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.
Melody Beattie writes:
When people with a compulsive disorder do whatever it is they are compelled to do, they are not saying they don’t love you – they are saying they don’t love themselves.
—Codependent No More
Gentle people, gentle souls, go in love.
Yes, at times we need to be firm, assertive: those times when we change, when we acquire a new behavior, when we need to convince others and ourselves we have rights.
Those times are not permanent. We may need to get angry to make a decision or set a boundary, but we can’t afford to stay resentful. It is difficult to have compassion for one who is victimizing us, but once we’ve removed ourselves as victims, we can find compassion.
Our path, our way, is a gentle one, walked in love – love for self, love for others. Set boundaries. Detach. Take care of ourselves. And as quickly as possible, do those things in love.
Today, and whenever possible. God let me be gentle with others and myself. Help me find the balance between assertive action taken in my own best interests, and love for others. Help me understand that at times those two ideas are one. Help me find the right path for me.
- Are You Sabotaging Yourself? (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Standing Up for Ourselves (toddlohenry.com)
- Nurturing Self Care (toddlohenry.com)
- Rejecting Shame (toddlohenry.com)
- Codependency? – ADD Working The Program – Part 2 (focusedonadhd.wordpress.com)
- Do You Have a Codependent Personality? (everydayhealth.com)
Codependency is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot, but I’m not sure many people really know what it means. The definition can be both vague and all-encompassing.
Codependency is not a word I use too often because I find that it can come off sounding derogatory—like something is wrong with you if you’re codependent. And I personally like to steer clear from labeling people as flawed.
But another reason I don’t use the word often is because I prefer the phrase “to be human”—because from my experience, we all have codependent tendencies. (So let’s agree to drop the pejorative label right here, shall we?)
The reality is, codependent behavior is quite common in relationships. Therefore it seems appropriate to give it some air-time. In this article I am going to discuss what I know about codependency and give you some suggestions on how to shift this pattern in your life.
Codependency is a word used to describe the process of using another person’s feelings to dictate how you feel.
So this could mean that you are dependent on someone else’s positive attention or positive affect to feel good. And this could mean that someone’s negative attention or negative affect makes you feel bad. (And anything in between.)
When you are codependent, you make another person your higher power. Your sense of well-being (and lack thereof) is dependent on them.
Full story at: How To Let Go Of Codependency.
- The best of ‘what I see’ for 12/17/2012 (toddlohenry.com)
- Are You Sabotaging Yourself? (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Codependency (lkg4btrlife.wordpress.com)
- Do You Know How Hard it is to NOT be Codependant? (chipinmyheart.wordpress.com)
Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness. The key word is practice. Mary Daly, a theologian, writes, “Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.” The same is true for compassion and connection. We invite compassion into our lives when we act compassionately toward ourselves and others, and we feel connected in our lives when we reach out and connect. Before I define these concepts and talk about how they work, I want to show you how they work together in real life—as practices. This is a personal story about the courage to reach out, the compassion that comes from saying, “I’ve been there,” and the connections that fuel our worthiness.
Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Suppose to Be and Embrace Who You Are (p. 7). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.
Here’s the TED Talk in case you haven’t seen it yet…
“We learn some behaviors have self-defeating consequences, while others have beneficial consequences. We learn we have choices” Beyond Codependency
It is so easy to come to the defense of others. How clear it is when others are being used, controlled, manipulated, or abused. It is so easy to fight their battles, become righteously indignant, rally to their aid, and spur them on to victory.
“You have rights,” we tell them. “And those rights are being violated. Stand up for yourself, without guilt.”
Why is it so hard, then, for us to rally to our own behalf? Why can’t we see when we are being used, victimized, lied to, manipulated, or otherwise violated? Why is it so difficult for us to stand up for ourselves?
There are times in life when we can walk a gentle, loving path. There are times, however, when we need to stand up for ourselves – when walking the gentle, loving path puts us deeper into the hands of those who could mistreat us.
Some days, the lesson we’re to be learning and practicing is one of setting boundaries. Some days, the lesson we’re learning is that of fighting for our own rights and ourselves.
Sometimes, the lesson won’t stop until we do.
Today, I will rally to my own cause. I will remember that it is okay to stand up for myself when that action is appropriate. Help me, God, to let go of my need to be victimized. Help me appropriately, and with confidence, stand up for myself.
Today you get a double shot of Melody Beattie because I need it!
“…there isn’t a guidebook for setting boundaries. Each of us has our own guide inside ourselves. If we continue to work at recovery, our boundaries will develop. They will get healthy and sensitive. Our selves will tell us what we need to know, and we’ll love ourselves enough to listen.” Beyond Codependency
What do we need to do to take care of ourselves? Listen to that voice inside. What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What don’t you trust? What doesn’t feel right? What can’t you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don’t you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good? In recovery, we learn that self care leads us on the path to God’s will and plan for our life. Self-care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it. Learn to nurture that voice inside. We can trust ourselves. We can take care of ourselves. We are wiser than we think. Our guide is within, ever present. Listen to, trust, and nurture that guide.
Today, I will affirm that gift to the Universe and myself. I will remember that nurturing self care delivers that gift in its highest form.
Melody Beattie writes:
The groundwork has been laid.
Do you not see that?
Don’t you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose?
There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release.
You have been prepared. The same way a builder must first tear down and dig out the old to make way for the new, your Higher Power has been cleaning out the foundation in your life.
Have you ever watched a builder at construction? When he begins his work, it looks worse than before he began. What is old and decayed must be removed. What is insufficient or too weak to support the new structure must be removed, replaced, or reinforced. No builder who cares about his or her work would put a new surface over an insufficient support system. The foundation would give way. It would not last.
If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense. It may appear to be wasted time and effort, because we cannot see the final product yet.
But it is so important that the foundation be laid properly if the fun work, the finishing touches, is to be all that we want it to be.
This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.
Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.
Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.
It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.
Congratulations. You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. You have trusted, surrendered, and allowed your Higher Power and the Universe to heal and prepare you.
Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.
Now, you shall see the purpose.
Now, it shall all come together and make sense.
Today, I will surrender to the laying of the foundation – the groundwork – in my life. If it is time to enjoy the placement of the finishing touches, I will surrender to that, and enjoy that too. I will remember to be grateful for a Higher Power that is a Master Builder and only has my best interests in mind, creating and constructing my life. I will be grateful for my Higher Power’s care and attention to details in laying the foundation – even though I become impatient at times. I will stand in awe at the beauty of God’s finished product.
- Letting Go of Resistance (toddlohenry.com)
- Step 2 – Letting Go to a Higher Power (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)
- Putting our Life on Hold (toddlohenry.com)
- Day 30: The Proof (thelivingnotebook.com)
I first heard about the ‘imposter complex’ from my thoroughly lovely friend and client @jackiedumaine. Tanya Geisler lays it out here:
For a TEDxWomen talk on Dec. 1st, I’ve decided to talk about – and take down – the Impostor Complex. You know, that beast that wants to shut you down, reminding you of allll the ways you are not ready, capable, qualified, prepared and competent.
Which is perfect, of course, because my own Impostor Complex has a TON to say about why I’m not ready, capable, qualified, prepared and competent enough to deliver this talk. So my material, at the very least, is pretty fresh.
Just recently, I was thrilled to attend Mastin’s Super Soul Sunday event in Toronto. Mastin was generously answering every last question his hungry audience had for him. I asked him how he felt when the call came about going on Oprah with Marie and Gabby. His response:
“I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a mistake. I didn’t think it would actually happen. I assumed it would be canceled.”
Familiar? You are not alone.
Any time we think that something has happened because of luck, or timing, or because someone made a mistake, we are in the hold of our Impostor Complex.
Is there ANY DOUBT in your mind that Mastin was supposed to be on that show? Is there ANY DOUBT in your mind that he earned it?
No? Me neither.
From the 1000+ hours I’ve been coaching clients, I can tell you with great certainty that almost every single high-achiever has at one point or another felt the weight of the Impostor syndrome, and it sounds like:
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” – Maya Angelou
“You think, ‘Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?’” – Meryl Streep
And guess what else?
The Impostor and The Authority are are both Illusions
John Lennon said, “Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
Can you see the illusions at both ends of that statement? Loser is an illusion. God Almighty is an illusion. The Impostor is an illusion. The Authority is an illusion.
You are never either. You know more than you think AND you will never know it all.
It’s the very nature of the ego: it wants to want more than it wants to get.
Can you feel the relief and the grief in that?
And while I may not be THE authority, my experience as the Impostor Complex – both mine and those of my brilliant clients – certainly makes me AN authority.
So, as you face your desires for stage, for mastery in the boardroom, for the book deal, for the TV show, for the new business or for the promotion, I want you to know this:
- You are not alone.
- Those belittling voices are not real or right.
- You’ve earned your right to be here.
- You’ve got this.
- You are ready.
When I’m on stage delivering my TEDx talk, I intend to own it. There has been no mistake made: I’ve earned my right to be there. Speaking truth imbued with experience and love, in spite of what my Impostor Complex wants me to believe. It is, after all, a mere illusion.
Your call’s coming too. Answer it with an effusive YES.
I was describing to Jackie my own desire to do a TEDTalk and the trouble I was having writing my book ‘Be Known’; mainly, that people would laugh. Understanding that this feeling is so common that it has a ‘syndrome’ attached to it helped me get beyond my fears. In my experience, if you can name it you can kill it, fix it, fight it, whatever you want to do with it. Watch out for the ‘imposter complex’ in your life!
- Psychology: Imposter Syndrome (clareminnies.wordpress.com)
- Imposter Syndrome: My life as a fraud. (momedy.blogspot.com)
- Day 5. Go Ahead, Murder Yourself. (heidiwriting.wordpress.com)
One of our choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think – using our mental energy positively.
Positive mental energy, positive thinking, does not mean we think unrealistically or revert to denial. If we don’t like something, we respect our own opinion. If we spot a problem, we’re honest about it. if something isn’t working out, we accept reality. But we don’t dwell on the negative parts of our experience.
Whatever we give energy to, we empower.
There is magic in empowering the good, because whatever we empower grows bigger. One way to empower the good is through affirmations: simple positive statements we make to ourselves: I love myself… I’m good enough… My life is good…I’m glad I’m alive today… What I want and need is coming to me… I can…
Our choice in recovery is not whether to use affirmations. We’ve been affirming thoughts and beliefs since we were old enough to speak. The choice in recovery is what we want to affirm.
Today, I will empower the good in myself, others, and life. I’m willing to release, or let go of, negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. I will choose what I want to affirm, and I will make it good.
And, whatever we resists, persists…
Every morning, I wake up. I make a strong pot of coffee. I drink it while reading 100 or so posts from some of my favorite bloggers. It’s always interesting to me when the messages from different bloggers seem to be in sync and it appears the universe is trying to teach me a lesson. Today is one of those days. First up is Kristin Barton Cuthriell who writes:
A client came to me the other day. She is chronically anger with her mother and has been for years. The anger is poisoning her. It is tearing her apart. She describes herself as nothing but a bitter shell of who she use to be. She is so consumed by her anger that she is shutting out all of the joy in her life (and there is a lot). I shared with her my lesson.
My lesson about life being precious and short- way too short to spend it full of contempt and resentment. The lesson that we learn when we have a near death experience, survive a life threatening illness, or lose a loved one.
Her mother is getting up there in years and is struck with an illness that is taking over her body. “Let go,” I stressed to my client. I moved my chair a little closer, but not too close. I looked my client in the eye, and with extreme passion, but a tone close to a whisper, I said, “It is time to let go. Enjoy the time that you have left with your mother.” My client’s eyes welled with tears, and she nodded yes. She knew, the time had come. The time to let go. The time to rid herself of the poison. The time to stop ruminating about the past. The time to reclaim her life. The time to let life in.
Are you poisoning yourself with resentment? Has the time come to let it go? Only you can really make that decision. Make it well. You deserve the best in life, but it is up to you.” via Letting Go – Kristin Barton Cuthriell.
Full disclosure? Kristin is a client, but I hunted her down because I like her content so much!
Next up is Melody Beattie. I have been starting my days with her book “The Language of Letting Go” for over a year now and I frequently curate her content. Today’s reading was more poignant for me than most:
Few things can make us feel crazier than expecting something from someone who has nothing to give. Few things can frustrate us more than trying to make a person someone he or she isn’t; we feel crazy when we try to pretend that person is someone he or she is not. We may have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from our past and our present. We may have spent years trying to get someone to love us in a certain way, when that person cannot or will not.
It is time to let it go. It is time to let him or her go. That doesn’t mean we can’t love that person anymore. It means that we will feel the immense relief that comes when we stop denying reality and begin accepting. We release that person to be who he or she actually is. We stop trying to make that person be someone he or she is not. We deal with our feelings and walk away from the destructive system.
We learn to love and care differently in a way that takes reality into account.
We enter into a relationship with that person on new terms – taking our needs and ourselves into account. If a person is addicted to alcohol, other drugs, misery, or other people, we let go of his or her addiction; we take our hands off it. We give his or her life back. And we, in the process, are given our life and freedom in return.
We stop letting what we are not getting from that person control us. We take responsibility for our life. We go ahead with the process of loving and taking care of ourselves.
We decide how we want to interact with that person, taking reality and our own best interests into account. We get angry, we feel hurt, but we land in a place of forgiveness. We set him or her free, and we become set free from bondage.
This is the heart of detaching in love.
Today, I will work at detaching in love from troublesome people in my life. I will strive to accept reality in my relationships. I will give myself permission to take care of myself in my relationships, with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual freedom for both people as my goal.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – December 5, 2012.
Additions? Subtractions? This content is easy for me to share, but hard to implement…
Melody Beattie writes:
Express your power naturally and as gently as you can.
When I started learning what it meant to take care of myself and to own my power, I talked loudly, spoke up, and yelled in order to set boundaries, limits, and to express myself. That was the way to get my point across. That’s how I’d showed people I meant what I said.
I had to say it loudly.
About five years after I started this process of learning what it meant to own my power, I met a bear called Winnie the Pooh. The book that introduced me was The Tao of Pooh. Lights started coming on. The seeds of new lessons began to sprout.
To own my power, I could quietly say what I meant. The clearer I was about what I had to say and who I was, the less I had to shout. Owning my power wasn’t something I had to plan out, premeditate, and obsess about.
The more I took care of myself and connected to myself, and the clearer I became, the more natural and easier it became to own my power. My power–including setting limits, saying no, refusing to be manipulated, and saying I’d changed my mind– often became a natural, graceful, timely expression of me.
There are still times in our lives when we have to be firm, sometimes forceful, and repeat what we’ve said, sometimes loudly. The quieter and more relaxed we can be when we say what we mean is usually in direct proportion to how much we believe in ourselves.
Let your power, boundaries, and expressions of who you are arise naturally.
Learn and respect the value of responding as gently, but as firmly, as you can.
God, help your power flow through me. Teach me to take care of myself gently, in a way that reflects harmony with myself and as much as possible, the people in my life.” via Just For Today Meditations – Maintaining A Life.
- Letting Go (toddlohenry.com)
Gretchen Rubin has some valuable insight for those who struggle with the holidays for one reason or another:
Holidays can be tough. Some people love them; some people dread them.
I thought a lot about the holidays as I was writing Happier at Home, because the holiday season tends to be a time when we focus on home. Maybe you’re going “home” the way I go home to Kansas City for Christmas–which may be fun for you, or not. Maybe you’re deciding how to decorate your home. Maybe you’re making an effort to arrange the holidays the way you experienced them as a child–or the opposite. Maybe you’re feeling sad, or happy, about whom you will or won’t be seeing.
From talking to people, it seems that one of the biggest happiness challenges of the holidays is dealing with difficult relatives. You want to have a nice dinner, but Uncle Bobby makes you crazy. What to do?” Get the answer here: 8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holiday Season. « The Happiness Project.
I’m not a big Mary J. Blige fan, but this song is a good reminder that you don’t have to play a role in other people’s dramas if you don’t want to…
As a bonus, here’s the other music video of hers [along with U2] that I really like…
I didn’t know what it looked like either until I read this book. I knew what it looked like to be unheathily attached — it looked like codependency. I knew what it looked like to be unheathily detached — it looked like ‘eff you — I’m taking my marbles and leaving’. If you struggle with either being overly detached or attached, this book will help evision what healthy dependency looks like…
Al K Hall-ic Anonymous
via Get Motivated.
Sometimes it helps to understand that we may be receiving a payoff from relationships that cause us distress.
The relationship may be feeding into our helplessness or our martyr role.
Maybe the relationships feeds our need to be needed, enhancing our self-esteem by allowing us to feel in control or morally superior to the other person.
Some of us feel alleviated from financial or other kinds of responsibility by staying in a particular relationship.
“My father sexually abused me when I was a child,” said one woman. “I went on to spend the next twenty years blackmailing him emotionally and financially on this. I could get money from him whenever I wanted, and I never had to take financial responsibility for myself.”
Realizing that we may have gotten a codependent payoff from a relationship is not a cause for shame. It means we are searching out the blocks in ourselves that may be stopping our growth.
We can take responsibility for the part we may have played in keeping ourselves victimized. When we are willing to look honestly and fearlessly at the payoff and let it go, we will find the healing we’ve been seeking. We’ll also be ready to receive the positive, healthy payoffs available in relationships, the payoffs we really want and need.
Today, I will be open to looking at the payoffs I may have received from staying in unhealthy relationships, or from keeping destructive systems operating. I will become ready to let go of my need to stay in unhealthy systems; I am ready to face myself.” via Just For Today Meditations – Maintaining A Life.
And, there are ALWAYS payoffs. They just might not be so obvious…
One of my pet peeves about the personal growth industry is that there is a lot of expectation placed on consistently making positive changes. The promise is that over time as we do our work, we gradually and continuously “get better” (whatever “better” means). What often isn’t addressed is that our learning and growth isn’t linear. It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.
Please don’t torture yourself by buying into the misunderstanding that your growth needs to be straight up. That’s a lot of pressure – and also not possible. Growth is more fluid. And over time the lows (or perceived backtracking) we experience become shorter in duration and the length of time in between them becomes longer. I drew this picture for you to illustrate what I am talking about:
The human experience is about contrast and sometimes the best way we learn is when we take a few steps that feel backwards. Often when we have a big “aha” so much to the extent that we feel transformed, the Universe will bring us a situation that feels very similar to past experiences. Often people get frustrated and think, “This again? I thought I learned this already!” That may be accurate; you may have learned the lesson and now the Universe is bringing you an amazing opportunity to practice the learning so that you can fully integrate it. I give some examples of this in today’s video.
If you feel like you are backtracking in your own behavior, choices, or feelings rest assured you are not flunking life. You learned from my UPdate last week that only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through. Your so-called issues and programmed responses got implemented decades ago so it may take some time before you totally shift something. So if you find yourself slipping into old habits, reactions, behaviors or choices that you thought were behind you, cut yourself some slack.
When you perceive yourself taking steps backwards, that does not mean change is not occurring. You may take ten steps forward and then eight steps back. But the next time you will take eleven steps forward and only seven steps back. You are making progress!! Whatever you do, just keep going. And forgive yourself! This is super duper important. Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you. Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking. I’m doing the best I can.” Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.
Here are some of the points she makes I think are worthy of review…
“It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.”
“Only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through”; this is why we say in Celebrate Recovery that we don’t claim perfection, only progress…
“Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.” As a tech guy, there have been many times I have wished I could upgrade myself like hardware. If only I could reformat my brain and delete all the old Beatles‘ lyrics! I’d have so much more room! I do think, however, you CAN upgrade your thinking. There is an old computer programming acronym GIGO; Garbage In, Garbage Out. It applies to thinking and food as well…
And finally, this bears repeating…
“Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you. Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking. I’m doing the best I can.” Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.”
And perhaps the most important lesson of all? Go easy on yourself and practice ‘self-forgiveness’…