Relationship junkies are always trying to create a “perfect” relationship. Of course, perfection is a fantasy, but they’re always trying to bring that fantasy to life. Seeking perfection–in yourself and others–is actually a compulsion to control, which is why relationship addicts sometimes feel like controlling partners. When everything around them seems precarious and desperate, control creates the illusion of reliability.
But what if you didn’t have to control everything? Here is some relationship advice. The opposite of perfectionism is faith, and faith means surrendering your efforts to a higher power. If you could put your faith in something besides yourself, you could give up control sometimes and trust that things will come our right.
Although it’s a controversial notion, surrendering to a higher power is an integral part of just about every addiction recovery program. Not everyone believes in a higher power and not everyone agrees with the idea of surrender. But surrendering to whatever your higher power is–god or goddess, the universe, the force, your own intuition–is crucial for recovery, because surrender teaches us what we can and can’t control, and what we should and should not trust.
When you try to control everything, you usually end up frustrated and mostly out of control. That’s because none of us is omnipotent, and a lot of things in our lives really are out of our control. Surrendering to a higher power means you finally realize you are in control only of what you do. When you know this, you can stop trying to control others. You can relax, you can learn, you can trust.
There is an infinite source of strength we can access from our higher power. We can let go of the struggle to relive our past and reshape our present by connecting to that source.
Ways to connect to a higher power can include prayer, meditation, guided visualizations, positive affirmations, forgiveness, gratitude, and reading spiritual literature. Spirituality can also be found in 12-step meetings, church, synagogue, temple, mosque, and/or creating your own sacred space in your home. However, do not confuse spirituality with religion. Spirituality is your personal relationship with your own higher power; where mind, body, and spirit come together as one in perfect harmony. It is as close to organized religion–or as far away–as you want it to be. You just need to be willing and open to that relationship.
If the idea of having a higher power at first feels uncomfortable or if you have a hard time really believing there is a power out there that is working for you, try acting as if there is one. Just pretend. Act as if your higher power is nurturing you. Acting “as if” is a powerful choice all by itself, and opens up all sorts of possibilities–including a spiritual awakening. There is nothing more empowering than surrendering the emptiness you might be feeling inside not to another unhealthy relationship, but instead to your divine self. When you surrender, your higher power will embody the unconditional love and acceptance you have been so desperately seeking.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW is a Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of the award-winning book The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse. You can take her quiz to find out if you are co-dependent or sign up for a 30-minute strategy session with Sherry. Check out Sherry’s new book “Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love”.