Whether it was from somebody in your life or if it came directly from your own mouth, I’m fairly certain at some point you’ve heard the phrases: “You complete me” or “This is my other half”. I’ve used that phrase, “You complete me”, many times in a relationship. Not just verbally where I would tell my partner, but also mentally because I would think about this person as if they completed me. And to me, that’s the issue. You may utter these phrases in a joking manner, but there is always truth within a joke and this situation is no exception. There are underlying issues at play. There’s a subtext that is not being addressed when those phrases are used, regardless if it was in jest. And, that’s want I to talk about. Not so much the actual phrases, but this subtext of codependency that is clearly evident even if the person saying them is unaware.
One of the core characteristics of codependency is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity. It should come to no surprise that this word can have negative connotations associated with it, which is true to a certain extent. But I personally feel that it’s okay to depend on somebody else. It’s okay to depend on a family member, a friend, a coworker, or someone you’re in a relationship with. This doesn’t mean that you can’t depend on yourself to get something done. This doesn’t mean that you should feel like you’re losing your sense of independence if you rely on someone else to help you with something.
Situations will arise during your life that will make it tough not to depend on someone else and there is nothing wrong with that. This dependency on others can become harmful to yourself and your self-growth when you depend on somebody so much that you lose your identity in the process. Or if you depend on somebody so much that they make you feel whole, they make you feel complete. And that’s what I was referring to with the phrase, “you complete me”. If you say that phrase to someone you’re in a relationship with, it means that you don’t feel whole by yourself. You need this other person in your life to make you feel complete.
The same subtext of codependency is apparent in the phrases: “this is my better half” or “this is my other half”. What you’re really saying, besides just these words, is that this other person is one half, I’m the other half, and when we’re together we are whole. So, you might be saying this jokingly or in jest, but the underlying text may hint at codependency issues. You might not feel whole unless you’re with this person, which is the crux of the problem or concern.
You shouldn’t rely upon, you shouldn’t depend on somebody else to make yourself feel whole, to make yourself feel complete. Those feelings of completeness and wholeness must originate within yourself, not anyone else in your life. Because, what if one day this person decides to leave the relationship or you decide it’s no longer working? You two break up. Then what? Then what happens? If this person leaves and exits the “equation”, and for the entirety of the relationship you used them to feel whole, then their departure will result in intense feelings of emptiness. You will experience a hollowness, a vacancy of self-worth that could have been avoided if you didn’t depend on another person to make you feel whole. You have to become fully aware of your codependency tendencies, regardless of how they appear in your life. They may emerge in a relationship with your partner, but if you struggle with codependency, then it will most likely manifest within other relationships in your life.
So how do you prevent this from happening again or from ever happening in the first place? The answer is quite simple, but getting there is not. You have to put in the work, but actually committing to this work is not always easy. You may avoid looking inward. You may avoid engaging in self-reflection. You may avoid digging deep into your darkest corners to start the process of fixing yourself and work through those issues. But, that’s what it takes. It requires you to put in the time, the effort, the work, the energy, and the dedication to want to change and grow. You have to constantly, on a daily basis, reflect on your life and be honest with yourself about your motives.
Be honest with yourself about your passions, your values, your morals, and what your truth is.
Be honest about who you are as a person or the person you want to become. Because, if you don’t stand in your truth, then you’re bound to let someone walk all over you. So, you have to stand in your truth, understand who you are, and always be true to yourself. Once you come to terms with who you are and the person you want to be, then you will never allow somebody else make you feel less than or incomplete. If you have non-negotiables, things that you are passionate about and have strong convictions towards, you will never allow those to be comprised just to appease another person.
Put in the work, even if it’s painful. You will find the strength, this inner strength that was always there if you are honest with yourself. If you are brutally honest about the issues that you need to deal with in order to change and evolve. You owe it to yourself. Do not sabotage your life by avoiding the areas that need your attention the most. Address them head on. You will undoubtedly encounter storms and rough patches, but don’t let that stop you. Be confident that you will make it to the other side, and when you do, you’ll understand why you put yourself through that pain, that agony, and all that discomfort. It was to help you grow, to help you evolve, and reach a point in your life where you can stand firmly in your truth. To recognize your life purposes and have the strength, ability, and courage to become the person you always wanted to be; the person you always knew you could be.