Codependency is often confused as love. When fear is the basis of a relationship and we hold on to people motivated by anxieties of a life alone, we end up locking our hearts up in a perpetual prison. The mind tries to negotiate and rationalize what is already known to the heart; too many stay in miserable relationships as we try to justify the misgivings we feel about our love.
If you take away nothing else from this article, just remember this. Where fear exists; love is not to be found. Even those relationships that could have otherwise worked out get shattered among the rocks of suspicion and doubt. Codependency grows when we try to love others before we love ourselves. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” a very wise healer once said–it is impossible to love your neighbor though if you don’t first love yourself.
A few months ago, a friend in Wellington, Colorado shared a story about why his marriage fell apart. He told me that he loved his wife in ways that he never loved anyone else. Except there was a glaring problem in the relationship–he got lost in his relationship and forgot about himself. Once a man of faith, he put aside everything–including the relationships he had with church and the faith in God he built up over a lifetime–in order to pursue the love of his life.
Therein was the problem; by making his wife the only point of happiness and shuttering every other part of who he was in order to please his love, he told me that he ultimately made her his god. This was a disaster in waiting; two people who get lost in each other and lose who they are as individuals end up fostering codependency that eventually eats away at the love they once had. I’ve done this before in my past, the “one” who I thought was the love of my life eventually became my prison because I could not imagine a life apart from my ex.
Love is hard but it does not have to be a tribulation. The tribulation invariably arrives the minute we elevate others to the level of gods. In hindsight though I realize that this too is a process; we must go through these growing pains of figuring who we are before we find the one we are supposed to be with. The first is a preparations for the second when it comes to love. Heartbreak is necessary in order to appreciate true love when it finally comes to us. The irony of all ironies is that true love arrives most of the time when we stop looking for it.
For 13 years, I tried to do it my way and insisted on staying with someone in a relationship I knew a long time ago was not fated to work. For my stubbornness and my need to control all outcomes, my actions ended up hurting two people–codependency hurt two of us equally. If only I could tell the old me to stop trying to control all outcomes I could have avoided trying to drink from a well that ran dry a long time ago.
Through it all I am forever grateful and count my hardship as blessings; a path of tribulation led me away from fear and into a place of true love where I don’t have to choose motivated on fear but inspired by love that is given without regret or guilt. As noted earlier; the first is the preparation for the second. There is no remorse in life because I would not be where I am at today had it not been for the trials I went through in the past. There is a time and a season for all; heartbreak is necessary in order to mend from within–in time a season arrives where you love freely. #LovePrison
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” ~ Bertrand Russell
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Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss love and how our perspective of love is formed and informed by the past. We must heal from the past in order to love freely in the future.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss people pleasing which is a germ that destroys all relationships.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
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