© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
Recently, I met a man in a meditation class who said all the major things in his life had just changed. His relationship, his career, and the part of town he lived in had all changed quite recently. He was feeling highly impacted by all these things shifting at once, even though he was looking forward to the positive results and new horizons. He seemed almost shell-shocked. He was trying meditation as a means to collect his wandering, stressed consciousness and perhaps help him feel grounded again. He was aware of a need to emotionally let go of his previous ideas of who he was, and also to let go of bonds he had had with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. I heard myself saying to him, “it’s only the process of detaching that hurts”.
The more we hang on to the past, the stronger we grip the ties that bind, the more we give the bonds strength. For example, we may care about a relative or romantic interest who does not care much about us. The more we talk about that love we want, that we are not getting from that person, the more energy we are giving the relationship, and the stronger the bond is—on our part. Continuing to love and ache for returned love, from a person who does not return those feelings, is no thankful situation. It is unrewarding. I once heard this described as, “going to a hardware store looking for milk”. Yet, giving up that one-sided caring may be extremely painful. And we need to give it up.
In the 1980’s , the term “codependence” , or “codependency”, came into use, in part for unrequited caring. When a person wants something from another who cannot or will not give it, and the person keeps pursuing it, that behavior may be viewed as controlling. If you want to read more about this way of looking at things, look for books by Melody Beattie, such as Codependent No More.
Some time ago, a young couple who were neighbors of mine moved away. I found out only hours before the moving van removed them from my street. I was jolted. I felt distracting pangs of loss for days. Ouch! I asked myself what I was “missing” so strongly. I was very fond of the couple and yet knew that our friendship really never got off the ground. I would probably not hear from them again. So what were these pangs? Then I realized, the young couple didn’t care that I cared. My admiration and affection for them was entirely one-sided. They had no particular interest in me. While it is always good to like and admire people, and to wish them the best, I needed to let go of the idea that we would become friends someday. I had entirely created my own pangs! Then I remembered that word for one-sided attachment: codependency. Oh yes! Time to laugh at my humanity. And I did laugh!
I got busy with my real life and my real friends and lost my distraction over the loss of the lovely neighbors. Only the detaching was painful. It feels great to have no further bonds there. Who and what do you need to let go of?
● Kebba Buckley Button is a corporate stress management trainer and the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, and the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core. She is also an ordained minister.
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