At this point, you are feeling empty. There’s a void, where this codependent attachment used to be. Now that you are no longer so deeply immersed in the lives of others, you don’t know what to do with all that is left. What is left, you ask? Yourself.
Time to Explore
Ok, so let’s talk about YOU. What are you? Is pain the only part of you that exists? Are your problems the only reason to wake up in the morning? Hopefully, you’ve glimpsed in your own life and the lives of others that pain can diminish and problems do get resolved. So we don’t have to constantly live in pain or be problem-solving day and night, even for ourselves.
We’ve already established that you cannot live for other people’s problems. Nor can you go into a depression about your own problems, and make that your identity. How about the world? Does the world really need us to change it, to “save” it? In other words, should you define your purpose in life based on what the world needs, or should you define your purpose based on what you are being called to explore? As Steve Pavlina argues, exploring is a far more “enjoyable”, God-conscious, and happier way to live rather than just care-taking.
Here’s another proof that exploring is better than rescuing. In the Quran, the second page begins:
This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt,
a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). – 2:2
Who believe in the unseen, and establish worship, and
spend of that We have bestowed upon them; – 2:3 ”
If you wish to be of the “muflihoon” ie. the successful ones, then you need to “spend” of what Allah has given you of talents, passions, interests, and not just money. It’s the most important thing after fixing your belief, and establishing prayer. So what better way is there to live than to assess yourself and then GO where your gifts are pointing you?
Responsibility = Response ability
Taking responsibility for yourself and your life is not the same as being selfish and forgetting about everyone but yourself. You are NOT burying your head in the sand, by becoming super-busy or really isolated. What you are saying is that you will see and respond in an able manner to:
Your own needs
Your problems that can be solved
Your attitude towards problems that can’t be solved
Your goals which you need to make and strive for
Making sure that you are enjoying life
Your love for people
What you do to friends, and enemies 🙂
What you allow them to do to you
Valuing all parts of your personality
Allowing others to live their lives
Why This is Hard For Me
Why is it so hard for a codependent to give to herself or himself? To understand my own reasons, I have had to examine my innermost beliefs. The work of getting to those beliefs is not easy, but it’s worth it. Our free guide “Stop Feeling Bad” can help you with that work.
When we follow our feelings down to their original ‘core’ thought, we find we believe we shouldn’t even talk about our needs. We’ve been shamed into thinking needs are bad, wrong, or that these needs will never be met, since they weren’t met in childhood. When we showed emotions in the past, we were quickly silenced. We only got validated when we cared for other people, including the adults in our lives. Or we only got attention and loved when we behaved helpless and allowed others to rescue us.
So in pursuit of that validation, we’ve abandoned ourselves, leaving a lonely inner child who has been shamed into hiding. When we abandoned ourselves, we believed that Allah has abandoned us too.
For myself, I’ve found that I believed I had to keep others happy. Eldest children are often trained up from a young age to have that self-sacraficing attitude.
A Simple Question
“What do I need?” This simple question is the antidote to that harshness that we have towards ourselves. If we take a moment to get still and calm, we find that our intuition can provide an answer to what we need to give ourselves in this moment. Some days are so stressful that we need to ask ourselves that every hour. Of course, that voice sounds like our voice in our head, but it is granted guidance and tawfiq from the Highest Power. You’re not going to hear a thunderous male voice issuing from the sky (or ceiling) when you pray for clarity. But we have to have faith that same Allah who directs your blood to where it needs to go, will also be directing your thoughts when you’re making an effort to be humble and really listen to Him.
Sometimes we find we need to laugh, play, or connect with a loved one. But sometimes what we need is tough love. Sometimes we need to process some very bad feelings. So it’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s work. But in the end, we understand that we matter.
And we act accordingly.
Leading To Love Magazine helps believing women and men learn to stay away from abusers, to strengthen their relationship with their Higher Power and to find better healthier relationships. We draw upon experts of every faith, while addressing Muslims in particular.