Brittney Moses loves to encourage others with sound advice on her popular mental health podcast and blog, where she frequently interviews mental health counselors. But she wasn't always in such a stable spot herself. When she was younger, she says, she wrestled intensely with co-dependency. When we get too used to pleasing people no matter what, we can allow them to negatively affect us. This hinders us from standing up for our individual convictions.
"It's easier to create physical boundaries and say, 'OK, this is a toxic situation; I'm going to separate from this or I'm going to kind of take space from this person,'" Moses says. "But emotional boundaries are harder. To be in a situation where you're around people and not take on their thoughts, their feelings, their emotions and separate yourself and be like, 'Well, these are my convictions.'
"Say someone is speaking negatively about someone else to you in the workspace—just being able to sit there and go 'Hmm, that's interesting.' Well, that's how they feel. But that's not necessarily how I feel. And just the whole idea of, you are a separate individual. God has created you as a separate individual, with your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, convictions that should be respected. And being able to tune into those so that you are on track with who He's called you to be in all of that."
Moses, who is also currently studying psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, saw people coming to Christ in her church yet still burdened by past habits and traumas, she says on the Charisma News podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. She says that people in the church have a bad tendency to be the "savior" of people dealing with mental illness.
"We want to be the fix—you're sitting with someone who's hurting or you're hearing someone's problems, and in that moment, for some reason, we take on this savior syndrome, where we feel like all of a sudden, we need to have the answer, we need to have the right Scriptures," Moses says. "We need to point them to the right verses and answer them right then and there. And we just have a hard time sitting with the unknown, a fear of it, also discomfort of sitting with that.
"You know, I don't really know all of what's going on with this person right now, but I'm going to pray with them in support and try to get them in the right direction, and that's OK."
For more on helping others with mental illness and also protecting yourself from negative influences, listen to the entire episode here.
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