Published on: Nov 6, 2005
Type: Opinions

The term co-dependency is most often used to describe the affected person as one who is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. Co-dependency can also occur from other things.

If a person is experiencing an illness such as diabetes, for example, that person will experience a behavior change because of the strict diet, medication and lifestyle they must adopt in order to survive. If a person becomes immersed into a religion they will also experience a behavior change.

Anyone in a relationship with these people will need to change the way they relate to that person in order to maintain the relationship. If it is only a friend, then it may end the relationship. If it is a member of your family then the relationship will change in a very predictable way.

The behavior adopted by members of a "dysfunctional" relationship does not go away and most often requires treatment. Learning the principles of codependency has changed my life in ways that I cannot begin to describe. For a more in-depth explanation you can find books on the subject at your local library or at bookstores.

Do yourself and your family a favor and get a book on the subject of co-dependency, read it carefully. You will never regret it! Our core beliefs determine how we interact with our environment and that much of our behavior is determined by these core beliefs. I believe most of our actions are habits and many of these habits reflect our core beliefs. We learn, over a period of time, what type of behavior will work for us in the environment we are in and we use that behavior to get the results we want.

Many of the things we do that limit our success are the result of habits that we form unconsciously by what is called pain avoidance. If we choose to watch television (pleasure), instead of completing a chore (pain), than after repeating this behavior over a period of time watching television instead of doing the chore is considered normal by our subconscious mind and it will seek ways to continue the behavior.

The most successful people are those who have goals that motivate them every minute of every day. These people have developed habits in their daily lives that empower them to work constantly toward the goals they have chosen. Most people have allowed habits to form that do not empower them. Many of the habits developed as your parents conditioned you during your childhood. They are the foundation for the habits you will need to create as you embark on this adventure of personal development.

Just as you would not think of starting a day without bathing or brushing your teeth you can develop habits that will keep you working toward your goals and allow you to enjoy the process. There is one last area of habits that I want to cover before you begin today's action.

Psychologists use the term stressor to identify changes in our lives that will cause us pain in the form of excess stress. Stressors are changes in the things that comprise a large portion of our lives. Loosing a loved one is a stressor, so is moving to a different house, changing jobs and so on.

Psychologists suggest that most people can only cope with two or three stressors per year without experiencing some type of emotional problem. Depression is the usual result of experiencing a stressor, but other emotional changes like aggressive behavior, the inability to focus our thoughts or a complete emotional breakdown can also occur.

When a stressor occurs in our lives it interrupts our patterns of comfort. These are nothing more than habits we have developed to allow us to deal effectively with our environment and the people we associate with. When we interrupt these patterns, our lives must adjust in order to allow us to form new patterns. Since much of our lives are set in patterns of comfort, any change you cause with a program like this will interrupt these patterns.

It is important for you to understand that the changes you choose to make in your life will not necessarily be comfortable for you at first, because you are disturbing patterns of comfort.

Taking Action
Pay attention to your activities, Start keeping a daily journal or diary.
Look for the habits in your life, do not worry, but become aware of your habits.
The first step in solving a problem is identification of the problem.

1 - Pay attention to your activities. Pay attention to the activities in your everyday life that you have allowed to become habits. Make a list of all of the habits you can recognize in your life. You can add to your list whenever you think about them.

2 - Start keeping a daily journal or diary.
A journal is like a diary but instead of just recording your most intimate thoughts, though you may if you choose to, a journal is used to record the important events of the day. It is not easy to get into the habit of updating it daily. Like anything else you have tried to do, it will get easier in a short time.
You do not have to write a long, drawn out description of everything that happened during the day. Just a quick note about the important events and the things you learned that day. A journal will be valuable to you as a way of evaluating your progress in life.

3 - Look for the habits in your life. Think about the route you take to work or go to school every day. Think of your relationships with those you love. Are there habits you have developed that you would rather do away with? Do you have a routine you always do when you get off work, or go to School or college? Are these habits empowering you to achieve the things you want out of life?

If you have difficulty recognizing your habits, ask someone you love (trust) and someone who loves (trusts) you about your habits. Do not worry about any habits you have now, unless you feel they are destructive to yourself or others. You should just become aware of your habits so you can decide later if you need to adjust or eliminate any of them.

The first step in solving a problem is identification of the problem. You may decide to eliminate some of the habits you have identified in this Part as a part of your major goals.

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