Having a healthy sense of one’s self is not being selfish. It goes hand in hand with being able to enter into loving relationships. A solid personal identity and awareness of our needs leads to mutual respect and love. Every codependent needs relationships where they can work on relating in new and healthier ways. Seek relationships with mature people with healthy boundaries. Then work on developing a mature, mutual relationship instead of a dependent one. Make sure that you and your friends communicate honestly. Share your thoughts, wishes, and feelings mutually. And learn to make mutual decisions and to give and take and compromise equally. This may initially be difficult since you may have developed a “sixth sense” for finding people with poor boundaries who need rescuing. But only this kind of mutuality growing out of a healthy sense of your own self-hood or identity allows for intimacy and mature closeness to develop. In a mature relationship neither party is demanding or controlling and each opens up his inner self to being loved and being truly loving. A very practical step is starting to set boundaries that you are comfortably able to live with. You simply cannot learn to care and give of yourself in a healthy manner until you have a basic place of safety for yourself. This includes having the ability to set clear boundaries and to say no. At times, saying no is more important to our spiritual growth than saying yes to another activity. If you are growing out of codependency, you don’t always need to have a clearly articulated or spiritual-sounding reason for saying no. Sure, you may occasionally say no when it may have been good to say yes, but after a lifetime of erring on the yes side, don’t be afraid of occasionally missing the perfect ideal! It is far more likely that you will continue to err on the side of compulsive giving or doing. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
Half of the troubles of this life
can be traced to saying yes too quickly
and not saying no soon enough.