How to free my mind?

I have always been a person who strives to understand human nature and myself. When I was in high school my goal was to be a psychologist, in fact. That’s how fascinating people and their motivations are to me, figuring out what makes them tick. But alas, life intruded and I never got to follow that dream. However, that didn’t stop me from continuing my quest to learn how the human mind works and what motivates us. This quest has created for me a deep and abiding spiritual life as well as a life of the mind. I have been told more times than I can remember that I am ‘too deep’ or “out there.’ So be it. I like who I am and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t easily fit into a mold. In fact, I’m proud that I don’t.

So in that vein of discovering what motivates us, I wanted to speak to you about a book I just finished called, “Co-Dependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Care for Yourself,” by Melony Beattie. I was led to read this book out of a sense of desperation. After my husband and I separated I was, for the first time in years, single and living totally alone. I had lived alone back when my son first went off to college, but I hated it. This time I wanted to learn to like it, but first I knew I had to figure out how to like myself more. Ever since my other son died two years ago I have really been down on myself, bearing the weight of guilt that comes with grief when someone you love kills them self. I began to really watch myself, how I related to other people, my reactions to situations, and I saw that I was a controlling person, although I cloaked it under the umbrella of trying to help. The control I needed was not actually about other people. It was me who felt out of control. This much I knew before I cracked open that book. But let me tell you, I didn’t have a clue how co-dependent I was or how much better I would feel after reading the book. I see that I am not so “out there” after all, for one thing. Millions of people are co-dependent, and the good news is that you don’t have to stay that way.

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I learned that most co-dependents come from dysfunction families, of which I am one of those people. Learning to be a caretaker, someone who could be depended on to save the day, learning to please others to win approval, is something co-dependents often learn when they are young and growing up in their dysfunctional homes as a coping mechanism. Well that describes me perfectly! And reading those words gave me so much hope, because behind them came suggestions on how to change.

I don’t need other people’s approval to be happy. I need MINE. I don’t have to give and give to be liked. If I am loving myself, people will be naturally drawn to me. I don’t have to be in control of anything but myself. I don’t have to be reactionary. Nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world. I can trust myself to make good decisions. I am not helpless, nor am I am victim.

I feel the yoke of guilt and shame I have carried all my life being lifted daily, and I can’t tell you how free I am feeling. Of course, it will take time to undo behaviors that are almost as old as I am, but I am being patient with myself. Now that I am armed with knowledge I feel empowered to finally be free of the need to please.

If you see yourself in this article, by all means PLEASE get this book and read it. I bought it used on Amazon for around $6.00. The best money I have ever spent. I am going to read it again. That’s how good it is. This journey of life can be heaven or hell. The last few years have been hell. I am so outta there!