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You’ve got this! Celeste asks: I often get called codependent, but I think I’m compassionate, what’s the difference?

By Tracy Becker

Licensed Counselor

Licensed counselor Tracy Becker answers your questions.

Celeste, people who are codependent do believe they are being compassionate, but codependency is the likely culprit. So let me give you the results of some recent research.

If you are codependent you will likely relate to these behaviors: your sense of purpose involves making sacrifices to satisfy other’s needs; it is difficult to say no when other’s ask for your time and energy; you minimize problems or addictions that others have; you constantly worry about others’ opinions of you; you feel trapped or like you can’t say no; you keep quiet to avoid arguments; you devalue your wants and desires; you are a people pleaser at the cost of your own wellbeing; you often feel resentful or taken advantage of.

Here’s the good news, Celeste, everyone can heal from codependency and release themselves from codependent relationships. To gain more personal power and fulfillment you’ll need good guidance and to start setting limits and boundaries with yourself and others.

Having and setting healthy boundaries is a good thing for everyone’s well-being. The definition of a healthy boundary is to honor your personal limits so that you can live and/or work together with another person in kind and loving ways. They also allow everyone to have the limits to heal. If they are done correctly love grows, not resentment.

Compassion is defined as a deep awareness for another’s suffering. The human quality of understanding the suffering of others. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily act on the awareness, but feel it and wish for it to improve. You may help in some way by joining an organization, donating money or volunteering.

However, your self-worth isn’t connected to it. It doesn’t drain you. In fact, you’re uplifted by it. With compassion you will never feel unheard, or devalued. You will feel empowered and authentically able to be you and be appreciated by giving when and however you can.

All the best in this journey, Celeste.

Please submit questions to [email protected]