Page 17 - LCT December 2019
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 life wounds to relationships as adults. Codependency develops when we seek in another person what is missing in us – wanting a relationship to heal the loneliness, insecurities, fears, anxieties, and depression from the past. To reach true satisfaction in our connections with others, we need to bring a complete version of ourselves as a person to a relationship, thus bringing the capacity to connect and experience happiness with others.
Just like the idea of the perfect diet or medication is the fix for the part within us that needs help, our culture reinforces the belief that if we find an ideal partner or companion that our life will be complete. Without peace in ourselves, we may look for too much in another person. It is a set up for the other person; looking for companionship is different than looking for a person to complete our lives and fill us up emotionally. The fantasy that we will find perfection in another person is just that a fantasy – people are human, and have their flaws. Partners and loved ones can enhance our lives, but if we are looking to be held up or fixed, or are seeking only what we want, it is asking too much from another person and may set up feelings of constant disappointment and fear. Accepting people as they are will allow for happier connections.
On developing a healthier approach to
Know who you are and be known. Partners, children, friends, and anyone else we find ourselves in a relationship with are there to share experiences with us. Joy comes from the shared space that gets created when people participate in a relationship. Knowing yourself and your values and what you like and dislike are essential to being happy in a relationship. Sharing with your partner about what your values are, what motivates you, what brings you peace – these are important to communicate so that your partner knows who you are. Identify your wants and needs so that you don’t keep your loved ones and partner guessing or making assumptions.
Speak your truth with an open heart
The way to get needs met in a relationship is to be open and honest when you feel something that needs to be communicated. Learning to notice when you need to talk something and then speaking up for yourself can change the dynamics in a relationship. Communicating from the most honest and heartfelt place inside of you will bring others closer to you. Connecting comes when people take risks to share openly and honestly about the truth that lives inside all of us.

Have healthy boundaries
Healthy boundaries come from having that sense of your wants and needs. Conflict can occur in a relationship when one person has not set a boundary that needs to be set. If I feel that another person has not respected who I am or what I want or need, I need to say something. Just the act of saying “no” that does not work for me, or I don’t agree with you is setting a boundary. When we always go along with another person, we can become deferential to others, which sets up a power dynamic. If this continues, resentment can build in a relationship.
Let go of expectations
Expectations of others can be a set up for disappointment. Everyone has their wants and needs in life and sometimes what I may want conflicts with what you want. If I expect you to do or say something and you don’t want to, my expectations are not fulfilled. The truth is that people get to be who they are, not who we want them to be. I can ask something of another person, but that person gets to decide whether they choose to do it.
Bring joy and create invitations
Having happy moments in relationships depends on all involved to bring something of themselves to the relationship. If you want to feel joy, bring it! One way to create moments in relationships is to create invitations for fun and spontaneity with your partner and loved ones.

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