Step 1- Acceptance
STEP 1 – ACCEPTANCE
If you’re not willing to open up and look at the truth – the reality that you’ve been living in. The good, the bad, and the ugly – then you’re not going to get very far in recovering from codependency. You might talk a good talk and know the “codependency lingo”, but if you run for the hills when someone gets close to your wounds or balk at the thought of having to dig deep, you might just stay stuck in your negative patterns (and relationships) for a lifetime.
And, I know you don’t really want that.
So, what is it you do want? What’s your biggest “pain point” right now?
Your relationship? Depression? Anxiety? Exhausted from people pleasing? Tired of feeling shame? Frustrated that you keep ending up with emotionally unavailable A-holes?
I know what it’s like to get up every morning and put on my “everything is great” mask. Pretending things are fine and dandy, but inside feeling like I’m sinking more and more every day. I know what it’s like to isolate and get caught up in my own little world – an alternate reality where I get comfortable in the mundane. The pain. The same ole’, same ole.
The truth is that sometimes we just don’t care for reality, because honestly, sometimes reality just plain sucks. Sometimes people hurt us. Things don’t go as planned. That’s why we have these defense mechanisms like denial, repression, or disassociation.
The truth is that life presents to us situations that cause us to feel pain, beginning at a very young age in most cases. Now, to really get moving toward overcoming codependency characteristics, we must come to an acceptance of life as it was and as it is right now.
Yes, dear ones, acceptance is the first stage toward codependency recovery.
- Acceptance of yourself right where you are.
- Acceptance of your past just as it was.
- Acceptance of reality just as it is.
And, acceptance that there is hope for a different reality. A better reality, and you’re about to go after it like you never have before.
STEP 1 – I accept my reality
So, right now I want you to say out loud: “I accept my reality. I’m ready to really begin looking at it with fresh eyes. With the intent to see what’s really there, like it or not.”
A Willingness To Really See
Along with acceptance comes willingness. We must be willing to take an honest look at our lives now, as well as our past. We must be willing to start digging under the surface on our own and with a trained therapist. We must make the effort each day to honestly look at our lives and relationships as we work toward emotional healing.
Speaking of a therapist, I want you to start thinking about finding yourself a good therapist as you embark on this codependency journey. I know, I know. They’re expensive. You can’t afford it or don’t want to spend the money. However, I assure you that spending money on a good (and I mean good) therapist is perhaps the best investment you will ever make in your life.
Watch Out For Denial
I unconsciously denied my reality for decades. I had no idea that I was operating with a handful of defense mechanisms that I picked up as a child trying to deal with pain. I had no idea just how much pain was brewing under the surface.
Denial is a beast that will keep you stuck in faulty thoughts and belief patterns.
As we progress toward wholeness, be on guard against ways that we alter our reality with defense mechanisms like:
Are you denying the fact that your relationships are strained? That you are a bonafide people pleaser? That you continue to enable others?
Accept the truth. Face reality. It might not be easy. In fact, the truth might sucker punch you in the gut.
What Should We Accept?
Accept reality. But what does this look like? What does it look like when we take off our distorted glasses?
First, accepting truth means you take your mask off. That mask that you put on every morning to face the world. When you take that off, you become vulnerable. Sure. But you also open yourself for positive change. You feel the fear and do it anyway.
But listen, dear one. Opening yourself up to truth, and being willing to accept everything about you and your life is actually life giving. This is where your power is. This is where you draw the line in the sand and say, “No more being a victim. No more giving my power to others. No more denying my truth!”
Acceptance is you saying, “Ok. I give up. I surrender. I admit that my life (or relationships or emotions) have become a hinderance. I’m outta control. I’m losin’ it. I’m taking crumbs, trying so hard to find my value in the acceptance of others, and I’m over it! I’m sad, angry, and petrified, and I’m not doing it this way anymore! I’m open and willing to embark on a new journey. A codependency recovery journey. Yes, I’m ready.”
Good, I’m glad we’re on the same page.
As we take this first step toward codependency recovery, accepting our reality and truth, this is a wonderful opportunity to let go and let God lead you on a new journey.
Now, when I say “God”, I’m referring to my Higher Power. I’m referring to the essence of power or source of this world. I’ve learned along my journey that left to my own will, I oftentimes find myself in the mud. Off course. Cray-cray. Making poor decisions over and over.
I find myself empty and void without God. And, trying to fill that void with others always ends up with me hurt, angry, and still empty and famished for something to satiate this aching longing inside me.
And it ain’t no man or woman, a realization that’s taken decades for me to really get.
Now, as you open up to an acceptance of reality, as you become willing to move forward toward your wounds, prepare to face your pain.
Yes, your inner pain that you’ve been stuffing all these years.
The pain that you build concrete walls around. The pain that digs deep into your bones, knocking the wind out of you.
Be willing to journey toward that pain, to face it so you can start HEALING those wounds. So you can integrate that pent up energy that’s blowing your soul up like a balloon.
And, ask God to help you.
The Serenity Prayer is helpful.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
There are things we can change. There are things we cannot change. Accepting this can help alleviate a whole lot of internal suffering.
What can you change? Yourself
What can’t you change? Others
This is a reality that you’ll come to understand better and better as you progress in codependency recovery. As you progress in the stages of recovery.
Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.
She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.
Her books include Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose, Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal, and a collection of poetry entitled, The Pain, It Shapes Her World.