Heh, heh, heh…
Upon deeper reflection, for me there’s a truth in here about parenting that makes me respond with a little bit of ‘ouch’…
Recovery is not about being right; it’s about allowing ourselves to be who we are and accepting others as they are. That concept can be difficult for many of us if we have lived in systems that functioned on the “right-wrong” justice scale. The person who was right was okay; the person who was wrong was shamed. All value and worth may have depended on being right; to be wrong meant annihilation of self and self-esteem. In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves. In recovery, we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper.
Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.
Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 47). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.
Full story at: Do You Make These Parenting Mistakes?.
I HATE CHRISTMAS. Or perhaps it would be better to say I hate what Christmas has become. The consumerism, the expectations, the obligations; none of which have anything to do with ‘reason for the season’ — celebrating relationship with a higher power…
Perhaps that is why I like this perspective from The Minimalists so much:
What if you could receive only one Christmas present this year? What would it be?
The answer for us is simple: time.
You see, the people we care about mean much more to us than a new pair of shoes or a shiny new gadget or even a certified pre-owned luxury car with a huge bow on top.
And yet, many of us attempt to give material items to make up for the time we don’t spend with the people we love. But possessions can’t ever make up for lost time.
The next time someone asks you what you want for Christmas, consider responding with, “Your presence is the best gift you can give me.”
When you’re completely focused in the moment—no TV, no Internet, no distractions—it makes a marked difference in the lives of the people around you. When you’re fully present, your love radiates.
And if you’re going to give gifts this holiday season, why not give your unencumbered time and attention first? Your loved ones will be glad you did.” via The Best Present Is Presence | The Minimalists.
Stop trying so hard to control things. It is not our job to control people, outcomes, circumstances, life. Maybe in the past we couldn’t trust and let things happen. But we can now. The way life is unfolding is good. Let it unfold.
Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, be more. Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.
Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.
Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.
Today, I will let go. I will stop trying to control everything. I will stop trying to make myself be and do better, and I will let myself be.
Take 21 days to create a new healthy habit and the habits you create will take care of you! With what healthy habits would you like to start the new year? A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today…
Oh, and by the way if you’re a geeky type you might want to look into tools like Habitforge to get you started!
image via Visual Inspiration: Create Healthy Habits!.
…is all I have left from the woman who, for the most part, raised me in my earliest years:
The backstory? My birth father abandoned my mother and me before I left the womb. My grandmother [who we called ‘Ma moo’ because some cousin that went before me couldn’t say Grandma] and my maternal relatives rushed in to fill the gap. My mother worked as an administrative assistant to support my grandmother and me in my earlier years. This note was written around the time I was 3 or 4 when my mom met and married my dad and we moved out to start a life of our own. Today, on the 34th anniversary of her death with tears in my eyes I remember this remarkable woman and the sacrifices she made for me…
It was only last year on this day I learned that when she was married to my alcoholic grandfather there was a time when she left him and put her 4 children up for adoption to protect them from the horrible abuses at home — abuses so bad that my uncles later enlisted in WWII preferring to fight the Japanese and Germans to living with their own father. My grandmother, however, reconsidered out of a deep and abiding love for her children and went back to my grandfather despite the verbal and physical abuse. The number 4 is significant because my mother is the 5th child in the family and she was conceived after my grandmother put the family back together. In a very real way, I would not be here if not for her courage in the face of overwhelming adversity…
Today and every day I thank God for the gift of this courageous woman in my life. There are so many happy memories of early life with her — to this day when I feel happy, I sometimes crave a Cherry Coke. Why? When I was a good boy she took me to the soda fountain and rewarded me with one. This note — 50 years old this year — hangs in my home office and is a constant reminder of her loving presence in my life then, now and always!
“I want a new home. a great job. and lots of money” one man said.
“What practical steps are you taking to help that happen?” I asked.
“I’m not very good at practical steps,” he said. “But I’m an expert at dreams.”
It’s important to fantasize. but if you want your fantasies to materialize. you have to take practical steps. Turn dreams into achievable written goals.
It takes courage to go for what we want. Giving something our all. then failing, is a risk. Anyone I know who has accomplished anything of value has failed on the road to success.
Challenge: The hardest thing about going for our goals, hopes, and dreams can be fighting off that part of us that says, “What’s the use?” Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when they make a choice to do something, then surrender to God’s Will.” via October 25.
Melody Beattie writes:
Trust yourself. Trust what you know.
In these cases, others may be dealing with issues of guilt and shame. They may have their own agenda. They may be immersed in denial. They would like us to believe that we do not know what we know; they would like us not to trust ourselves; they would prefer to engage us in their nonsense.
We don’t have to forfeit our truth or our power to others. That is codependency.
Believing lies is dangerous. When we stop trusting our truth, when we repress our instincts, when we tell ourselves there must be something wrong with us for feeling what we feel or believing what we believe, we deal a deadly blow to our self and our health.
When we discount that important part of ourselves that knows what is the truth, we cut ourselves off from our center. We feel crazy. We get into shame, fear, and confusion. We can’t get our bearings when we allow someone to pull the rug from under us.
This does not mean that we are never wrong. But we are not always wrong.
Be open. Stand in our truth. Trust what you know. And refuse to buy into denial, nonsense, bullying, or coercion that would like to take you off course.
Ask to be shown the truth, clearly – not by the person trying to manipulate or convince you, but by yourself, your Higher Power, and the Universe.
Today, I will trust my truth, my instincts, and my ability to ground myself in reality. I will not allow myself to be swayed by bullying, manipulating, games, dishonesty, or people with peculiar agendas.” via Just For Today Meditations – Maintaining A Life.
Melody Beattie writes:
When we first become exposed to the concept of detachment, many of us find it objectionable and questionable. We may think that detaching means we don’t care. We may believe that by controlling, worrying, and trying to force things to happen, we’re showing how much we care.
We may believe that controlling, worrying, and forcing will somehow affect the outcome we desire. Controlling, worrying, and forcing don’t work. Even when we’re right, controlling doesn’t work. In some cases, controlling may prevent the outcome we want from happening.
As we practice the principle of detachment with the people in our life, we slowly begin to learn the truth. Detaching, preferably detaching with love, is a relationship behavior that works.
We learn something else too. Detachment – letting go of our need to control people – enhances all our relationships. It opens the door to the best possible outcome. It reduces our frustration level, and frees us and others to live in peace and harmony.
Detachment means we care, about others and ourselves. It frees us to make the best possible decisions. It enables us to set the boundaries we need to set with people. It allows us to have our feelings, to stop reacting and initiate a positive course of action. It encourages others to do the same.
It allows our Higher Power to step in and work.” via Detaching in Relationships – Saturday, August 21 – Adult Children Anonymous.
Melody Beattie to the rescue!
Don’t you see? We do not have to be so victimized by life, by people, by situations, by work, by our friends, by our love relationships, by our family, by our feelings, our thoughts, our circumstances, and ourselves.
We are not victims. We do not have to be victims. That is the whole point!
Yes, admitting and accepting powerlessness is important. But that is the first step, an introduction to this business of recovery. Later, comes owning our power. Changing what we can. This is as important as admitting and accepting powerlessness. And there is so much we can change.
We can own our power, wherever we are, wherever we go, whomever we are with. We do not have to stand there with our hands tied, groveling helplessly, submitting to whatever comes along. There are things we can do. We can speak up. Solve the problem. Use the problem to motivate ourselves to do something good for ourselves.
We can make ourselves feel good. We can walk away. We can come back on our terms. We can stand up for ourselves. We can refuse to let others control and manipulate us.
We can do what we need to do to take care of our selves. That is the beauty, the reward, the crown of victory we are given in this process called recovery. It is what it is all about!
If we can’t do anything about the circumstance, we can change our attitude. We can do the work within: courageously face our issues so we are not victimized. We have been given a miraculous key to life.
We are victims no more unless we want to be.
Freedom and joy are ours for the taking, for the feeling, for the hard work we have done.
Today, I will remind myself as often as necessary that I am not a victim, and I do not need to be victimized by whatever comes my way. I will work hard to remove myself as a victim, whether that means setting and enforcing a boundary, walking away, dealing with my feelings, or giving myself what I need. God, help me let go of my need to feel victimized.” via Just For Today Meditations » Blog.
Melody Beattie writes:
“I was thirty five years old the first time I spoke up to my mother and refused to buy into her games and manipulation. I was terribly frightened and almost couldn’t believe I was doing this. I found I didn’t have to be meant. I didn’t have to start an argument. But I could say what I wanted and needed to say to take care of myself. I learned I could love and honor myself, and still care about my mother – the way I wanted to – not the way she wanted me to.” –Anonymous
Who knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Who, besides family members, do we give such power?
No matter how long we or our family members have been recovering, relationships with family members can be provocative.
One telephone conversation can put us in an emotional and psychological tailspin that lasts for hours or days.
Sometimes, it gets worse when we begin recovery because we become even more aware of our reactions and our discomfort. That’s uncomfortable, but good. It is by beginning this process of awareness and acceptance that we change, grow, and heal.
The process of detaching in love from family members can take years. So can the process of learning how to react in a more effective way. We cannot control what they do or try to do, but we can gain some sense of control over how we choose to react.
Stop trying to make them act or treat us any differently. Unhook from their system by refusing to try to change or influence them.
Their patterns, particularly their patterns with us, are their issues. How we react, or allow these patterns to influence us, is our issue. How we take care of ourselves is our issue.
We can love our family and still refuse to buy into their issues. We can love our family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control, or produce guilt in us.
We can take care of ourselves with family members without feeling guilty. We can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. We can set the boundaries we need and want to set with family members without being disloyal to the family.
We can learn to love our family without forfeiting love and respect for ourselves.
Today, help me start practicing self care with family members. Help me know that I do not have to allow their issues to control my life, my day, or my feelings. Help me know it’s okay to have all my feelings about family members, without guilt or shame.
Go to the source for additional self-care thoughts on attachment and detachment.
There are only three things you need to do to be a great dad:
1. Be there. If you’re in their lives, you rock. If you’re there when they scrape their knee, lose their first tooth, need someone to cry to, need help with their school project, want a partner for playing house or hide-and-seek … you are already being a great dad. Be there, when they need you, and when they don’t.
2. Love them. They will know you love them, if you love them fully. It will show in your smile, in your touch, in your good-morning hugs. But also tell them on a regular basis. Infuse all your dad actions with love.
3. Be present. It’s great to be in the same room with them, but as much as you can afford to, be fully present with them. Shut off the mobile device, close the laptop, turn off the TV, and really pay attention. Listen to their long fragmented stories. Really watch when they want to show off their new wizard or ninja move.
That’s it. That’s all you need to be a great dad. Well, there are some bonus moves, but those are just extensions of the above three.” Get more here: » The Tiny Guide to Being a Great Dad :zenhabits.
My #2 son was a Father’s Day gift in 1989. He was the first birth I ever witnessed and I’ll never forget the experience and what it — and he — has meant to me!
My birth father abandoned my mother and me 3 months before my birth. I was raised by my grandmother while my mother supported our family unit until the day she met my dad. They were married over 50 years ago and he formally adopted me when I was 5 — I still remember going before the judge and having him ask me if I wanted my dad to be my dad. It’s an honor and a privilege that few sons have — to actually affirm their choice of a father before a judge…
Years later as a student of German literature, I came across this quote: “Nicht Fleisch und Blut, das Herz macht uns zu Vätern und Söhnen.” I thank God every day for my dad’s heart; a heart which made him a father and me a son and gave me the courage to adopt my own son when I met the woman of my dreams like he did…
The title comes from Randy Taran who writes:
My father is requesting that all family members come by… no, not for a typical family reunion, but for Father’s Day. They say that people sometimes get a sense about things, and I have a feeling that my dad knows the end is near.
I am not complaining. I have had the amazing good fortune of having him around for longer than most. He is 95.5 and pretty darn present.
It has me thinking about the various roles we play in life: child, parent, parent to our inner child, parent becomes child, and child becomes parent’s parent… it’s endless in all the possible permutations.
I recently asked my dad for his five top life lessons, and this seems like a perfect time to share them:
1. Lead your own life. Know who you are and be true to yourself.
2. Be satisfied with what you have. Don’t go looking to other people for validation or compare yourself to others — that goes nowhere.
3. Be very grateful for what you have. Appreciate everything, from nature to relationships to waking up another day. Looking at things with the right perspective allows you to see that what you have is all you need, and more.
4. It’s all about family. That is what is important, that everyone is happy and lives a good life.
5. Love is what matters most. After all the ups and down that life sends our way, after all the careers and hopes and dreams, what stands out and will always remain is love.
This may or may not be his last Father’s Day; he has surprised us before. No matter what, I will always cherish my dad’s life lessons and pass them on to my own children as the cycle continues. Happy Father’s Day to all.
I curated this article for multiple reasons; not the least of which is that it makes me think about my father-in-law who is getting on in years. Throughout our marriage, my relationship with my in-laws has been strained for reasons too complicated to go into; only recently, however, I have gained a special appreciation for my father-in-law…
My ‘other Dad‘ is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for almost 50 years. The more I dig into my own ’emotional sobriety’ and recovery from codependence, the more I appreciate him as a person and his contribution to the world — especially his example as he lives out the 12th step daily. Recently, when my wife was in Italy we connected a couple of times by phone and I had a chance to tell him for the first time that I loved him as a ‘dad’ — and I don’t say that lightly; dad is a title of honor in my life — and that I appreciate his example. There are things around ‘recovery’ that he gets that my first dad will never understand and I appreciate his testimony more with each passing day…
My second dad is now 79 and time is catching up with him. I cherish the help he has given me in my recovery and his lack of judgment toward me. Whether this is the last Father’s Day or the first of many we have in this ‘new’ relationship — God knows there are no guarantees in this life — I’m glad we had a chance to connect in his living years…
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. -Mark Twain
Every mother generally hopes that her daughter will snag a better husband than she managed to, but she’s certain that her boy will never get as great a wife as his father did. -Anonymous
The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat. -Robert Frost
A father is a banker provided by nature. – French Proverb
When I was a kid, I said to my father one afternoon, ‘Daddy, will you take me to the zoo?’ He answered, ‘If the zoo wants you, let them come and get you.’ – Jerry Lewis
Small boy’s definition of Father’s Day: It’s just like Mother’s Day only you don’t spend so much. – Anonymous
When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry. -Jewish Proverb
How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted. -Voltaire
My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. -Clarence B. Kelland
It is a wise child that knows its own father, and an unusual one that unreservedly approves of him. -Mark Twain
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.” -Harmon Killebrew
One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters. – George Herbert
You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father’s. He’s more particular.-Robert Frost
Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. – Red Buttons
It’s a terrible thing to raise your own to disown you -Sippican Cottage
Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again. -Jimmy Piersall
My Father had a profound influence on me, he was a lunatic. – Spike Milligan” via Sippican Cottage: How To Be A Dad.
Did you ever walk into a friend’s home for coffee and conversation and feel overwhelmed by the distraction of a big honking TV, right there in the living room, running some mindless show and competing for everyone’s attention?
Are you constantly worried about what kind of trash Junior might be watching at all hours on the TV in his room?
Is TV the dominant social presence in your home?
Are you afraid to limit your kids’ usage because you’ve tried to go down that road before and it was nothing but whining and complaining and breaking the rules?
If you answered “YES!”, or have any other TV issues constantly in the back of your mind, then it’s time to step up and establish manageable standards and limits in your home. There’s nothing to be afraid of, and a whole lot to look forward to once you get over the hump and introduce protocols that are fair and consistent.
My dad sent me this list this morning. Me? I think he’s trying to revise history and preserve his legacy as I remember many of these lessons coming from him:
- My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside.. I just finished cleaning.”
- My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
- My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”
- My mother taught me LOGIC. “Because I said so, that’s why.”
- My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”
- My mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
- My mother taught me IRONY. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
- My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
- My mother taught me about CONTORTION-ISM. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”
- My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”
- My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”
- My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”
- My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out..”
- My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. “Stop acting like your father!”
- My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”
- My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.”
- My mother taught me about RECEIVING. “You are going to get it when you get home!”
- My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”
- My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”
- My mother taught me HUMOR. “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
- My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
- My mother taught me GENETICS. “You’re just like your father.”
- My mother taught me about my ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”
- My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”
- My mother taught me about JUSTICE. “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
Only you folks my age understand these profound statements!!!
But, there is one missing from this list. My personal all time favorite!!
My mother taught me about CHOICE. “Do you want me to stop this car?”
Joking aside, my mom taught me a lot about sacrificial love and overcoming your past and I am forever grateful for her persistence. She wasn’t dealt the best hand in life, but she has played it well…