Being on a transformation journey for nearly nine years has required a lot of effort on my behalf in taking action to evoke change in my life; however, I have not been able to do this alone. There has been a common thread that has weaved Itself into every experience, healing, growth, and change I’ve encountered. That thread is God. Having a connection with the Creator has been life for me! When I reach the end of myself, having done all that I could do (as the old church folk say), I have a Higher Power that I can call on to meet me half way. It is such a relief to have this inner knowing that I am not alone; I am NEVER alone! How ironic I’ve been on this journey for nearly nine years, and I was around nine years old that I can recall as being the very infant stages of a relationship with the Divine being cultivated. I know, that’s like the fourth or fifth name I’ve used to refer to God, isn’t it? I find it no different than the many nicknames our loved ones give to us. My name has been broken down into so many variations, in addition I've been called a childhood nickname or two. I have never been called solely by one name. So, I believe I can refer to the Most High in the same manner. I digress.
My point is, I cannot do this thing called life by myself. Even though for most of my life I have had faith in a Higher Power, I reached a point in my journey where I recognized a need to have other like-minded/hearted people in my close, inner circle. Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to call many people friend, accountability partner, a member of my support system, etc over the years. But as I grow, shed more layers, dream bigger, and climb higher, I don’t want to do life with just anybody anymore. The growing importance of reciprocity, loyalty, genuine interactions, and support has become far too vital to ignore. It is no longer acceptable to have people in my life just to say they are there, at the cost of how I am treated in return.
Reciprocity is a mutual exchange between others. In the past, I found myself giving until there was nothing left to give, not even to myself. Those on the receiving end had no regard about taking either, even when it was quite obvious a sistah was on empty. Despite that, I went within, searching for the part I played in these interactions. I accepted although I cannot control or change other people, I can control the choices and decisions I make to change. After my concerns fell upon deaf ears and no improvements for a reciprocal relationship were made, I decided to take responsibility for myself. I realized I had some unhealed codependency to address. The codependent person in me was feeling needed by these takers while regretfully forgetting about myself. I failed to ensure my own needs were met. It was like they were energy vampires who came for one thing, and one thing only, my inner goods.
As I began to heal the codependency, I began to create boundaries with those individuals. It’s interesting how people react when you tell them “no,” stand up for yourself, call them out on how they treat you, and/or draw the line in the sand with a clear boundary that their behavior will no longer be tolerated nor accepted. Even though it is good to know who you're dealing with so you know how to deal with them accordingly, I quickly learned those were not the type of people I needed in my close and personal life.
In order to change the type of people and relationships I had in my life, I had to look in the mirror and change myself first. Unhealed codependency attracted unhealed people into my life. My inner fixer wanted to help them. My inner compassion and empathy didn't want to hurt their feelings by speaking my truth. And my inner heart loved them despite how poorly they may have treated me or the lack of respect they had for me. That is not a reciprocal relationship. Reciprocation is paramount in building relationships, friendships, and partnerships. Setting and maintaining boundaries was my solution. Boundaries are healthy. Despite learning this the hard way, I have learned to value and uphold boundaries. I became unapologetic in admitting to myself that I needed people who reciprocate the love, support, compassion, and loyalty I give out. I deserve that, and so do you.
Loyalty, and being genuine and supportive all seem to go hand in hand. Once again, I was the genuine and loyal one. The one who saw the good in everyone, despite their toxic ways starring me in the face. The one who kept others' secrets a secret, despite mine being spread out to others. The one who respected others’ relationships, while they had no regard for mine. The one who supported and attended others' events, and celebrations, only to look up and not receive that same support in return. These and other issues were among some of the behaviors I put up with. There goes that codependency again. I ignored the bad and put up with their unfavorable behaviors to say I had a friend or just someone there. It reminds me of the unhealthy and toxic intimate relationships I found myself in during my twenties. However, it was also in my friendships too. It just took some time to see it that way. The unhealed codependent parts of myself accepted far less than I deserved. I accepted nonconstructive criticism, shady remarks, betrayal, backstabbing, sneak dissin', and more. I feared what their reaction would be if I actually stood up for myself and expressed how I felt about their mistreatment. Eventually, I got tired of not feeling so good after those toxic interactions and experiences and began to distance myself so I could deal with, you guessed it, ME!
Although I was hurt and confused as to why these people who called me friend, etc would treat me this way, I had to ask myself the deeper questions: Why did I allow it and put up with it? What was inside of me that was attracting these types of experiences? I faced my own toxicity in order to deal with it and heal. You can't heal what you refuse to face and deal with. Once I realized it was unhealed codependency, I was able to connect with God and articulate specifically what area I needed help and guidance to heal that part of myself. It's amazing how God swiftly downloads tools and resources into me when I just ask ("...ask and you will receive").
This was definitely an area I could not tackle on my own! You see, my relationship with God strips me of codependency. It requires me to have faith that God knows best and will do what’s best, all for my highest good. My relationship with the Creator does not have room for codependency, because all that is required of me is to be present, open, and willing. The more I am grateful, the more I have to be grateful for. The more I embrace God’s Spirit within me, the keener my discernment becomes. The more I trust the Creator, the more peace I experience. It is the most natural, mutual, and free-flowing exchange of love and energy I have ever experienced. By building a deeper and closer relationship with the Most High, I am inevitably attracting those same human interactions in my life.
My relationship with God wasn't always this way. In the past when going through a trial or valley season of some sort, I found myself feeling neglected by God. I would call this Omnipresent Being out and wondered why I had been left all alone. Later I realized I was not alone, I just didn’t have a reciprocal relationship and as a result was unable to see the Divine’s presence starring me in the face. Back then, I only called on God when I needed something or when I was feeling desperate. I later realized I was being taught how to cultivate a reciprocal relationship by connecting with the Creator on a daily basis, not just when in dire straits. Whew! I am so glad I heeded this lesson; my spiritual life has truly transformed to a higher level! Practicing gratitude, embracing solitude time, and having an insane amount of faith has become my new normal. Now when I go through uncomfortable experiences, or encounter difficult people, I already KNOW God is there and ready to provide the comfort, lessons, healing, and growth I need because God is inside of me.
It wasn't until a year ago when I embraced that this is a lifelong journey. I am grateful that another layer was peeled back and healed. I used to feel like being an empathetic person was a curse, but I have grown to see that it is a gift and have even learned how to use it as such while protecting myself at the same time. Learning how to protect myself, through my relationship with the Creator, has enabled me to tap into the unlimited Power and potential that has always been inside of me – waiting and accessible. I just had to see it for myself. As the codependent parts of me have faded away, I have welcomed and embraced the powerful woman who has emerged. Snatching my power back has been absolutely liberating! I hope you take your power back as well.