Learning Through Others

I truly believe that each person we meet teaches us something about ourselves. This is particularly true after recently coming to recognize, during my Reiki practice, that my codependent thinking and behaviors have not changed. As a result, I decided to retire from my Reiki practice, and establish a different type of relationship with others. However, I still want to help others individually without falling into codependency.

Recently, I met an older man who needed housing and other support as the rental rates in our area has risen significantly. In the past, my inclination, as an empath and Reiki practitioner, was to do everything for others and literally take away their pain – since I needed to save them from their suffering. This was my downfall, and the path to codependency. My family of origin also placed their responsibilities on me, instead of taking responsibility for themselves.  I was raised to be overly responsible for others. Codependency gave me a false sense of purpose and was how I received love and built my self-esteem.

In my interactions with this older man, I decided to help him by referring him to a social service organization that advocates for seniors in our area with housing, financial, and emotional support. I did not enable him by commiserating with his plight or feel sorry for him. I simply provided a referral that he could pursue on his own through experts in those areas. This is the beginning of changing this dynamic with others. 

Through my past experience, I learned that once I began a codependent relationship with others, it was difficult to change this dynamic with them. As a codependent, we tend to attract needy dependent individuals. The dependent in this relationship does not have the tools or ability to care for themselves as we become their caretakers.  Many of these dependents will become very angry and resentful when you explain that you no longer wish to play this role. Since they are the beneficiary of your hard work and efforts, why would they want this dynamic to end? It never ends well.

As for me, I try to be aware and evaluate my behaviors and actions with others. If I agree to take on others’ responsibilities, this is a sure sign of a codependent dynamic. If I become overly responsible for others’ suffering, this also is another sure sign. For empaths, this is a slippery slope since we feel others’ pain intensely and want to end their suffering for them, but is it really helping them?  As the proverb states, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

(Copyright 2023 W. Brooke Chang with All Rights Reserved. The contents may be reblogged in its entirety with credit to this author, but may not copied or excerpted.)

8 responses to “Learning Through Others”

  1. I am also a Reiki practitioner and a retired massage therapist. I understand the desire to want to “save” people from themselves. It’s about creating healthy boundaries. It’s not always easy, but self preservation is essential. You’ve got this! Awareness is the beginning of change.😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement, Jody. I so appreciate it. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome Brooke. I enjoy your posts.😘💙

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you kindly, Jody! 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Enjoy the day💜

            Liked by 1 person

  2. And that is what I have become, I am a guidepost to give them direction…but only they can choose to do that path or not. If I give them understanding that it is up to them to go further. This journey is to learn to love ourselves and remove those conditions we place on our love…and in that very act we will understand what unconditional love truly is. And all those interactions have purpose, even if to just acknowledge where we are at or have been. When I finally understood I looked back through my life, in everything, and I was astounded in how it all taught me. It all guides us. Great post kind lady, awareness always changes us…so that we can go further in out hearts…and then give from that place 😀❤️🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your journey with me, Mark! Your wisdom really resonates with me. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And thank you for sharing yours kind lady 😀❤️🙏

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: