Tag Archives: Behaviours

Do I Deserve This?

Lonely_TreeSomething that I struggle with every day is maintaining a feeling of worthiness even when others are treating me badly. That I don’t have to be treated badly is a task for another life time. Right now, I just have to learn how to hold on to feeling good about myself.

Normally, the slippery slope begins with an incident of some kind, that is often characterised by me feeling ‘unseen’. From there it may escalate to shouting match with the one that doesn’t see or, more typicallly, it is an aggressive exchange that takes place entirely in my head. I replay the infraction over in my head, a number of times, and then I start to gather more ‘evidence’, of other times that I was misunderstood, yelled at, left out or disregarded.

Once I have a fair number of examples in my head of how badly I am treated, I ask myself the question: Do I Deserve This Treatment? Today I have come to understand that there is no good way to answer this question:

Yes (I deserve it) – I’m a bad person that should be punished and I’m treated badly because that is all I’m good for.

No (I don’t deserve it) – I am a victim and I continue to be treated badly because I am powerless to change how I’m received.

Today I realise that it is the asking and answering of this question that leaves me feeling bad, because I have created a link between someone else’s ‘bad’ behaviour and what I deserve. I did that. Nobody said to me, “I snapped at you because you don’t deserve to be spoken to well”. I just made that connection for myself and it feels bad, it feels unworthy.

From now on, I am going to know that I only deserve to be loved (as my friend Todd told me on Valentine’s Day) and other people’s behaviour can’t change that.

[I don’t know where this image comes from, but I think it is so beautiful and if it belongs to you, please let me know]

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Abundant Life

A friend of mine brought a wonderful quotation to my attention, but she didn’t say where it came from. I apologise for not giving credit where it is due:

The Abundant Life begins when we give up all hope of ever having a better past

I am having some struggle with staying in the moment these days. I have quite a lot of big changes coming and I am sure that the uncertainty is enticing me to bring out The Controller and also to look back and think that if things had been different, these changes wouldn’t be necessary.

What insanity it is to look back and wish it was different? And even more so to try to control the future and others.

Imagine I could give up these very unhelpful behaviours, I would be free from the pain they cause, and abundance would be my prize. So the first step is to recognise all the things that I am trying to have power over, but in fact I have none. The second step is where I come to see that a Power greater than myself can free me from these behaviours. This Power can be as simple as Awareness.

The third step is very like imagining, but it is more directional and more specific. I have to decide to hand these behaviours over to that Power and to know that in this way they can be resolved. I came a little unstuck before, when I handed things over and within a few days/weeks/months, I would find that these behaviours were back in my brain, bouncing off the walls. The third step makes no statement about how many times we must hand over. In my experience, the more entrenched the behaviour is, the more often I need to hand it over.

After two years in recovery and 6 months ‘sabbatical’, it turns out that I need to return to step 1, 2 & 3.

That’s the way recovery goes….

 

A Good Habit

Some days, I have feelings. Actually, I have feelings every day, but I don’t always know exactly what they are. Before recovery, I would just go about my day and let ‘whatever’ pour out of my mouth, eyes & body. I would be rude, aggressive, compassionate, angry, funny, etc. Often I would feel guilty at the end of the day, because I acted in a way that made me feel ashamed.

Since I have started writing (almost) daily, about my recovery, I get to know how I feel. This means that I have the opportunity to give myself what I need, or to ask  another for what I need, instead of going to ‘act out’ my feelings. This means that at the end of each day, I feel nurtured and cared for (by me) and I don’t have to deal with guilt & shame.

The Lesson: determine how I feel before I head out the door, so that I can get my needs met in healthy ways.

Side Effect: If I know how I feel before I leave my space, I won’t be blown about by the winds of the world.

This self awareness, along with the Daily Practice of Gratitude, is a habit I would like to cultivate.

Letting Go

Here is another of those cards that I found recently. This one speaks to my own need to Let Go, because I have been Clinging To The Past of late. So here’s the message:

In existence there is nobody who is superior and nobody who is inferior. The blade of grass and the great star are absolutely equal…. But man wants to be higher than others, he wants to conquer nature, hence he has to fight continuously. All complexity arises out of this fight. The innocent person is one who has renounced fighting; who is no longer interested in being higher, who is no longer interested in performing, in proving that he is someone special; who has become like a rose flower or like a dewdrop on the lotus leaf; who has become part of this infinity; who has melted, merged and become one with the ocean and is just a wave; who has no idea of the “I”. The disappearance of the ”I” is innocence.

Commentary on the Image:

In this image of lotus leaves in the early morning, we can see in the rippling of the water that one drop has just fallen. It is a precious moment, and one that is full of poignancy. In surrendering to gravity and slipping off the leaf, the drop loses its previous identity and joins the vastness of the water below. We can imagine that it must have trembled before it fell, just on the edge between the known and the unknowable. To choose this card is a recognition that something is finished, something is completing. Whatever it is–a job, a relationship, a home you have loved, anything that might have helped you to define who you are–it is time to let go of it, allowing any sadness but not trying to hold on. Something greater is awaiting you, new dimensions are there to be discovered. You are past the point of no return now, and gravity is doing its work. Go with it–it represents liberation.

I hope that you liked this card as much as I did, let me know….

Clinging To The Past

I found this card at the back of a cupboard and love the message, for me, for now. I have been feeling that life is passing me by and this card describes very well, what I am doing to feel this way.

These tenses–past, present and future–are not the tenses of time; they are tenses of the mind. That which is no longer before the mind becomes the past. That which is before the mind is the present. And that which is going to be before the mind is the future. Past is that which is no longer before you. Future is that which is not yet before you. And present is that which is before you and is slipping out of your sight. Soon it will be past…. If you don’t cling to the past…because clinging to the past is absolute stupidity. It is no longer there, so you are crying for spilled milk. What is gone is gone! And don’t cling to the present because that is also going and soon it will be past. Don’t cling to the future–hopes, imaginations, plans for tomorrow–because tomorrow will become today, will become yesterday. Everything is going to become yesterday. Everything is going to go out of your hands. Clinging will simply create misery. You will have to let go.

Commentary on the Card:

The figure pictured in this card is so preoccupied with clutching her box of memories that she has turned her back on the sparkling champagne glass of blessings available here and now. Her nostalgia for the past really makes her a ‘blockhead’, and a beggar besides, as we can see from her patched and ragged clothes. She needn’t be a beggar, of course–but she is not available to taste the pleasures that offer themselves in the present. It’s time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn’t been so busy clinging to what you have already been through. Take a deep breath, put the box down, tie it up in a pretty ribbon if you must, and bid it a fond and reverent farewell. Life is passing you by, and you’re in danger of becoming an old fossil before your time!

I hope that you liked this card as much as I did, because there is a whole pack of them, and they all have great messages on how to live a serene life. Let me know if you would like to see more….

Explosive

Recently, I had cause to practice Step 4 in a very ‘recovered’ way. When I say this, I mean that Step 4 is not an excuse to come up with another list of reasons to hate myself. It is an opportunity to identify the things that make me, me. Sometimes I like what I see, sometimes I don’t, but those things I see are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad. They just are. And always the seemingly good have a dark side when taken too far and vice versa.

I had a collision (of principles) with a man that I had been working with for 8 months. I had been working very hard and doing everything I could think of to make a success of our arrangement.  We had a disagreement about money that I believe he owes me  and the result was an end to the relationship and the friendship that preceded our working relationship. This man completely lost control of his mouth during this collision and reacted with rage. As we parted company, he proceeded to malign my character and spread the most damaging lies about me, in my professional environment.

I would like to say that this is the first time that I have been treated this way, but it isn’t. I’ve often wondered what is wrong with me to cause such overwhelming reactions in people. This is where, after days of playing the victim, I got my head around Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.

It came like a bolt of lightning out of the sky, with such clarity, I saw how my willingness to stand up and say what I think gets on people’s nerves. I say what I mean with energy & passion and it feels like a force of Amanda. I stand up to bullies. So I push peoples buttons and sometimes, those buttons are detonators that cause explosions.

So I can choose! I can stop saying what I think, I can lose the energy & passion, I can be a farce of Amanda or I can continue being me and learn to accept that sometimes, some people will explode. I continue Stepping and learn greater levels of sensitivity and compassion for people I come across. I learn that my opinion is valuable even if nobody shares it and that I don’t need to force it on people. As I recover more & more, I get into relationships with people that are respectful, fair, in control and less explosive. I become less addicted to drama and more addicted to serenity.

Setting ourselves up – For success

In our Fellowship meeting today, we asked and answered these questions:

1. In what ways have the first five Steps helped you prepare for the removal of your ineffective behaviour?

2. What behaviour changes indicate your readiness to have your Higher Power remove your character defects?

I believe that these two questions are showing us that we are well equipped to take Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

As an adult child, I think that I am used to (and good at) setting myself up for failure. I’m not as good at setting myself up for success. Now I see how it is done. I will try to set myself up for success more often, by looking at what skills I have already learned and also by looking how far I have come on my way to my goal.

Once more, our program says that we seek progress not perfection and when I look at my basket of skills and experience, I see plenty of progress. This gives me hope that I can manage Step 6 and that I become willing to take the step.