In the natural order of things, we all like to receive love. Whether it’s a box of chocolates, flowers, a hug after a long day at work, a cooked meal with a glass of red or a snuggle up under a cosy duvet.
As someone who trends toward codependency, I overexert these, feel pain when I give at a level I thought the other would want, but when it’s not meeting expectations, I get confused and even feel rejected.
I don’t know the terminology for it, but it’s like deciding in my mind what someone would need, seeing they’re in pain or struggling and believing I know best. At worst this ends in miscommunication and stepping on peoples toes.
When I then feel my attempts have been rejected, I either push the issue, say with a bigger suggestion of help, or just give up and become resentful because I’d feel like nothing I could do will help.
Couple that with the fact in these situations I would tend to make compromise on my values and integrity, I’d end up wishing I hadn’t done what I’d done. I’d then beat myself up further and just feel rotten, which eventually would end in sabotage after a prolonged period of time.
Wow, it feels crap to admit it, but that’s where change happens, admitting what’s wrong and recognising it and changing the behaviour!
So how do I change?
Part of it I think is recognising that I can’t help people.
That’s right! I can’t help!
There’s absolutely zilch I can do, except pray.
When the person expresses a desire for help, a need and I can help, have considered the cost and decided it’s not going to violate my integrity, values and virtues, then I can offer my help.
Still it’s difficult to let go after I’ve given help, my heart longs for appreciation, and it’s so easy to slip into resentment.
I look at the example of Jesus when he healed 10 lepers. Only 2 came back to say thanks. Wow, Jesus moved heaven and earth (literally) to step into their lives, rescue them and 8 were like, yeah great, we’re off and going to live life (I imagine it was different to that).
But how must Jesus have felt? How did he handle it?
I really don’t know, but I wonder if he was a little upset and longed for those people’s appreciation? The question is, what did he do when it didn’t come?
First of all, he didn’t do what I’d do, which is wait and wait and wait for it. Failing that, seek it out with further demonstrations of care and love. That just opens up the hole inside further.
Instead, I believe Jesus let it go. When two people did come back , he praised them for it but he didn’t chase down the others and try to get appreciation and love from them. He let it go.
So I must let it go too if I’m to learn from the great one himself!