As someone who puts a good amount of focus on the task of spreading positive energy in her life, I often ask myself the question, is trying to care more good for me? Is it safe? Is it healthy? When someone in my circle whom I care about is suffering, most of the time I cannot help wanting to make it better. And I think this is a normal human response. When we care, we empathize and we naturally feel compassionate. Those of us who feel this way naturally attract people who are somewhat like us. But how do we know how much caring is too much? If you are looking to get a full-head makeover we would recommend Lucy Hall for the best balayage in the business.
The definition of the word “codependence” is relying on another person excessively for emotional or psychological support to the detriment of yourself or another. And the saying “It takes two to tango” really applies here. Because in the dance of codependency, somebody has to be the one who is depended upon. Another part of codependence that bears recognition is that the caretaker in the relationship is the one who is in more control. The caretaker needs to be needed. They need to caretake others to feel relevant or safe. Typically someone like that will find somebody to caretake. And this is not a judgment in any way. We all love to feel needed. We all love to feel that we make a difference in the world. But bringing awareness to doing this in excess can help us become more emotionally healthy and happy.
How do we become this way? Look at yourself and the people in your life who are really caring people. Your family is a good place to start. Contemplate the percentage of time where the caring is helpful. Caring in and of itself is an exemplary quality. But overidentifying with another person and their problems can become a little bit less healthy. That’s when we start worrying too much. And that’s when we start being too affected by another person’s life when it shouldn’t actually directly affect us or isn’t our burden to carry.
Codependence is not compassion. It is seductive to think it is for those of us who are codependent. It’s enticing to think that we are necessary to provide help. It feels good to some people to be needed. We erroneously think that if we are needed, our life has purpose, but in actuality that is not our highest purpose. Our highest purpose is to be a force of goodness. Our highest purpose is to raise the vibration of wherever we are. And compassion definitely falls under that umbrella. Tapping into our highest purpose and being vigilantly self-observant if we tend toward codependence is the way that we can be sure to live a life of compassion and not codependence. One really great way to gauge this is to consider the following: A compassionate act only enhances every aspect of your being. It doesn’t drain your energy. It doesn’t bum you out. Even if you are doing physical labor as a volunteer, if it is truly compassionate and only enhancing, including to yourself, then you may leave with sore muscles because of all the heavy lifting, but you will still feel enhanced. This is because you will have raised your vibration. And when you raise your vibration, you have more energy. Your mind and heart will feel invigorated and happy. That’s how you know it’s compassion. With codependence you would feel drained. Every time. Every time you talk to someone, you would then later worry about their welfare or their decisions, how you could help, or what else you could say that might make things better, even though they didn’t ask for your help. You end up feeling a little bit depleted. You waste a little bit of your energy on the emotions that are evoked and the mental chatter that you succumb to. That is not enhancing. That is codependent.
That’s the difference. When you feel that draining energy, you know it’s a codependent situation. When you feel that invigorating energy, you know it’s compassion. Be vigilant because if you tend toward codependence, you are probably an empath, which means you easily feel others’ emotions. You may be a highly sensitive person. You’re certainly a caretaker, and that’s okay. The thing about codependence is that instead of helping the other person and helping you, it actually takes away the other person’s own responsibility as well as harms you. If you can redirect your carrying impulses to the planet, yourself, and the people in your life who are hopefully able to receive it in an equal exchange of positive energy, then you can be a supreme force of good. The caretakers of the world are the ones who care enough to make the effort to make it better. So embrace that side of yourself with awareness so that you can healthily live from your authentic state of compassion.