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"But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility." - Henry Cloud

I never really felt like I understood what codependency was. I'd had people explain it and I'd read about it in lots of different self-help books, but it never really clicked. Until, one day, out of nowhere, it finally made sense.

 I remember imagining a set of lanes like a freeway. I saw myself going along, living my life in my own lane while others were in their lanes. Then I imagined myself leaving my lane to  visit someone else's because they seemed to be having a hard time navigating life in their lane. In doing so, I was not only leaving my lane unattended, I was also causing that person to miss out on valuable life lessons.

 My point is that although "helping"may seem like the kind thing to do, it's NOT. Not always at least. Doing things for others that they're capable of doing themselves stunts their growth. It keeps them from learning and becoming the best version of themselves. Not to mention once you rescue someone one time, it's difficult not to go ahead and do it a second time and a third and so on.

There have been times in my life when I've put all my energy into trying to save someone else rather than making my needs a priority, and let me tell you, I regretted it. Sometimes it's easier to stay focused on someone else's problems than it is to deal with the stuff going on in your own lane. But your needs matter too. Putting yourself first doesn't mean you don't care about others. Your worth is not in how much you do for people.

And guess CANNOT, however much you want to, save anyone. You can be there for them if you choose to. You can be supportive and caring, but you can't prevent them from making their own choices. And the longer you keep trying, the more disappointed you'll become. No one is going to change unless they choose to. Constantly rescuing people can lead to them not being able to see the changes that could and should be made.

I know how hard it can be to sit back and watch someone you care about make mistakes. Whether those mistakes are big or small, it can be challenging not to step in and fix things for them. I still catch myself at times trying to clean up other people's messes, and I have to remind myself that it's in their lane not mine.

A few things to remember:

  • You're not alone if you struggle with codependency. It is extremely common.
  • If you really want to help someone, let them learn how to help themselves.
  • Just because you have the ability/resources to do something for someone else doesn't mean you should.
  • Your value doesn't depend on you being someone's hero.
  • Heal yourself before attempting to help others heal.
  • Give from a place of love, not guilt, obligation, or fear of upsetting someone.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. I'd love to know what you think and if this has been something you struggle with in your own life.


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