OVID-19 pandemic causes many people to take more concentrated time focused on the self-- because who else are you gonna be able to see at the moment? Foreal you become your coworker, your best friend, and that annoying person taking up all your time and energy. Use this time to reset, recenter, and respire. Come into your own by cultivating self-reliance by telling yourself: 2020 is the year of me.

Self indulgence is often painted as vanity. When you embrace yourself, you can get comfortable within your own skin, sit in and get used to all the unique things that make you who you are and initiate radical self-love. Therefore, write your own declaration of independence by taking off the bonds of codependence, show up for yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically, learn how to engage in connection without forfeiting your self-reliance, and most importantly, become the hero in your own story. As an adult, this is a crucial mindset to have because you are out on your own and becoming an independent person.

Take time to reflect like this woman is doing a creative thinking pose.
Examine your relationships during this time alone, are you waiting by the phone constantly for others to validate you or does your daily habits become harder to handle because you are used to navigating these things with other people? Image courtesy of Phyllion.

How Do You Know You Are Codependent?

Signs and Ways to Cleanse Toxic Bonds to People and Things

Codependency can manifest in many ways--friends, coworkers, partners, and family members are often used as a crutch to get through life. Sometimes you become caught up in wanting to make others happy or fulfill the emotional needs of others. However, when you depend on them too much and require them for your happiness--Houston, we have a problem. Find out if you are codependent based on the questions here.

Usually trauma bonding and codependency behaviors start in your childhood. We suggest that you download the love roadmap by Black Girls Heal. Just know that the quest to finding happiness is within you and not external to your being. No matter how you are feeling about a toxic bond, either cut it off or restructure it so it is no longer toxic and hindering your personal progression. Let’s just say it for all in the back: for toxic bonds, this is the end of the road!

Once you move past Codependency, there are many ways to seek activities, practices, and people that serve you.

Practice self care to effectively rely on yourself.
Relying on yourself is sometimes harder than relying on others because you know yourself. Your habits may be annoying, you have inconsistencies, flaws, etc. However, a lot of those things are changeable and if not, you can change the way that you view these things. Image courtesy of The Good Trade.

Ways to Show Up For Yourself

Getting Comfortable, Accepting, and Cheerleading For You

These are some fantastic ways to rely on yourself and invest in your own person:

  • Splurge sometimes on things that make you happy. It is okay to once-in-a-great-moon to buy that art piece you have been ogling, that outfit that you know will look great on you, a self help book or two, vacations, and spa dates. This proves to yourself that not only can you rely on yourself to provide for essential needs but you are able to do that extra thing to invest in yourself.
  • Give yourself the love that you give to others. According to the brilliant Red Lip Theologian, Candice Benbow, it is important after going through codependent relationships to invest that time to look good, feel good, and think for your self. Oftentimes you may wanna look good for that special person and look a hot mess other days, you constantly ask what that person needs from you, and you find fun things to do with this person. Flip the script and ask what you can do for you and start paying attention to cues within yourself. Then happiness will come from yourself and you never have to rely on others to make you happy.
  • Let your conscience guide you through what you want to do, what you are passionate about, and the things in life that do not agree with your spirit (avoid those things).
  • Take reflection time. Something that is very helpful is by journaling and creating lists and mindmaps on what you enjoyed about your day and what you didn’t. It tracks what helps your mood (do more of those things). Rely on yourself to recharge and reevaluate how you are feeling.
  • Have a confidence, emotional, and spiritual makeover. Stop bad self talk and go through affirmations, meditations, and prayers that will make yourself feel positive. One thing about prayer and meditation (if this is your spiritual practice), is that it is not what your higher power can do for you, but through that connection, how you can work through your feelings about situations, manifest peace and joy, and change your outlook on things.
  • Get comfortable being on your own. If you need to walk away from things that are not good for you--do it! Do not forfeit your own convictions for things and people. 
  • Design a life for yourself that you want. Everyone has the same hours in a day, the difference is how they spend it. Make everyday living on your own count by making time for the things you are passionate about and investing in yourself. Lifehack says, “Just sit and listen to your thoughts. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else” they say and for a reason – it’s a simple truth.”
  • Explore your potential. Try new hobbies to see what you are good at. Also, maybe you thought you needed people’s help for certain things in your life, take time to see how much you can do for yourself. 
  • Get to know yourself by embracing your goofy, awkward, nerdy, bubbly, introverted, eclectic, or artsy personality. No one knows you better than you. Be vulnerable, naked, raw, uncut, and uncensored with yourself (both literally and symbolically). Get comfortable in your personality traits and body. This may require some naked time in the mirror to accept and love yourself.
  • Snip Complaining in the Bud. Others often deal with your complaining, but when you rely on yourself it is only hurting you to complain. It is important that you affirm yourself and what you are doing for you. Wise Mushroom suggests that you “recognize self-harshness as a form of emotional cruelty.” Instead of complaining, think about how you can either adapt, change, or reconstruct how you think about things. What comes with this tip is taking responsibility to yourself.
When you navigate codependency , you may try to isolate yourself. Try to find your village behind you to support you like these two ladies participating in yoga together.
Connecting with other people can be an amazing thing. While we do suggest that you cut all toxic ties with people, we want you to cultivate meaningful friendships for yourself. This is part of your radical self care journey. Image courtesy of Afropunk.

How to Proceed With Self Reliance Without Serving Connections With Others

No More Isolation

We are not saying that you should be like the Transcendentalists and become a recluse in nature. While that may be cleansing for a moment, people are relational beings and need support. So even in your self work, you must lean into your support system. The individual only exists from the collective, the village, and the fictive kin that shaped them. 

Monitor your relationships with others by designating boundaries for your friendships and do periodic check-ups on your friendships and relationships to determine if they are still working for you. Something that Candice Benbow recommends is that you come up with a plan to take time for  yourself but at the same time figure out how to make close friends accountability buddies. This is how it works: take your designated time alone, after, allow people to check-in with you, and maybe even send out a generic message to friends and family that you are not doing well, need time, and this is how to help and or reach out to you. The biggest misconception about self-reliance is that you should cut out your spiritual practices or relationships in your life. Just make sure that they are not straining you or that you are too dependent on them.

Stepping Towards Wholeness

Healing Yourself Through Self Reliance

In your journey getting to know yourself and being comfortable in you, make sure that you have the resources that you need. For instance, as you check-in with yourself, we encourage you to pursue resources that will help you be self-reliant, such as finding a therapist, learning how to keep a journal, self help books, such as I’m Doing This For Me: A Codependency Recovery Journal for Black Women by Quinn Gee Edwards, which is writing prompts designated by a Black psychotherapist to help you navigate codependency. Self-reliance is a bold step towards living a purpose-driven life that is specifically tailored by you for you.

Hero image courtesy of Essence.

Oct 9, 2020