rescue someone out of their predicaments. Who wants to go through life just running around maintaining things, patching up holes in our environment. I see it like trying to maintain a dilapidated house with crumbling foundations, rotted walls, and the ceiling is caving in. There we are trying to prop the foundation, or trying to patch the holes in the roof, patching the walls. Only really maintaining the situation and relying on a false hope that things will get better on their own. When in reality that house needs to be bulldozed, and a new stronger foundation needs to be laid. Just like a house, our foundation must be strong in order to stand on our own with confidence and self-worth. Once we establish our strength and power in the universe than we can build the walls and roof, or manifest the life we deserve around us. Yes, it is easy for us to see the dilapidated house and associate the “great” times we had with it. Nostalgia, in my opinion, can also be a product of a codependent mindset. Always trying to get things back to a more “stable” time. What we have to understand is what worked for us then will not work for us now in most cases. I look at instability as a time of recognition. Our previous lifestyles are not currently working for us so it shakes our world and dares us to question ourselves. It is daring us to address the issue correctly and invest the time, contemplation, and emotional energy needed to change. It is not easy dealing with our emotions! The easy thing to do is to look back, see ourselves in a contented moment, and try to relive it.
Many people in abusive relationships will rush to take care of the abuser because they have convinced themselves that this is the path to their contentedness. We put all of our life stuff on the back burner to rush over and put out the flames of instability. We lie to ourselves and think that as long as we focus all of our efforts on maintaining some perversion of happiness, that everything will be okay. As long as we focus our attention on the abuser than they won’t hit us, or verbally abuse us. As long as we allow him/ her to abuse us, then they won’t abuse our children. You will build a case for why you should be abused, or hurt in any way. You will build a case for why you don’t deserve what you have always dreamed of. As codependents, we can be convinced that our dreams and aspirations are worthless. Remember, this is the story of how we gave up our power, we are giving up our powers to these abusers, to these hopeless victims of their own destructiveness. It is not your responsibility to figure out why your abusive spouse hits you, shouts at you, or drinks heavily. It is not your responsibility to figure out why these people don’t care about themselves enough to change. It’s not your obligation to run to their rescue. Do not allow yourself to join in on other people’s chaos. When they extend the invitation to their big pity party, don’t RSVP, throw it in the garbage! Detach. I am not saying to stop loving others, or stop being compassionate! Detach in the sense that you are taking a step back from someone’s chaos and evaluating how it is you are feeling. Les Brown says, “.. don’t allow your circumstances to determine who you are. You have something special, you have greatness within you..” Do not allow what is going on with other people to determine how you should live your life! You do have something special, you have power. The power to manifest your deepest desires in life. If you have been allowing other people to have that power, stop giving it. The other thing is, don’t play the victim game! If you are playing it, stop! Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Constantly thinking it’s not fair what is happening to you. Life is not fair; there are atrocities going on around the world almost on a daily basis. Life will smack us all around at some point, and we can either cower before our challenges or face them boldly. Accept what life gives us, learn from it, and push forward to your success. When it comes to your dreams and your aspirations, no one can fulfill them but you. How can you focus your power to manifest your greatness if you’re only using half of it, and giving the other half to someone who either will not or cannot find their own power? Time is precious. It is too precious to be squandering it, trying to patch up the holes of your dilapidated situation. Detach. Bulldoze that ugly, mildewy, rotten situation and begin anew on strong foundations. These foundations should ground you, reaffirm your worthiness and confidence.
In Wing Chun Kung Fu I am told to find a center with my body. This is achieved by relaxing my shoulders, keeping the back straight, and sinking down into a half-sitting posture, or referred to as the Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma. This “horse stance” as it is commonly referred to, is how you establish a stable, powerful, center of gravity with your body. It is the most important part of Wing Chun, throwing and deflecting punches from this center. That is where the power comes from. The same concept can be used figuratively with ourselves. Finding our center. Establishing our confidence and worthiness by building a foundation based on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual stability. When you are mentally unstable your powers are weakened. If I were to try and throw a punch from an unstable stance, I would lose power and balance, and open myself up for some physical punishment! If you try and make a decision from a state of instability, you will find that life will knock you on your ass and lay into you hard! Life is always challenging us and knocking us down, constantly reminding us that we must find a center with ourselves on all levels. Just like Wing Chun, finding your center comes from years of practice. It comes from years of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual work on yourself. You cannot become a master of Wing Chun within one week. Even if you have seen and tried all of the moves you have not mastered them. We cannot become masters of our lives with one session of listening to something positive or by reading one book on mindfulness. We must walk the walk! Don’t get caught up in thinking how easy it is for others to manifest their greatness and how hard it is for you. Your story is directed by, written by, and stars you. It’s all about your journey to greatness! Along with this new path you take, with your newly established foundation, you will encounter some great people. People who inspire you and take the journey with you, and people who will love you for who you truly are. For some of us, we may be given a second chance to start this great new journey with a current lover, or friend. This will not happen without some kicking and screaming along the way! It will be challenging to bump old habits and change lifestyles but you must persist. To shed the codependency means to take back control of your destiny. You have endured so much already, so you have the strength of perseverance on your side. When you give up the codependency lifestyle, when you bulldoze that crumbling, shambling structure and replace it with strong foundations, that is when you get your power back. This is when you can begin to manifest your greatness.