Friday, September 27, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge # 13: Becoming Whole

This is a post that volumes of books could be written about. Becoming whole I believe is the true goal of every other goal that we have in life.
What does it mean to be whole? It means not feeling as if you need anything outside of yourself to complete you. You are happy with who you are and fulfilled by your life. You don't need another person, a relationship, a title, label or anything else to make you feel better about yourself.
The problem when someone who feels incomplete enters into a relationship is that they expect the other to fill needs. They aren't in a relationship for the pleasure of it or to learn to be loving and give love as a person who feels whole is.
Of course, it's much more pleasant to be in a relationship with someone who wants to give love and be loving and who believes relationships should be pleasurable than it is to be with someone who wants to get love from you and expects you to behave certain ways to make them feel good.
There's a lot more to being whole then being a good partner. Actually, when you are complete and whole, you don't feel the need for a relationship. You may want a relationship because you feel that it could add some joy and love to your life, but you feel great about yourself and about your life with or without one.
Wholeness and a loving relationship with yourself is absolutely prerequisite for a healthy, loving, intimate relationship. It's impossible to have this kind of relationship with anyone, no matter how great they are, if you are looking for them to complete you or give something to you that you think you don't have. In other words, relationships don't work in a positive way if you are codependent. I've heard many definitions and explanations of what codependency is, but I feel that codependency can be summed up briefly: 1. Expecting that another will give to you that which you believe you don't have and feeling upset when they don't 2. Blaming another for their bad feelings or undesirable condition 3. Not feeling good enough as you are. There are a lot of other traits that codependent people possess, but I'd like to talk about these as I believe these are fundamental.
When someone who is codependent is in a relationship they feel that the other person is there to meet their needs. They believe that their partner should make them happy and be a certain way to please them. They have rules for the labels that they've assigned to this person that they are in a relationship, they expect them to live up to them and they become upset and reactionary when that person doesn't.
A codependent person blames others for how they feel and for whatever is going on in their lives. This is true for the negative as well as the positive. A codependent will say that a person that they are in a relationship with "saved them" or caused these wonderful things to happen in their life. It's not an awful thing to feel good about someone, but when you believe that someone has rescued you, that you would be diminished in some way if they weren't in your life or that they bring into your life something that you couldn't bring into your own life, this is giving your power away. This is expression of incompleteness.
Very often, the way that you can first tell if someone is codependent is if they blame others for the way that they feel or the conditions they don't like in their life. This is the same as saying: "You have power over me to control the way I feel. You can make me feel bad. I am a victim."
Codependency causes people to feel awful about themselves because they are dependent on others for their self esteem. They place so much value on what others think and feel because it's so important that others like them. They're needy and always reaching out for another to validate them, give them guidance or make them feel better. No one can meet these needs and when they fail, as they inevitably will, the codependent person is crushed. Her very identity is shaken when another disapproves, rejects or ignores her.
I would say that most people do have some issues with codependency at different points in their life. However, I also believe that anyone can be whole, complete and capable of having healthy, loving, intimate interdependent relationships.
Intimacy is impossible in a relationship where one or both of the partners feel incomplete. The person who believes that they are incomplete can't be themselves because they are always trying to be what the other person wants them to be. Authenticity is an important part of becoming whole. Do you speak your truth or do you say what you think the other wants to hear? Do you say things that are on your mind in the present or to try and get something from your mate, or to get them to behave in a certain way?
A whole person takes full responsibility for their moods, their thoughts, their relationships and their lives. They know that their partner is capable of doing the same and doesn't feel responsible for any "issues" that their partner has. They allow their partner to be themselves and do as they do, appreciating them as they are. They understand that what others do is beyond their ability to control and they have a full and happy life no matter what others are doing. They have an internal drummer that they listen for and honor, and they march to that beat regardless of what is going on around them.
A whole person knows that they are the only one who can know exactly what it is that they want and takes action to change their conditions. They know that what they are feeling is a choice that they made, and they aren't afraid to feel whatever it is that they are feeling. If there are conditions that are not changeable, they do what they can do to feel better about it.
Possibly the worst thing about being codependent is the feeling of not being good enough as you are. The healthy person that feels complete knows that while they should never stop growing, they are good enough as they are to be worthy of a loving relationship. There is nothing that they need to do, no course they have to take to be better, no counseling to fix who they are. They know that there is nothing that they need to fix about themselves and they are capable, lovable, desirable beings.

You challenge for today is to one small part of what could become a lifelong journey of becoming whole. Choose one thing to do to become whole. Research something small that you can do today (and everyday if you'd like to become more and more whole) or choose something from the list below:
1. Take an inventory of your life. Do you have things in your life that make you feel good when you do them on your own (without your partner or friends)? If the answer is no, ask yourself what it is that you would like to do that you would enjoy. Do it.
2. Spend some time alone nurturing yourself in some way. Take a bath, read, meditate etc.
3. Stop asking for opinions from others or guidance from any outside source. Stop going to psychics, friends, your mom or anyone else for any advice. Instead, inquire within. 
4. Speak your truth, even if no one else agrees. Do so non-defensively and with love, but do stand by your own truth. 
5. Feel your feelings as they come up. Don't "squish them down", deny them, attempt to escape them or distract yourself. Above all DON'T pretend that you feel something other than what you're feeling. Be your best friend and stand by yourself.   

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