Posts tagged Responding vs. Reacting

Faulty Beliefs

Someone in my life is dealing with their own untreated alcoholism.  They aren’t drinking, but they are negative, blaming, not being accountable for their own part in situations, foul mouthed and generally critical of me and sometimes others when we are together.  It’s known as a “dry drunk.”

Their belief systems are off kilter regarding me and some others.  It’s obvious.  They tend to project their own issues onto me when they get frustrated.  Fortunately, Alanon has taught me that I don’t need to accept or own any of it.  Every once in a while I may share with them something I’ve noticed, but for the most part I can just make myself scarce and treat them with love and tolerance.  It doesn’t seem to ruffle me most times.  Of course it can’t be at my expense that they spew.  Usually, it doesn’t impact my peace of mind because the tools of the program help me take care of me and mind my own business.  I just leave the room, call someone in Alanon, or go for a walk, say the Serenity prayer and treat them with respect in our dealings.

The belief system that they are operating from is skewed.  They are living in the past about several issues that are not about me.  These beliefs are driving them.  Until they start to work some type of program and seek professional help, they may stay stuck in this place of the past that is currently a driving force.  Clarity, accountability and peace will come to them when they address their own issues instead of focusing on other people.  So while this person whirls, I’m able to carry on in my life with the help of my Higher Power, people who love me in and out of Alanon, and focus on what is good about every day.  No small task at times, and yet it works when I practice the principles.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am focusing on me. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Anti-Anxiety

The changes starting this week and this last month have been a bit unsettling for me to say the least.  It’s been overwhelming and anxiety producing for me to have so much change, so quickly. 

But these changes have also been a great catalyst for me to complete some projects that have been long overdue.  The garage is cleaned out.  Half the weeding is done (a big job!).  The extra bedroom is completely void of the clutter which once graced every nook and cranny of open space and then some.  That room is now attractive, cozy, functional and available to be used as the bedroom it was created to be.  Okay, so the living room is the transition place for the remaining items to be recycled in the next week.  Not a problem.  It won’t take long to move it out – by Friday seems doable.  And school starts today – my notebook and schedule are ready to go.

Today I found that my anxiety is lessened and I slept through the night.  How?  By reaching out for help to my friends, my sponsor, attending a few more meetings, getting into action here to find solutions for the changes, good planning and miracle solutions friends offered that are just perfect for the situation.  And rewriting the story in my head about what this all means has been helpful.  Perhaps it’s more appropriate to remember that none of it means anything unless I choose to give it a meaning.  It’s just life, and I’ve learned how to roll with the punches and the blessings.  In either case they’re each opportunities for growth.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am ready for the changes. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Joining

When a partner is upset about something that we are going through, they are joining with us.  It doesn’t mean that either of us is necessarily walking around in a pity party, however it does mean that we are empathizing regarding the facts of the situation and the impact these may be having in our lives.

And it’s nice to know that we aren’t alone in the challenges that present themselves in our lives.  Life happens and my experience is that things always work out somehow.  Having the companionship of someone who loves us and is invested in our success is a lovely gift.  A treasure.

It’s also lovely to be on the joining end, when we empathize with our partner and let them know that we value them and want the best for them.  It may seem like a small thing, but it’s one of the many ways that we can be of service to another person.  And who better than the most important people in our lives.  I’m learning how to acknowledge my partner through both the uplifting, happy times and the challenging, sad times.  It’s an honor.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to empathize. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Getting Things Done

Sunday I spent 5 hours cleaning out the garage, and it shows.  This was the first project on my list of things to do between semesters to make life more peaceful and functional.  It’s working.  When the pipes leaked in the basement the other night it jumpstarted my second project – to clean out the basement.  Already the basement is more spacious, if also a bit moist from the high humidity that’s limited the dry out from the minor flood.

And there is more progress to make.  Tomorrow, after class I’ll tackle a little bit more.  What’s happening is I’m finding all sorts of items to sell on the internet or in a yard sale – maybe this weekend.  It would be a practical next step to the clearing out process.  The items are, for the most part neat and clean and ready to be priced for a yard sale or photoed for online sale.  Either way, the clearing out is under way and I’m feeling good about me, and productive.

Time for me also, to make an amend to my husband for letting things slide so around here.  School’s been overwhelming.  We’ve both let things slide and accumulated a few resentments in the process.  I don’t want resentment to guide my life in even the smallest way.  And I think that may be what happened to whatever degree over the past semester.  My course load was heavy, and my level of responsibility and accountability around our home was lacking.  Time for sustained living amends, in addition to the amending conversation that I will share with my husband in short order.  More clearing out.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am taking care of my side of the street. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Challenging Myself Again

12 Step programs have taught me to challenge myself on my beliefs, my thinking, my actions, and my emotions – to name a few.

Now, my Multicultural class will be refining the process even further.  My ability to be caring, empathetic, patient and understanding has expanded because of the learning shared with me through AA and Alanon over many years.  And these aspects of my being can expand to include even more awareness and sensitivity toward others in the world.  Part of the reason for my progress is my ability to be in what my therapist calls a place of “safe vulnerability.”  I like the term.  It feels strong to be in that place.  It means that I can open myself up to asking questions about people, things and situations – instead of judging them.  Which in turn, helps me develop greater understanding of those people, things and situations.  With more understanding – there is less need or desire for fear. 

Instead, I can live from a place of authentic caring, concern and acceptance of my fellow human beings and the experiences that happen throughout my life.  It does not mean that I tolerate inhumanity.  But being thoughtful, considerate and discerning about what might be influencing the activities, behaviors and reactions of other people can help me have greater appreciation and respect for our differences, as well as awareness and sensitivity of our similarities.  It seems we have more similarities.  I like noticing that aspect of our humanness.  It reinforces my optimism for the future for our world.  It makes me smile.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to ask more questions.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Pausing

This morning a friend through the programs called to talk about the anxiety and fear triggered in her so easilythese days.  Actually, I was able to reflect to her that compared to just a few months ago she has made great progress.  Now, she is actually becoming aware of the pre-anxiety stage which is allowing her the option to choose to calm herself down in most cases, rather than needing to make a call to her sponsor or me.

I’m so glad she called, because out of my mouth, definitely from my Higher Power, came words that I too needed to hear again.  The words were about how each time we pause when agitated, we give ourselves the time to stay out of our “ancient” brain where the “fight or flight” response lives and kicks in automatically.  Scientists have proven that if we can just pause for only 2 seconds – yes, that’s all it takes (actually a little less) – we can bypass the ancient brain and make a conscious, thoughtful and more helpful choice to respond – instead of react. 

When we pause (when agitated, as the slogan goes) we allow ourselves the option of a new experience no matter how difficult or triggering the situation.  Having a list of things to when pausing helped me; breath, say the Serenity prayer, think about my Higher Power, call my sponsor, pleasantly excuse myself from the room, and so on.  These alternatives gave me the time to stay out of an old pattern and create a new pattern.  Most of the time I’m able to pause.  It takes less energy in the long run, and saves face for me and others.  It means fewer amends as well.  That’s a bargain for a little pause!

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to respond appropriately.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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More About Patience

I keep learning more about patience.  Today, I was a bit too quick cutting potatoes in the kitchen and cut my finger.  It’s a good knife, so it was a clean cut.  But, very inconvenient timing.

So, it’s time for me to remember to slow down, take care of me and think before acting.  When I take the time to think first and take care of me, there is more of me to be present for others.  Here’s a switch though.  There was a time when my next step would have been to react, get mad, start complaining about everything.  Today, my focus was on not fainting, washing it out, getting a bandaid and antibiotic with the help of my husband and finishing cooking the meal.  Responding came naturally today.  Breathing helped too.  Interestingly enough, my husband seemed to take it harder than I did, and is now doing his form of self-care for a few hours.   Funny how when we change, other people seem to change too.

Anyway, typing this is my test of how well my finger has closed up and will mend so I can do the rest of my work this evening.  I made it to my meeting, was nurtured by the sharing there and feel fortified to accomplish my goals tonight.  My breathing is still normal, relatively deep and relaxed.  Nothing major to attend to, just life.  And we keep getting better at it with practice and patience.  Going slow, breathing and thinking first are the some of the basics of keeping it simple.  It works.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am taking care of me. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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