In order to truly experience life to the fullest, you need to be free of any form of emotional dependence. Emotional dependence on someone or something is a form of bondage that will drain your energy and keep you from living a life that is in alignment with your true nature.
The many forms of emotional dependence
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.
But emotional dependency is not limited to relationships alone; 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.
If you are ready to free yourself from the bondage, then this article will give you all the answers that you need.
Powerful pointers to overcome emotional dependence
Begin by asking yourself this question – “why do I feel the need to be dependent on someone?“. The answer is pretty straightforward. You are dependent on the external because for one, you do not love yourself and secondly, you don’t know yourself.
So to be free of being emotionally dependent you need to make the journey back to your true “self”.
This journey is about “self realization”, to find out the truth of your 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.
The following five pointers look into this in more detail and will help you become free from dependence.
1.) Become conscious of the fear underlying your dependence
A child is quite incapable of 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 some of us start repeating this pattern of dependence in our adult lives because we fail to grow out of our dependence on others. You may be doing this unconsciously, so it’s important to really “see” this pattern operating in you.
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 of us, our biggest fear is to just be with ourselves, to just be alone with our being.
So we constantly try to distract ourselves, and the objects of distraction 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 and get to the root of these behaviors.
You can begin by being mindful of your thoughts and they will take you to the underlying beliefs that trigger them.
Continue reading more to understand this even better.
2.) Don’t fear loneliness
One main reason why most people end up in any from of “dependence” is because of their fear of being 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. Is this you?
Are you constantly seeking some form of entertainment, some from of company or some form of preoccupation, just to avoid being alone with yourself? You are afraid of “being” so you keep “doing” something or the other.
However, the secret to liberation and to emotional strength 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 (without any distractions), 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.
3.) 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. This 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. If you have a negative self image you will always be emotionally dependent on people or objects to give you 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. Also, if you think about it, a self image is always in relationship to the other.
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 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.
4.) 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, food 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 be surprised that it’s completely different from the way your “me” perceives life.
5.) Practice self love
Self love pretty much encompasses everything we have discussed in this article so far. Self love is about knowing yourself, accepting yourself, valuing yourself, believing in yourself and taking care of yourself. Simply put, it’s about becoming your own best friend.
The more you love and accept yourself, the more you will start to feel complete within yourself. You will no longer feel a need to look at something or someone external to complete you.
When you do not love yourself on the other hand, you are constantly looking on the outside for love and appreciation. And when you do that, you are bound to settle for less or find yourself in situations where you are being manipulated. So make self love a priority in your life.
The gateway to self love and acceptance is self awareness or knowing who you are beyond all the labels as already discussed in point numbers 1 to 3 of this article.
Here are 8 practices to boost self love.
So here’s the 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.