Nice Words..

Helpful Thinking.. (got this from a good friend of mine).

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.”– Henry James

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.” – James F. Byrnes

Holiday Triggers

One year, when I was a child, my father got drunk and violent at Christmas. I had just unwrapped a present, a bottle of hand lotion, when he exploded in an alcoholic rage. Our Christmas was disrupted. It was terrible. It was frightening for the whole family. Now, thirty-five years later, whenever I smell hand lotion, I immediately feel all the feelings I did that Christmas: the fear, the disappointment, the heartache, the helplessness, and an instinctive desire to control. –Anonymous
There are many positive triggers that remind us of Christmas: snow, decorations, “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” wrapped packages, a nativity scene, stockings hung on a fireplace. These “triggers” can evoke in us the warm, nostalgic feelings of the Christmas celebration.
There are other kinds of triggers, though, that may be less apparent and evoke different feelings and memories.
Our mind is like a powerful computer. It links sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste with feelings, thoughts, and memories. It links our senses – and we remember.
Sometimes the smallest, most innocuous incident can trigger memories. Not all our memories are pleasant, especially if we grew up in an alcoholic, dysfunctional setting.
We may not understand why we suddenly feel afraid, depressed, and anxious. We may not understand what has triggered our codependent coping behaviors – the low self worth, the need to control, the need to neglect ourselves. When that happens, we need to understand that some innocuous event may be triggering memories recorded deep within us.
If something, even something we don’t understand, triggers painful memories, we can pull ourselves back into the present by self care: acknowledging our feelings, detaching, working the Steps, and affirming ourselves. We can take action to feel good. We can help ourselves feel better each Christmas. No matter what the past held, we can put it in perspective, and create a more pleasant holiday today.
Today, I will gently work through my memories of this holiday season. I will accept my feelings, even if I consider them different than what others are feeling this holiday. God, help me let go, heal from, and release the painful memories surrounding the holidays. Help me finish my business from the past, so I can create the holiday of my choice.
As I start this day with quiet meditation, I feel myself becoming still and at peace. At anytime during the day I can bring my mind back to this moment. I can bring my attention and awareness back to the peace that I have when I am with my breath and I know that my breath is with me at
all times, whether I remember it or not.

Expectations of Others

It is our job to identify our needs, and then determine a balanced way of getting those needs met. We ultimately expect our Higher Power and the Universe – not one particular person – to be our source.
It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be able or willing to meet our every request. We are responsible for asking for what we want and need. It’s the other person’s responsibility to freely choose whether or not to respond to our request. If we try to coerce or force another to be there for us, that’s controlling.
There’s a difference between asking and demanding. We want love that is freely given.
It is unreasonable and unhealthy to expect one person to be the source for meeting all our needs. Ultimately, we will become angry and resentful, maybe even punishing, toward that person for not supporting us as we expected.
It is reasonable to have certain and well defined expectations of our spouse, children, and friends.
If a person cannot or will not be there for us, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in that relationship. We may need to set a boundary, alter our expectations, or change the limits of the relationship to accommodate that person’s unavailability. We do this for ourselves.
It is reasonable to sprinkle our wants and needs around and to be realistic about how much we ask or expect of any particular person. We can trust ourselves to know what’s reasonable.
The issue of expectations goes back to knowing that we are responsible for identifying our needs, believing they deserve to get met, and discover an appropriate, satisfactory way to do that in our life.
Today, I will strive for reasonable expectations about getting my needs met in relationships.
Today I know that I am powerless over all the addictions, obsessions, compulsions and dependencies in my life. Today I am willing to let them go to a power greater than myself.

Balance

Strive for balanced expectations of others. Strive for healthy tolerance.
In the past, we may have tolerated too much or too little. We may have expected too much or too little.
We may swing from tolerating abuse, mistreatment, and deception to refusing to tolerate normal, human, imperfect behaviors from people. Although it’s preferable not to remain in either extreme too long, that is how people change – real people who struggle imperfectly toward better lives, improved relationships, and more effective relationship behaviors.
But if we are open to ourselves and to the recovery process, we will, at some time, begin another transition: it becomes time to move away from extremes, toward balance.
We can trust ourselves and the recovery process to bring us to a balanced place of tolerance, giving, understanding, and expectations – of others and ourselves.
We can each find our own path to balance as we begin and continue recovery.
Today, I will practice acceptance with others and myself for the way we change. If I have had to swing to the other extreme of a behavior, I will accept that as appropriate, for a time. But I will make my goal one of balanced tolerance and expectations of others and myself.

Worry and Stress

“I’m learning it’s what I do with my today that counts,” said one group member. “I can make this a day to remember or a day to regret just by the kinds of thoughts I have about it.
“Let me explain what happened to make me realize this,” he continued. “Two days ago, I woke up grumbling about my sorry lot in life. My divorce, my bills, and a recent argument with a close friend haunted me. Throughout the whole day I nursed my woes and convinced myself that this was just another rotten day. And do you know what? That’s exactly what it turned out to be! Nothing went right. I even had a second argument with another friend who called to cheer me up.
“Yesterday, I overheard someone say that a person is made or unmade by what he thinks. I thought about this for a while and decided to try it out today. Instead of greeting the day with my usual, ‘Good God, morning!’ I consciously said, ‘Good morning, God!’ with the expectation that it would be a good day. And that’s what it’s been. I even called my two friends to apologize for my previous terrible mood, and I had a warm and friendly conversation with them both!”
TODAY I will lift up my thoughts. In expecting nothing but good to come to me, that is exactly what I will receive.

To Others And To Ourselves — Obligations

We all encounter obligations in life, from spending time with family and friends to being present at important functions in the lives of the people who form our community. Many times, the obligations are actually fun and fulfilling, and we want to be there. At the same time, we all sometimes experience resistance to meeting these obligations, especially when they pile up all at once and we begin to feel exhausted, longing for nothing so much as a quiet evening at home. At times like these, we may want to say no but feel too guilty at the idea of not being there. Still, our primary obligation is to take care of ourselves, and if saying no to someone else is what we have to do, then we do not need to feel bad about it.

There is a skill to balancing our obligations, and it starts with simply becoming aware of our schedule. We may notice that three invitations have arisen in one weekend, and we know that we will pay energetically if we attempt to fulfill all three. At this point, we can take the time to weigh the repercussions of not going to each event, considering how we will feel if we miss it and how our absence might affect other people. Most of the time, it will be clear which obligation we can most easily let go and which one we simply can’t miss. Sometimes we have to miss something really important to us, and that can be painful for everyone concerned. At times like this, reaching out with a phone call, a thoughtful card, or a gift lets people know that you are there in spirit and that your absence is by no means a result of you not caring.

Meeting our obligations to others is an important part of being human and not one to take lightly. At the same time, we cannot meet every obligation without neglecting our primary duty to take care of ourselves. We can navigate this quandary by being conscious of what we choose to do and not do and by finding concrete ways to extend our caring when we are not able to be there in person.

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~ by Jessica McGinley on December 23, 2007.

One Response to “Nice Words..”

  1. Jessica,
    This has really been helpful to me.
    I love you.
    Grandma

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