We were all born codependent. We relied on those close to us to survive and feel welcomed into this big, chaotic world. We needed that tender, motherly embrace to know we were safe and nurtured; to get the sense that each of us were the most important person in the Universe. We were connected to the flow of life and vibrated in pure love, expecting the same in return.
Unfortunately, those loving impressions don't usually last long (and for some are cut short right away), because no matter how well-intentioned, parents have egos and wounded emotional patterns that often prevent them from tuning into the needs of their children. Not because they don't love them, but because their love gets tainted and distorted with unresolved issues they themselves carry from childhood and aren't aware of.
I have yet to find a family that isn't dysfunctional in this overly masculine and sensory-oriented world where everyone is continuously trying to heal by seeking external validation, thus simply reproducing the codependency of childhood. It's very likely that your parents or caretakers weren't nurtured enough either and unconsciously expected you to help them heal. They weren't necessarily bad people; they were just passing on the prevalent dynamic of a world that values ego above all else and promotes fear and hatred more than compassion and love.
You may be unaware of your emotional patterns and the beliefs you inherited from the figures in your life as you were growing up, but they shape your self-perception, which in turn creates your reality and colors your relationships. As a result, you may be unconsciously doing things that dis-empower you or make you feel less important than others, and you treat yourself like those who couldn't make you feel like the most important person in the Universe when you really needed it.
Now, you're probably thinking, "Hold on, I'm not the most important person in the Universe, and thinking so is self-centered and egotistic. I'm supposed to be generous and loving and selfless." But here's the thing: you should be the most important person in your Universe. Not because you're better than others, but because you need to reconnect to that flow of love and life that is your true nature and only you can express in your unique way. You were one with it when you were born and hadn't yet formed an ego, but now you have to make the effort to look within and break free from those self-defeating thoughts and dynamics that fashioned your ego.
You Are the Most Important Person In Your Life
It is from your perception that everything takes shape around you as you interpret it as an individual experience. In other words, you are the producer, director, and main character of your life-movie, and it all gets projected on the screen of your mind. So if you unknowingly place yourself below others or hide behind situations or people, chances are you remain disconnected from yourself without accomplishing or expressing what you want, or you 'go through the motions' without feeling fully present in your own life or truly enjoying it.
Placing yourself at the center of life doesn't mean you don't care about other people, although to remain centered you do need to care less about what they think and judge in you and more about what YOU want, because that's how your attention and your energy get pulled in different directions. Living from your center means not excluding yourself from the equation of love as you interact in the world and taking spiritual responsibility to invest your energy in the life you want to create and experience.
To achieve this Sacred Selfishness, where you honor everything you are to get to the infinite, loving core of your soul, you need to recognize how you may be self-sabotaging and self-effacing, and let go of what no longer serves you. Here are 10 simple examples to get you started:
- You see others as more important (or beautiful, intelligent, valuable, creative, etc.) than you.
- You feel guilty (or lost) if you don't please or take care of other people.
- You believe giving as much as possible makes you "good" or "spiritual," but you don't give yourself what you need.
- You tend to take all the responsibility for your relationships.
- You are ashamed or afraid to express who you really are and what you really want.
- You tend to focus on what's wrong or missing and neglect to take care of yourself and do things you enjoy.
- You let fear, judgment, doubt or a sense of obligation dictate the choices you make.
- You doubt or disbelieve your talents and gifts, and rely on external validation to feel good.
- You believe that if you invest in what you truly want others won't love you.
- You are generous with others but stingy with yourself.
Be radically honest as you go through that list, and please share in the comments below other self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors you have identified. The more you recognize the beliefs that feed your dis-empowering self-perception, it's easier to dismiss them and discover your true value, to place yourself at the center of your life. But be ready to ride the wave of discomfort (guilt and fear) that comes with any transformation!