In order to truly experience life in a liberated state of being, in freedom, one has to be free of any form of emotional dependence. The enlightened way of living, or the awakened state, simply points to the state of being which is free of dependence on the “outside” for fulfillment, and finds complete satisfaction in one’s own presence or “Self”. Presently, more and more people are becoming conscious of the bondage created by emotional dependence, and are finding their way back to their inner sense of “being” where they find a connection and fulfillment that makes them feel whole again.
Emotional dependency can take many forms, but the bottom line is that you are seeking a sense of fulfillment from something or someone external to you. The most common form is seeking love, security, approval or appreciation from another person (maybe your partner or parent). It’s not uncommon to find a man who is emotionally dependent on a woman and seeks her presence to feel a sense of completeness in his life, or a woman who is emotionally dependent on a man to make her feel secure.
One can also be emotionally dependent on food, drugs, alcohol, money or work. Any form of dependence will eventually lead to bondage, which in turn will lead to feelings of insecurity, depression, loneliness or unworthiness. To live a happy life one must be free, this can only happen when one is able to overcome all forms of emotional dependencies. In this article we seek to give some tips on how to deal with emotional dependence.
Tips to Overcome Emotional Dependence
One must understand that ultimately to be free of being emotionally dependent one has to make the return journey back to their true “self”. This journey is about “self realization”, to find out the truth of one’s existence, for in the light of this truth all forms of dependence get erased automatically. This journey starts with looking within, to get familiar with what’s really going on in your being.
Become conscious of the fear underlying your dependence – A child is quite incapable to realizing the emotional dependency patterns that the mind starts developing in an attempt to survive. As a child you are dependent on your parents, or other elders, for your survival. But most of us start repeating this pattern of dependence in our adult lives because we fail to “grow up” out of our dependence on others. We may be doing this unconsciously, so it’s important to really “see” this pattern operating in us.
There is a lot of fear hiding behind the mask of emotional dependence, something as small as being dependent on watching TV, can be masking some deep underlying fear that you don’t want to look at. It’s strange, but for most us, our biggest fear to just be with ourselves, to just be alone with our being, so we constantly try to distract ourselves, and the objects of distract tend to become our factors of emotional dependence. The path to freedom lies in shining the light of consciousness in all our unconscious behavior patterns.
1.) Don’t Fear Loneliness – One main reason why most people end up in any from of “dependence” is for their fear of being left alone. We are almost scared of being alone with ourselves and constantly seek to run away from ourselves, trying to lose ourselves in our object of dependence. We constantly seek some form of entertainment, some from of company or some form of preoccupation, just to avoid being alone with ourselves. We are afraid of “being” so we keep “doing” something or the other. However, the secret to liberation is to see that what you are really looking for is already within you.
All the dependence, and lack of completeness, is because you are looking for fulfillment in the wrong place – it’s within you, not outside you. When you are alone with yourself, it may feel uncomfortable, or fearful, initially because the mind is habituated to running away from “being”, but this fear is the door keeper to liberation, move through this fear and what you will see on the other side is freedom.
2.) Find Out Who You Really Are – Most of us have no idea who we are, and so we are completely dependent on a “self image” to give us a sense of being or a sense of self. A self image, however, is an idea and it needs “content” to keep itself alive; the content is usually provided by other people, so we are constantly dependent on other people for a sense of fulfillment. In fact, the root cause of emotional dependence is a negative self image, anyone who bears a negative self image of themselves will always be emotionally dependent on people or objects to give them some sense of worthiness or security. But truth be said, all “self images” are inherently negative (or will turn negative with time), simply because self image is by principle “impermanent” and dependent on ideas.
If you want to be free of emotional dependence, you have to find out who you really are beyond all the “self images” that your mind has created. You are not an idea, or an image. Who you are is not a “concept”; all ideas and images are just concepts, completely empty in themselves and hence needing content to keep themselves alive. Who you are is beyond all the images and ideas you have of yourself. Find out who you really are, your truth, and you will be free of emotional dependence for a sense of identity. Are you just a person? Is that not just an idea? Who you are is free, liberated already, completely free of all dependence.
Let go of your ideas and seek to find your true nature, your true “beingness” and you will find freedom there. You cannot be truly free until you find out the truth of who you really are, that’s what “awakening” or enlightenment is all about (don’t be scared of the words). Enlightenment is simply to return to who you are and function from there.
3.) Don’t Push Away Your Source of Emotional Dependence – Most people, when they realize that they are emotionally dependent on something or someone, tend to force it out of their life. What they eventually end up doing is replace one source of emotional dependence with another. For example, if you were emotionally dependent on alcohol, you might push it away forcefully, and end up feeling empty which you will then till to fill up through a relationship, sex or some form of entertainment.
Unless you realize that the root cause of emotional dependence is ignorance of the truth of who you really are, it will just keep taking new forms. You can only truly feel fulfillment in your true self, in your being. There is a deep sense of rest, peace and fulfillment in your being, and when you reside there, you slowly move back to true self. Your true self is free of “dependence” and so it enjoys life freely. When you get a taste of how your true self really experiences life, you will surprised that it’s completely different from the way your “me” perceives life.
So Here’s a Summation
Overcoming emotional dependence is not about finding “fault” with yourself, and changing it, but it’s more about using it as a guidance to find out what truly lies on the other side of the fear or insecurity that was causing the dependence. You can overcome all forms of emotional dependence when you find your true resting place, which is in your own being. The paradox is that when you let go of emotional dependence, all things come to you easily and you will experience an abundance of everything that you previously lacked, but you will not be dependent of any of them, you will just enjoy them from a place of fulfillment which you find in your being.