My hope is that you have identified your passion. Or at least understand your need for it and have started to move toward cultivating and nurturing it in your life. Maybe you have been called to pivot from a current passion in order to make space for the next opportunity. 

Life is not meant to be lived alone, even passionately. I wholly believe in kindness and the value in putting ourselves amongst strangers. This is about finding romantic and/or platonic relationships that are mutually beneficial for growth. 

The people we choose to spend time reflects our own values and character. And, these people influence our thoughts and actions. Healthy and supportive—not perfect— relationships are integral to living a with passion. I don’t have one specific story to share that details the impact of relationships on my journey. I have so many. (More exciting news about this coming soon!)

Guess what the first step is to finding “your” people? KNOW YOURSELF! And honor yourself. And respect yourself. Then you can live with a clear understanding of shared or conflicting values and establish healthy boundaries. You can cultivate relationships that are not codependent, but interdependent. You can stop taking the actions of others so personally and align yourself where you need to be. Where you want to be. With the people you want to be with. 

How do you find these people and establish healthy relationships? 

This week I will establish the types of relationships you want to have and the ones you want to avoid. Next week I will give you more suggestions on how to do this- so stay tuned! 

Most of us have probably seen a meme or two floating around social media that tells us it is better to have a small amount of close friends than a lot of surface based relationships. As most social media memes go- this is very one dimensional and not completely true. 

There is much joy to be found in establishing many different kinds of larger communities of friendship in your life. It is life-giving to share moments of excitement with goal-minded individuals and groups, whether that be completing a grueling group fitness class, volunteering for a worthy cause, crossing the finish line of a race, or singing worship songs in church. Communities provide excellent opportunities for learning and understanding others that you might not typically engage. I have been blessed to be a part of and lead some pretty cool communities. The individuals in these groups have added immense value to my life, my career, and my pursuit toward passion. 

It is also important to cultivate close friendships of mutual trust in which values align. These are the people that you feel you can truly be yourself with— share your realness with, wrestle through hard stuff with, and count on to listen with open hearts. These are the relationships that should be healthy and are worth examining when there are emotional red flags or strain. These are the people that encourage and support growth

These are interdependent relationships. 

Interdependent relationships are when two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. These can be romantic relationships or friendships. Each person values their own sense of self and can fully be themselves. These close relationships feel good for both people. The relationship adds value. 

In order to connect with others you need to know yourself and be yourself. You need to understand your values and establish boundaries. Otherwise, you may end up in codependent romantic relationships or friendships. The term itself doesn’t sound negative, but it is. Codependency stifles the growth of each of the individuals. It enables rather than supports. 

An individual’s propensity for codependent relationships is often the result of unaddressed major or minor traumas. It is especially important for all of us to consider this now as many of us are experiencing direct or indirect traumas living in the global pandemic. 

What are the warning signs of codependency? 

  • People pleasing. People pleasers often feel like they have no choice but to keep other people happy. They don’t like to say no, even when pleasing others substantially interferes with their own wants and needs. 
  • Lack of boundaries. Both people in codependent relationships tend to have problems recognizing, establishing, and reinforcing boundaries. Often, one person doesn’t recognize boundaries and the other doesn’t insist on boundaries. 
  • Poor Self Esteem. Typically, neither person has high self esteem in a codependent relationship. Each individual often has little self awareness and relies on the other to make them “happy.” They both most likely have little trust in themselves as individuals and cannot make decisions without recruiting the opinions of the other. 
  • Caretaking. A major red flag toward codependency is feeling like you have to take care of people all of the time. 
  • Reactivity. Codependent people have often lost touch of their own wants and needs. So, they react as a constant victim rather than get in the driver’s seat of their own life.  
  • Dependency. Each person needs the other for something. It is a tradeoff, but limits both people involved. 
  • Relationship Stress. Each person involved feels stress for different reasons— both are afraid to be alone but neither are happy. 

If you don’t feel that you are on a path to actualizing your goals, take a look at your relationships. You choose the way you spend your time and the people you spend it with—are you building each other up, or are you holding each other down? 

Hopefully you believe in the amazingness of having communities of many different people in your life. Identify the healthy, interdependent relationships that you should continue to cultivate and grow. The people you surround yourself with matter. Being aware and able to be you are vital to goal setting and passion identifying, chasing, nurturing, and pivoting. 

And, the good news is that even if you now suspect that you are in toxic and/or codependent relationships, you can work to change them or walk away with strength and grace. 

The bad news is that if you want to learn some tips on how from me you will have to wait until next week. 😉