Codependent in Hong Kong Entrepreneurship / Hong Kong / Personal / Spirituality / Travel

It’s been another intense month for me, digging through the recesses of my soul, questioning what I want in life and relationships, and breaking through more barriers that have been holding me back from being myself. I also took a solo business trip to Hong Kong for a few days, and have been working more on building my business structure and systems to handle new growth. I’ll tie it all together in this post somehow.

Hong Kong

One of the biggest realizations I came to this month is that I’ve been codependent. I didn’t even know what this term meant, but now understand it to mean that I have allowed my emotions and behavior to be overly affected by the emotions and behavior of others. In other words, I’d put my feelings, needs, and desires aside in order to please people around me, usually because I was subconsciously afraid that I wouldn’t be able to cope with their potential negative reactions. In many ways, I was a doormat. Ultimately, I realized this leads to suppressed resentment inside myself (along with other emotions), reduced authenticity in my relationships, and increases others’ dependence on me.

I now understand that anger and fear are valid emotions to be felt, and don’t need to be judged or suppressed. All emotions can be fully felt and expressed in a healthy way that respects everyone involved. This doesn’t have to be threatening, but if it is, I can detach from the situation without feeling responsible for helping the other person feel differently.

Hong Kong BuildingsTwo books that have helped me immensely in this area have been Codependent No More by Melody Beattie and No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. On the topic of intimate relationships, I’ve also recently enjoyed Way of the Superior Man by David Deida, although he’s a bit more bold in some areas than I would care to venture. But that book, along with some excellent interviews on the New Man Podcast, have helped me feel comfortable allowing my natural masculine core to shine through, and to better understand the polarities at play.

While these resources have helped open my eyes to a healthier way of living, the most powerful moments of awakening occurred for me during breath work sessions where these ideas really “sunk in”. I felt strongly that I needed to get clearer on what I want, and that I’m so damned sick and tired of giving my power away! — Enough so that I’m willing to swear in public for the first time. :) I’m taking my power back now!

The feeling of freedom that came from this lessened my anxiety significantly, and I felt lighter, more energetic, and more empowered than I had in a long time. Interestingly, my stomach also felt relaxed. Old habits have continued to slip in since those sessions, but I’m making good progress, and every area of my life continues to move in positive directions.

In addition to a business trip, going to Hong Kong alone was a chance for me to connect more with myself. Just spending hours reading and writing on the plane ride over felt wonderful, and it was great being free of the responsibility of taking care of more people than just myself. I’d like to take more trips like this.

Hong Kong itself was an impressive city. It reminded me a lot of Singapore, with clean wide streets and sidewalks, an efficient subway system, high end shopping, and expensive hotels. But it has stronger Chinese influence. Taxi drivers and waitresses didn’t speak much English, and some signs were only in Chinese. It was also a lot more smoggy. I got a hotel room with a view across the harbor, but the smog was so dense I could barely see to the other side.

Hong Kong Harbor

Hong Kong Harbor from Excelsior Hotel

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

Traffic flowed pretty smoothly, for the most part, thanks to the excellent public transportation. But with limited space, everything in Hong Kong is vertical, including the double decker buses, making things seem even more tight and crowded.

Hong Kong Buses

I’ve also decided to make the switch from iPhone to Android and picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, which I’m loving so far for its speed, flexibility, large screen, and accurate voice recognition. I’m still trying to figure out a more automated way to get my music and contacts over from my iPhone, but I’m happy with it.

Hong Kong Night Shopping

While in Hong Kong, I also did some in-person business consulting with a successful entrepreneur over dim sum, attended a yoga class with friend who’s starting her own yoga studio, and went to lunch together afterward, and attended an electronics conference hoping to see some new gadgets and technologies, but was disappointed to see nothing particularly innovative (wrong kind of conference, I guess).

Hong Kong Island

I also worked a lot on my business, making decisions, writing manuals that better define the responsibilities of each role in the company, and took more steps to help grow the business internationally. Next month I’ll be visiting my programmers and other staff in the Philippines, and am excited to finally meet them in person, along with their families. I’ll be bringing mine, too.


Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, traveler, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in every moment while inspiring others to do the same.


Comments

  1. I’m so glad you were able to take a trip alone. When I went to Bangkok on my own, it was incredibly empowering and relaxed.

    The important thing to take away from this is that we have what we need inside of ourselves, and the insecurities that we identify with and have imposed upon ourselves are simply a choice that we made a long time ago that we continue to perpetuate and give strength to. You can make a different choice, as you are finding. You can read all you want, but it’s not until you act differently that you will feel differently and create a new reality for yourself.

    • Yeah, reading has been immensely helpful for me, but the doing has been life changing. It definitely takes practice, though, to undo a lifetime of habit.

  2. Jennifer Pearce Says: April 27, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I am really enjoying these new changes in you, and as a side note, the changes they are helping me bring about in myself. It seems like as soon as one set of limiting beliefs is seen through, the next one gets all lined up and ready to be tackled as well. There seem to be so many layers of them, and the adjustment period can be emotionally exhausting, but oh so exciting and empowering as well. :) It feels like a rebirth each time. Such a process of learning and growth. It’s amazing. Thank you for your authenticity and bravery. It’s been an especially challenging month in many ways, but so extremely rewarding with all the learning and growth that have come as a result.

    I’m really happy about these manuals too! I know it feels really great for you to get them written and finally get things more organized to help your business reach its potential. I think this has been a really great step in that direction.

  3. Kristina Black Says: April 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I have been readying your blog for a few months now. I think the life that you and your wife have created for your family is beautiful (and I’d be full of it if I didn’t say I wouldn’t mind creating a solid online income to free my family up to travel and explore:) My husband and I both were born and raised in Utah, me in the LDS religion and him the FLDS both of which we have chosen to leave which as you know is incredibly challenging both socially and emotionally. We have 3 daughters pretty close to the same age as your girls, and I dream of being able to home school them (freestyle).

    My oldest daughter Bella has read Emily’s blog and is so inspired she is working on starting her own. You all have inspired my family so much! I appreciate you sharing your journey with us! (Would love to see a post from your wife on her perspective on raising young children abroad and maybe some tips she has learned in the process:)

    • Jennifer Pearce Says: April 28, 2013 at 11:21 am

      I’d love to make a post about that, Kristina. Thank you so much for your comment. It is always so nice to hear that we’re helping provide some inspiration to others. I’d love to meet you and your family sometime. I’ll get working on that post for you. :)

      • Kristina Black Says: April 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm

        An international play date sounds like a blast! We are in Fort Worth Texas if you are ever near by or the next time we are in Indonesia we will look you up or where ever the wind has blown you:) Can’t wait for the article!

  4. What a pitty, I’ll be in Hong Kong in two weeks, would have absolutely loved to shortly meet up with you.
    Do you have any tips or must-sees for the city? I’ll stay there 3-4 days.

    It’s good to read that you’re becoming more aware of yourself.
    I think – without being overly egoistic – you have to focus on what is really pushing you, what you want to do/ change or achieve and communicate this to others openly. It’s then, that others see that you are a self determined person really.

    • I didn’t do much tourism while I was there, but did ride up to Victoria Peak on the historical tram which was nice for the view of the city. Wish I could be more help.

      Yeah, after having achieved most of my major dreams, I’m often left wondering what I want to do next. :)

  5. Senor Pearce,

    Love the insight on being codependent on pleasing others. To be fair to you however, we all do that. The challenge, as you eluded to and are working on, is to find a way to be at peace (not pearce) with allowing people to feel whatever they want without having to respond to it in any way shape or form.

    I am gong a step further with that myself…I have stopped reading positive reviews of my work as well. I know that sounds a bit counter-intuitive but if I am going to be completely independent then I can’t be swayed by the positive reviews either. That can be a slippery slope as well.

    By avoiding both (but not the counsel of trusted sources) it forces me to focus only on doing work that matters to me and letting that work find it’s intended audience.

    • You can stop reading this reply now :), but I just wanted to say I completely agree with the idea of releasing attachment to others opinions, both positive and negative. I don’t know if I’ll go so far as not reading them, but I try to take everything with a grain of salt, remembering it’s just their perspective and projection and has very little to do with me. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Brandon – I can relate to what you’re saying with regard to digging through the recesses of your soul. I’ve started reading the book you recommended by Michael Brown called “The Presence Process” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1897238460/?tag=wwwbrandagsco-20) and can already feel my soul chomping at the bit wanting to get started.

    I’m taking it slow as I truly feel I’m in store for some huge life-changing events. I see where it’s an ongoing process for the rest of our lives but so worth the effort.

    • I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the process, Pat. I hope it turns out to be life changing for you. :)

      • Thanks Brandon. I’m taking it slow as there’s something inside of me that knows how significant this is and life changing. I’m a little timid and nervous about it.

  7. You couldn’t help being codependent… you come from a long line of them. But I’m so hopeful that you and your sister are breaking the chain and my granddaughters will have examples to show them how to have healthy relationships as their honor their boundaries and themselves. Thanks for having the courage to delve inward and make the sometimes difficult changes to discover and be your authentic selves. Love you.

  8. I command you for you raw honesty and for accepting to be vulnerable here. It is such a gift to us. To see another human being struggle to uncover layers of himself. You could chose to show us only the amazing life you are living, but you are showing us the beautiful endeavour you are undertaking: the journey to find the man that is screaming to live under all those layers of beliefs. Thank you. You are an inspiration.

  9. I love you. And that love and respect only increases with every passing day. I am so happy that you were able to take this time for yourself and re-discover what you need/feel/think/want. Yes, like mom said- you couldn’t help but be co-dependent. Luckily we have been and are able to break that habit and become much more independent and healthy people. Thank you for being so honest with your feelings and thoughts- and for sharing them. I feel so lucky to be your sister.

  10. Hey Brandon

    Firstly thanks for showing the world that you can live life in a new lane, really enjoy reading your blog posts and insights into how to it is possible to make this way of life happen successfully. I’m working on getting my wife around to the concept, slowly!

    The concept of codependency has hit a chord with me that I did not know how to express or identify until now. I have bought both No more Mr Nce Guy and Codependency no more, have started the Codependency book and am excited at discovering what the themes will be for me. I can see some real relevance to discovering greater strength and further personal growth.

    I’ve started using twitter to also begin the new integration of thoughts with a passionate future.

    All of this is thanks to you and others like you who express a real world for others to peek into and see a reflection of themselves. It’s an eye opener.

    So thanks, enjoy your time with your family as you do, up close and personal with the most important people ever!

    Cheers
    Rob

  11. Hi Brandon

    Glad I just read this post. Your way of defining co-dependency was really helpful to me. My wife and I have been told several times by an intuitive healer and applied kinesiologist that our main issue within this life and for many lives, has been co-dependency. I believe a huge majority of the population of the world is in the same boat. In particular, I believe religion has had a huge influence on this. I’ve put those books down you’ve recommended on my never ending Amazon Kindle Wishlist. Look forward to reading them in the future!

    – ‘Interestingly, my stomach also felt relaxed.’ –
    Thought I’d explain this, as this is my profession. You’ve helped me out with plenty of great info on this site already so thought I’d throw you some info.

    To explain, changing your daily thoughts has directly reduced the stimulation of your sympathetic nervous system (also know as the fight or flight nervous system). Chronic stimulation of this nervous system influenced by anything and everything that has the ability to regulate homeostasis or balance within our body (e.g. our thoughts, nutrition and lifestyle choices etc) will overstimulate the production of adrenalin and cortisol from the adrenal glands which essentially have a yang effect on the body and break it down instead of building it up. Symptoms of the sympathetic nervous system working hard can be a high resting heart rate and respiration rate, high blood pressure, sweating and body temperature increase and diversion of blood flow from your digestive system to your muscles and bones as digestion is not as important. So it sounds like your gut is now happier and digesting better. The power of thoughts eh!

    Look forward to your next blog.

    Brad

  12. No worries mate.

  13. Shannon Morris Says: August 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Brandon, I served my mission in Hong Kong! It certainly is like no other city in the world! I’m so glad you had the chance to see a place I love so much!

  14. Liffey Banks Says: January 4, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I’m late, very very late to this post, but I wanted to say thanks. Reading your post sent me down a little bit of an internet rabbit hole as I explored this idea. I value closeness in the relationships in my life (as most of us do!) and with my background in sociology I’m finely attuned to the fact that humans need human contact and closeness in order to be healthy. So with that in mind I wanted to figure out the difference between codependence, which is unhealthy (relinquishing control of your own emotional health or imposing control of another’s), and interdependece. It has been an illuminating afternoon, so thanks!

    I also love that so many of your family members come and leave comments on your blog posts.

    • Thanks for chiming in Liffey. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your search. In the months since writing this article, I’ve come to accept that I am dependent on and influenced by what’s around me, including others’ emotions. But as I become more aware of these influences and why they’re affecting me, I increase my ability to consciously choose how I will respond to them. And as I’ve become clearer about my own feelings and purpose, and have accepted them, it’s also become easier to love and accept others when their behavior is reactionary. Very empowering stuff!

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