How to …Escape Emotional Dependency

 

How to… Escape Emotional Dependency…

Jack-Kerouac

 

“We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.”
-Benjamin Disraeli

 

Cultivating the right environment for your own growth and development as a human being, as a creative individual, as a cog in the system of whatever functional or dysfunctional structure you’re fitting into, whether willingly or not, is absolutely vital if you’re going to make any kind of progression towards a happier life.

Emotional dependency is a trap so easily fallen into and so commonly mistaken for security and self-confidence. If I’m depending on someone to support me emotionally, I am feeding off energy supplies they have cultivated themselves, whether consciously or not, for their own benefit. Using their positivity and wellness as a means to support failing efforts at establishing my own. It’s a sign there is some sort of imbalance within my own life that I have chosen to either block entirely, thus rendering me in need of reassurance, or else I have allowed it to engulf me completely, creating the need and habit for another ear or shoulder to help carry its weight. This kind of dependency and relationship can actually appear to be functional for a time, until it becomes evident that the weight of whatever underlying issue exists is not the ‘dependents’’ own burden to bear, and they withdraw from it reluctantly in order to prevent further draining of their own precious strength.

They can want to help and offer a shoulder to cry on only a certain amount of times before it simply becomes unfair to expect anything more of them – after all, have they too not got their own problems? Aren’t we all suffering?

Using others as scaffolding on which to support problems you yourself have failed to cultivate a resilience to is humiliating. It’s humiliating, and inconvenient for all involved. It’s difficult enough to admit defeat and take the help in the first place, without becoming dependent on it to keep going.
Crops failed this year. No inner strength remains to feed off of. You’ll have to borrow a neighbours’ corn.
Sorry.

For this reason, it is so important to learn to cultivate your own happiness. To figure out what works best for your unique organism of cells. The things that really make your eyes light up at the very thought or mention of them, catching fire and lifting you up when you actually put them into practice. The things that make life bearable for you; that can help you pass an afternoon of endless rain in a negative environment relatively contently.

Once you’ve reached this stage, the rest is simple: do them. As much, as intensly, and as often as you can. Work towards building something new, instead of retreating into the shell of what used to be; because let’s be honest, ‘what used to be’, wasn’t working either, so progressing forwards is really our only option here.

Once you’ve planted these roots, you can begin to feed off your own strength, your own individual cultivation, instead of digesting elements of an environment around you that don’t quite lend themselves to the elevation of your mood and happiness.

Metaphorical as it sounds, be sure to have some of this strength put aside for times of need. In the event of a storm, for example – the fat on the side, the blubber for insulation – every element of our world can be used in comparison to describe what’s inside us. The only difference with mental health is that you can’t see or visualise it. You need to figure it out for yourself, and that’s why taking time our from your regular schedule to do so is a perfectly acceptable form of ‘therapy’. Talking will only get you so far. As soon as you leave the doctor’s office, the old reliable neighbour whose crops seem to flourish year in, year out without fail; you’re left to try again alone.

Cultivation takes time, but each step successfully taken to further it onwards comes to be a comforting reassurance that you are getting there. It’s still nice to have a cup of tea now and again, to talk over plans, progress, reassuring those who have helped in the past that you’re on the right path, without allowing an emotional dependency to catch again like a swarm of locusts to the only food around they are aware of. That would be the easy option. Making your own is not only more rewarding, but soul-strengthening in every sense of the words.

As soon as the sun shines in again, that first sign of warmth and comfort, you’ll see it – the other side. The side where everything isn’t dark and stagnant and hopeless. Growth, progression, new life and strength is being cultivated even as you watch it; even as you sit and read these words your cells are fixing themselves and strengthening a core that has finally come to terms with the fact that it has the ability to stand up by itself. To nourish itself. To cultivate growth, to change, to age, and to progress. To depend on none but your own field of crops, your own emotional and physical strength rooted deeply into the ground beneath your feet, wherever they may find themselves today.

Why a Book is the Greatest Travel Companion….

There’s something about being in motion and physically moving from one place to another that calms my mind and helps me achieve a sense of purpose. No matter the distance, whether on a bus, train, plane, or even a car, travelling fills me with the excitement of possibility, of change and progression, and the knowledge that absolutely nothing stays the same no matter how long you sit still.
I’m also a book hoarder. I’ll admit it. I have an addiction to buying books. If I’m in a bookshop and I see something that’s even mildly interesting or is on sale at a special price it is very difficult to prevent myself from spending hard-earned money on it, even though I’m more than likely already halfway through and just barely started up to about 5 other volumes of completely unrelated material. One of my favourite things to do in an airport is to buy a new book, even if my hand luggage is already over-capacity with the stash I’ve brought from home.
Ironic really, considering that my sister works in a library.
She’s berated me on many occasions for buying books she could source easily within a few days, and simply refuses to see that it’s ok to take them on trips around the world, even provided you return them safe and sound afterwards. I like to see my library card as a passport for a book to be taken away, often wondering as I stand at a shelf how many of the books around me contain grains of sand from faraway beaches, dried pages from a spillage during turbulence, or coffee stains from cafés in bustling cities.

When I read, my brain takes a trip. Something in my mind just clicks, and I end up tapping in to the unquenched wanderlust that’s incessantly telling me to travel, the need to move and see things and go places I’ve never been. If travel is unavailable to me at that time, the book generally does the job and lets me expend some of the mental energy on experiencing the pages of the story, while my body remains stationary.

When I travel, my body physically being transported from one place to another, or even without any fixed destination, it’s my mind that needs to be stilled and brought back down to earth and into the two feet that make this mobility possible. By reading whilst traveling, I enter into this state of calmness and togetherness, the need to move and the need for mental stimulation both being met in a coffee buzz of contented existance. Not only am I aware of being physically transported through new locations and grounds, but my mind is also being taken on a journey through the pages of whatever novel I’ve chosen for the journey (I do have preferences, mind you -I’m not the kind of book-junkie that will read just about anything, but for the purpose of this post there’s not much need for specifics).

While travel companions vary from journey to journey, trip to trip and place to place, there are few transportation methods and systems on which a book is not a compatible match. It makes solo travel all the more enjoyable, while also providing an escape from the pressures of 2-hour-conversations with strange Dutch men with pinstriped trousers purely because he happened to sit beside you on the bus and you don’t know how to stop replying to his incessant questions.

I’m currently compiling a list of books I wish to read this Summer, and to be honest seeing the stack of them pile up in front of me and knowing some of them must be returned to the safety of their library shelves within a set amount of time puts a kind of exciting pressure of me to travel and utilise their power while I can. Thank God for online re-issuing!