Can you set others free to feel and do whatever they need? Can you trust that they have a Higher Power who has a divine plan for their life? Discuss any codependent thoughts or feelings around this subject.
This is my question for the day. For those of you that are not aware, I have been working through the book 30 Shamanic Questions by Linda Star Wolf. I am on Question 20. This is sort of intendended to be done in about 30 days. Without actually looking, I feel like I have been working on this for about 3 months!
Most of these I keep private and work on them internally. I feel that this question is a little different. It impacts how I interact with others.
“Most of us suffer from a certain degree of codependent behaviors. One of the main symptoms is the belief that you know what is best for another; that it is your responsibility to fix, control, heal or cure someone else. You are unconsciously projecting your process on to others ‘for their own good’, or so you believe.”
That is a brief description of codependency.
There are two quotes in this chapter that resonate with me as well. I’m sharing them before diving into where I am on all of this…
Each of us must reinterpret his family experience from an evolutionary point of view, from a spiritual point of view, and discover who he(she) really is. Once we do that, our control drama falls away, and our real lives take off. ~ James Redfield from The Celestine Prophecy (one of my favorite self help books)
then a new quote that really leapt out at me….
It may help you to realize that moving from the Tribal mindset into individual power is inevitable. Most of us will arrive at some point in our lives when the world with which we are most familiar no longer works for us. For some people, it happens more than once. We are meant to outgrow ourselves; indeed, we can no more avoid this development than we can stop the aging process. The only question is how gracefully – and healthily – we will handle the transition. ~ Caroline Myss, Ph.D. from Why People Don’t Heal and How they can
So this is my prompt today, this week.
In fact, I think this prompt captures something that I have been feeling especially keenly lately. I’m going to avoid politics, but the results of politics has many many people all around the world coming to terms with that concept that the “world with which we are familiar no longer works for us.”
Over and over and over this last week, I have participated in, joined in, been sucked in, been blindsided, witnessed others…. fall into debate|argument|fights|unfriending|blocking related to the impact of this on all of us.
I have been working on my second codependency.
I’ve been codependent for a long time. I worked through it once and reduced it significantly when I was in my teens and twenties. Later in life it rekindled when I wasn’t paying attention and it bit me in the ass!
I have been working on my second codependency for the last two years. I am making lots of progress and on a good day, I will never have a political conversation.
Politics is a peculiar beast. As humans we need interaction. We need to establish our own personal boundaries such that we can control our lives and live with free will. We need to do what we need to do.
Yet, we are not alone in this world. There are other people and sometimes we bump into one another and our free will’s collide. This is where politics comes into existence.
It is the rules that we collectively establish to maintain healthy boundaries. We might also have to setup additional boundaries, but they may not be enforced by laws.
Politics gets painful when we feel that someone else is trying to rewrite those boundaries and ‘control us’ or remove controls that we have over ourselves.
Why would someone deem that they can change rules and attempt to control our lives?
Lately, I have witnessed this on both sides of the US political spectrum and more. It seems to happen most often when we ‘judge’ other people.
At some point, when people judge others (instead of minding their own business and working on themselves), AND when people specifically judge others to be deficient, this is when this thought seems to creep into their minds…. This thing is not right. This person is not right. This way of living is not right.
We need to do something about this thing. We need to change it. We need to control it. We need to control them.
Judgement + the decision to control others
To simplify this concept, its akin to judging someone to be less than human and enslaving them.
This is how painful the impact is on those that experience it. They may or may not be in actual shackles, but they lose rights, they lose control, they lose representation in a democracy, they lose their identity in the world. The result is a level of slavery. At its worst, it becomes actual slavery.
So it comes as no surprise that people will rebel against being enslaved. They will rebel against people that will Decide to control them. They will rebel at people that take that early first step to Judge them.
Judgement of others leads to Slavery.
We can judge ourselves. We can assess where we are and recalibrate where we are going.
This is where Question 20 comes into play!
First, we have to take care of our own destiny.
But Empathy, a very human emotion and capability, it is also a judgment trap!
We humans have this awesome ability to share information. We can share stories. We can learn from each other. We can empathize and put ourselves into the shoes of other people, characters that are fictional or real people that we meet.
It is literally one of the things that makes us human. We can feel at a smaller level what others feel when they have an experience.
We can try that experience and feeling out mentally and we can contemplate how we would react. What we would choose to do the same and what we would choose to do differently.
Sometimes we come to a conclusion. “I’d never do it that way!”
Sometimes we even share our conclusion with the person that shared their story, but we draw a foul when we say “Don’t do it that way. You are wrong to do it the way you are doing. You should do it this way. Don’t be foolish” or something worse.
We have suddenly delved into judgment and control.
This is not to be confused with situations where someone asks us for our advice. (Another sticky wicket of a thing to do, but at least they are asking for help or our perspective or maybe even our judgment. )
The cool thing is that we can all be a lot happier when we choose to only live and control our own lives.
When we stop telling other people what to do and how to live, when we stop trying to judge and enslave people, we are happier. They are happier.
When we empower people to make their own choices and do their thing and cover their own responsibilities, it liberates and frees them. It removes the shackles of slavery.
When we stop imposing controlling political constraints the same thing comes to be.
The trick of the lesson just learned…
Now I am some 29 years on this path working to hold codependency at bay. I am two years into working at it better than I have in my entire life. I’m at a new level.
I am no master of this process. It is all new. I am unskilled. I am unpracticed. I am a novice. I am learning.
Professionally, I work in a culture that shares lessons learned with each other. If someone learns something from someone else, they then turn around and mentor or teach the next person coming up behind them learning the same thing.
A -> helps B -> helps C -> helps D to infinity.
Along the way, B usually learns something A did not know and C learns something neither B nor A knew and so on. There’s a synergy to the learning cycle such that we all get enriched by the process.
We utilize a system known as Open Source where we share this information in the form of code and iterations of code to make things happen.
I mention this as this is something of an over developed skill. It is a hammer that I bring to many situations. I work in a culture of people where this is the norm.
In other areas of my life, I am quick to want to take the most recent lesson I learned and then share it with the next person I run across that has experienced the same challenge!
Oops, Did they ask for that?
This is one of those areas where one of the symptoms or expressions of Codependency can flare up. It is known as caretaking. Trying to take care of someone or help them, before they have asked for help.
When we do this, we are judging them in need of help and controlling them by providing for help that they did not ask for. It can be done with good intentions, even love, but it does not change the fact that it is judging and enslaving that person.
I am trying Rico. I am trying real hard.
These days, I am working hard to remember to ask if it is ok to provide help.
Failing to ask has gotten me into trouble in personal relationships and professional relationships.
This used to be a weakness of mine.
It is currently something transitioning from a weakness to a strength.
I am aware of my former weakness. Awareness is a big first step!
I work to ask people more and more now.
I do not always remember. These are not words that come naturally or more importantly ‘quickly’ enough.
Many times, I spot something that needs improvement, or I spot something that could be done a bit more effectively, and I just jump in and fix it.
it comes from years of being taught to work that way. If you see something wrong fix it. If you see litter on the ground pick it up. If you are going from one room to the next, take something with you that needs to be put away. Help the family. Watch your brother’s back. Look out for your battle buddy. Your soldiers are your responsibility. Take care of your employees. You have kids to raise and look after and stop them from putting pipe cleaners in electrical outlets….
There are lots of scenarios where this care taking thing can creep into our lives and become dominant traits….
Dominant controlling, enslaving traits.
We can make our world a better place. We can care for our environment.
We cannot MAKE our fellow humans better. As soon as we control them, we have lost ourselves and they have been damaged for the worse.
So I have to remember to ask to help!
I have to practice working these words into my conversation before I do anything.
I have to also remember to just let it go!
I need to remember that even if I spot something that could be done more effectively, if I rob someone of the time and space to spot the thing too, that too is preventing them from doing their thing and becoming their full potential.
So this is where I am.
I share this Question 20 publicly. I share it as you might be able to help me.
If we have a conversation, and I am too quick at suggesting a fix when I am not engaged to be in the role of providing a fix, I would love it if you help remind me.
“I’ve got this. Thanks for caring, but I’ve got this!”
“That’s nice and it might or might not help, but next time please ask me before you help.”
we are talking about judgment and enslaving here
“Fuck off. This is my life. Go focus on your own life. Stop trying to control me!”
Sometimes the harsh words are needed to help the message penetrate our lizard brains. Sometimes we need that harsh defense to protect our personal boundaries.
Sometimes the path to hell is paved with good intentions of codependents trying to judge, control and ‘help’!