Choices

Recently I had the experience of getting some negative and pointed feedback on something I posted. I’ve taken for granted that my writing has a limited reach. I believe that most of the people who have stumbled across my content have done so mostly by accident and had they chosen to stay or interact it was due to shared strategy towards recovery, or at least something that I said resonated with them in the moment.

The item in question and the person who offered it are not really required for this discussion. I’ve said that I welcome alternate recovery strategies and I do. I also believe that by sharing we can all learn new tricks, which is always a good thing. I don’t think that personal improvement and healing is universal, I believe this process is best as a self-directed and adaptable plan. I accept that what I feel, say, and write is not for everyone and vice versa. It isn’t personal, we just like different things: I’m an autumn and you’re a summer – isn’t that grand?

However, I did find it hard to let go of the delivery of this alternate view point. The implication was that my approach to healing is wrong and they were right. They seemed to take personal offence to my suggestion that self-improvement was required on my part and that codependency is a farce designed to send wounded people on a quest of introspection and self-blame that is totally unnecessary and a waste of their precious time. They berated me for considering any toxicity in my actions which I found interesting considering they surely do not know me well enough to make such a flattering judgment!

I’ve given these comments some thought, and I agree with certain pieces of their argument.

Most of codependency behavior is basic and normal human nature. It is in our nature to want to connect. It is in our nature to want to invest in the growth of our families. It is seen as a good trait in a person to be willing to go to some measure of sacrifice for those they love. It is human to want to help someone you care about who is struggling, we all want to be somebody’s hero. It is normal to be disappointed when our contributions are not recognized. It is human to be upset when people’s actions and words sting us. Most of us also have slivers of narcissism, if only in our belief in our ability to inspire change in others or in our entitlement for recognition of our good deeds.

Much like addiction is to every person’s inclination to numb or require respite from the trials of being human, codependency is also an extreme expression of the human condition. And thus, I agree with the implication that being in a codependent relationship, much like being an addict, doesn’t make you fundamentally broken. We are all vulnerable to these states, and neither should carry the stigma they do. But, I do not agree that there is no room for adaptation and improvement.

Being human is laden with flaws but it also comes with greatness in that we have almost boundless potential for learning and growth. We can reinvent ourselves with enough effort and context. If a person is adequately motivated and determined, they can reprogram themselves in amazing and unimagined ways. That is not to say that everyone should be consumed by personal growth but it seems a shame to not take advantage of one of our greatest gifts.

With a year and a half of this journey under my belt, I see personal development and recovery not as an expression of hate for who I am. I see it as the ultimate expression of self-love; I recognize my potential, my resilience, my adaptability, and my strength. I owe it to myself to grow. I owe it to myself to learn when the context of my life changes. I owe it to myself to be open to joy, fulfillment, and opportunities.  I owe it to myself to be available for the moment.

I thank this commenter for the reminder that I am not broken but rather that I am evolving and that is something I am not ashamed to be excited about and share.

While I anticipate that at least some of you will challenge my ideas, and I look forward to that feedback, I request that we all approach each other with an open and respectful mind. I remind myself that every comment, like, critique, and message is from a live person and request that the same consideration is given to me.

I challenge us all to remember that we have choices. We can always pick where we devote our energy. While I hope that you will continue to share your stories, opinions, and experiences as well as considering mine I respect your right to divert your attention elsewhere.

All my best,

J.

6 thoughts on “Choices

  1. Pam DiDonato

    I hope you are able to let it Go. Once we start picking everything apart and dissecting, the point is lost. You’re doing a wonderful thing by sharing your experience. Keep it up.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    1. Haha you’ve picked up on one of my favourite “hobbies”! Working at it, but it’s a slow process. Old habits put up a fight… there seems to be a sweet spot between feeling what you need to feel and extracting the lesson and beating a dead horse. Some days I find that place more easily than others! Appreciate your comment, thank you!

      Like

  2. jonicaggiano

    I actually agree with what you have to say from experience. Growing up in an alcoholic family we were the caretakers of our parents. That carried over. When I was in my twenties and early thirties I chose unhealthy friends due to my codependent behavior. An example: one of my best friends was poor and had two children to feed. I gave her clothes, food for her kids and my love. I realized after she started telling me she was sick or couldn’t hang out that she was actually out on dates or just doing something else. So after I learned more about co-dependence from reading and therapy, I realized it was not normal to continue a friendship with someone who wasn’t really my friend. I also did much of what I did for a sense of belonging and expectation that she would be there for me. This is a one sided and unhealthy relationship. We can work at a food bank, which I have done and give food to the poor but picking friends for the wrong reasons is not healthy. You have an excellent point. I consider being over my codependent behaviors a blessing. You keep giving your advice. Everyone doesn’t have to agree like you said but the first step to getting better is to recognize you have a problem. I don’t have a lot of followers either but it isn’t going to slow me down and if what I say connects with one person that makes me feel grateful. Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so grateful whenever we can validate each other’s experiences… even when they are crappy. Thank you for sharing that story, I’m sure that was a painful realization and hard to walk away. I’m glad that you did what you had to do for your well being, even if it sucked.

      It’s tough putting your process and your thoughts out there. I agree, it is more important to reach one person than many. There will always be people who disagree and disapprove and becoming ok with that being ok is another important life lesson. I wonder if sometimes we have these experiences as a reminder to stay humble and open minded to new ideas.

      I like this over-used quote from Socrates: “the only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing”. Talk about finding peace in surrender and paradox, it is only through acceptance of our own ignorance that we grow wise.

      Liked by 1 person

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