Vulnerability

Some of us have made a decision that no one was ever going to hurt us again.  We may automatically go on “feelings freeze mode” when faced with emotional pain.  Or, we may terminate a relationship the first time we feel hurt.

Hurt feelings are a part of life, relationships, and recovery.

It is understandable that we don’t want to feel any more pain.  Many of us have had more than our share.  In fact, at some time in our life, we may have been overwhelmed, crushed, or stopped in our tracks by the amount of pain we felt.  We may not have had the resources to cope with our pain or take care of ourselves.

That was yesterday.  Today, we don’t have to be so firghtened of pain.  It does not have to overwhelm us.  We are becoming strong enough to deal with hurt feelings.  And we don’t have to become martyrs, claiming that hurt feelings and suffering are all there is to life.

We need only allow ourselves to feel vulnerable enough to feel hurt, when that’s appropriate, and take responsibility for our feelings, behaviours, and what we need to do to take care of ourselves.  We don’t have to analyse or justify our feelings.  We need to feel them, and try not to let them control our behaviour.

Maybe our pain is showing us we need to set a boundary; maybe it’s showing us we’re going in a wrong direction; maybe it’s triggering a deep healing process.

It’s okay to feel hurt; it’s okay to cry; it’s okay to heal; it’s okay to move on to the next feeling, when it’s time.  Our willingess and capacity to feel hurt will eventually be matched by our willingess and capacity to feel joy.

Being in recovery does not mean immunity from pain; it means learning to take loving care of ourselves when we are in pain.

Today, I will not strike out at those who cause me pain. I will feel my emotions and take responsibility for them. I will accept hurt feelings as part of being in relationships. I am willing to surrender to the pain as well as the joy in life.

Responsibility for Ourselves

“We have been doing the wrong things for the right reasons” ~ Codependent No More

Caretaking: the act of taking responsibility for other people while neglecting responsibility for ourselves.  When we instinctively feel responsible for the feelings, thoughts, choices, problems, comfort, and destiny of others, we are caretakers.  We may believe, at an unconscious level, that others are responsible for our happiness, just as we’re responsible for theirs.

It’s a worthy goal to be considerate, loving, nurturing person.  But caretaking is neglecting ourselves to the point of feeling victimised.  Caretaking involves caring for others in ways that hamper them in learning to take responsibility for themselves.

Caretaking doesn’t work.  It hurts people; it hurts us.  People get angry.  They feel hurt, used, and victimised.  So do we.

The kindest and most generous behaviour we can choose is taking responsibility for ourselves – for what we think, feel, want, and need.  The most beneficial act we can perform is to be true to ourselves, and let others take responsibility for themselves.

Today, I will pay attention to my actual responsibilities to myself. I will let others do the same. If I am in doubt about what my actual responsibilities are, I will take an inventory.

Being Vulnerable

Part of recovery means learning to share ourselves with other people.  We learnt to admit our mistakes and expose our imperfections – not so that others can fix us, rescue us, or feel sorry for us, but so we can love and accept ourselves.  This sharing is a catalyst in healing and changing.

Many of us are fearful of sharing our imperfections because that makes us vulnerable.  Some of us have tried being vulnerable in the past, and people tried to control, manipulate, or exploit us, or they made us feel ashamed.

Some of us in recovery have hurt ourselves by being vulnerable.  We may have shared things with people who didn’t respect our confidence.  Or we may have told the wrong people at an inappropriate time, and scared them away.

We learn from our mistakes – and despite our mistakes, it is still a good thing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and honest.  We can learn to choose safe people with whom to share ourselves.  We can learn to share appropriately, so we don’t scare or push people away.  We can also learn to let others be vulnerable with us.

Today, God, help me learn to be approximately vulnerable. I will not let others exploit or shame me for being vulnerable, and I will not exploit myself.

When Things Don’t Work

Frequently, when faced with a problem, we may attempt to solve it in a particular way.  When that way deosn’t work, we may continue trying to solve the problem in that same way.

We may get frustrated, try harder, get more frustrated, and then exert more energy and influence into forcing the same solution that we have already tried and that didn’t work.

That approach makes us crazy.  It tends to get us stuck and trapped.  It is the stuff that unmanageability is made of.

We can get caught in this same difficult pattern in relationships, in tasks, in any area of our life.  We initiate something, it doesn’t work, doesn’t flow, we feel badly, then try the same approach harder, even though it’s not working and flowing.

Sometimes it’s appropriate not to give up and to try harder.  Sometimes, it’s more appropriate to let go, detach, and stop trying so hard.

If it doesn’t, it doesn’t flow, maybe life is trying to tell us something.  Life is a gentle teacher.  She doesn’t always send neon road signs to guide us.  Sometimes, the signs are more subtle.  Something not working maybe a sign!

Let go.  If we have become frustrated by repeated efforts that are producing desired results, we may be trying to force ourselves down the wrong path.  Sometimes, a different solution is appropriate.  Sometimes, a different path opens up.  Often, the answer will emerge more clearly in the quiteness of letting go than it will in the urgency, frustration, and desperation of pushing harder.

Learn to recognise when something isn’t working or isn’t flowing.  Step back and wait for clear guidance.

Today, I will not make myself crazy by repeatedly trying solutions that have proven themselves unsuccessful. If something isn’t working, I will step back and wait for guidance.

Solving Problems

Problems are made to be solved!

Some of us spend more time reacting to the fact that we have a problem than we do solving the problem.  “Why is this happening to me?”…”Isn’t life awful?”…”How come this had to happen?”…”Why is God picking one me?”

Problems are inevitable.  Some problems can be anticipated.  Some are surprises.  But the idea that problems occur regularly need never be a surprise.

The good news is that for every problem, there’s a solution.  Sometimes, the solution is immediate.  Sometimes, it takes a while to discover.  Sometimes, the solution involves letting go.  Somtimes, the problem is ours to solves; sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes, there is something we can clearly do to solve the problem; other times, we need to struggle, flounder, do our part, the trust our High Power for help.

Sometimes, the problem is just part of our life.  Sometimes, the problem is important because we are learning something through the problem and its solution.  Somtimes, problems end up working out for good in our life.  They get us headed in a direction that is a superior to one we may otherwise have taken.

Sometimes, problems just are; sometimes, they are a warning sign that we are on a wrong track.

We can learn to accept that problem is an inevitable part of our life.  We can learn to solve problems.  We can learn to trust our ability to solve problems.  We can learn to identify which problem are trying to lead us in a new direction, and which simply ask for solving.

We can learn to focus on the solution rather than on the problem, and maintain on a positive attitude toward life and the inevitable flow of problems and solutions.

Today, I will learn to trust solutions, rather than be victimised by problems. I will not use problems to prove I am useless, picked on or martyred. I will not pointto my problems to prove how awful life is. I will learn to trust the flow of problems and solutions. God, help me solve the problem I can solve today. Help me let go of the rest. Help me believe in my ability to tackle and solve problems. Help me trust the flow. For each problem, there is a solution.

Powerless Over Others

Stop making excuses for other people.  Stop making excuses for ourselves.

While it is our goal to develop compassion and achieve forgiveness, acceptance, and love, it is also our goal to accept reality and hold people accountable for their behaviour.  We can also hold ourselves accountable for our own behaviour and, at the same time, have compassion and understanding for ourselves.

When we claim powerlessness, we are not claiming irresponsibility.  We have no power to control others, what they do, what they did, or what they might do.  We’re stating that we are willing to end an ineffective life based on willpower and control.  And we’re beginning a spiritual mental, and emotional journey in which we take responsibility for ourselves.

We are not victims.  We are not helpless.  Accepting powerlessness when that is appropriate enables us to begin owning our true power to take care of ourselves.

Today, I will avoid making excuses for my own or someone else’s behaviour. I will let consequences and responsibility fall where they belong.

Balance

The goal is balance.

We need balance between work and play.  We need balance between giving and receiving.  We need balance in thought and feelings.  We need balance in caring for our physical and spiritual self.

A balanced life has harmony between a professional life and a personal life.  There may be times when we put extra energy into our relationships or work.  But the overall picture needs to balance.

Just as a balanced nutrional diet takes into account the realm of our nutritional needs to stay healthy, a balanced life takes into account all our needs: our need for friends, work, love, family, play, private time, recover time, and spiritual time.  If we get out of balance, our inner voice will tell us.  We need to listen.

Today, I will examine my life to see if the scales have swung too far in any area, or not far enough in some. I will work toward achieving balance in my life.

Deadlines

Sometimes, it helps to set a deadline.

This can be true when we faced unsolved problems, are struggling with a tough decision, have been sitting on the fence for a while, or have been floundering in confusion about a particular issue for a time.

That does not mean a deadline is written on a stone.  It means that we are establishing a time frame to help ourselves not feel so helpless and to help bring a solution into focus.  Setting deadlines can free our energy to set the problem or issue aside, to let go, and allow the Universe, our Higher Power, and ourselves to begin to move toward a solution.

Deadlines are primarily a tool to help ourselves.  They need to be reasonable and appropriate to each individual situation.  Used properly, deadlines can be a beneficial tool to help us get through difficult problems and situations without feelings trapped and helpless.  They can help us let go of worrying and obsessing, so we can focus our energies in more constructive directions.  Setting a deadline can help move us out of that uncomfortable spot of feeling victimized by a person or a problem we can’t solve.

Deadlines can help us detach and move forward.

  Today, I will consider whether a deadline might be helpful in some are in my life. I claim Divine Wisdom and Guidance in setting appropriate deadlines for any problems or relationship issues that may be lingering.

Resisting Negativity

Some people are carriers of negativity.  They are store houses for pent-up anger and volatile emotions.  Some remain trapped in the victim role and act in ways that further their victimization.  And others are still caught in the cycle of addictive or compulsive patterns.

Negative energy can have a powerful pull on us, especially if we’re struggling to maintain positive energy and balance.  It may seem that others who exude negatitive energy would like to pull us into the darkness with them.  We do not have to go.  Without judgment, we can decide it’s okay to walk away, okay to protect ourselves.

We cannot change other people.  It does not help others for us to get off balance.  We do not lead others into Light by stepping into the darkness with them.

  Today, God, help me to know that I don’t have to allow myself to be pulled into negativity, even around those I love. Help me set boundaries. Help me know it’s okay to take care of myself.

Anger At Family Members

Many of us have anger toward certain members of our family.  Some of us have much anger and rage – anger that seems to go on year after year.

For many of us, anger was the only way to break an unhealthy bondage or connection between a family member and ourselves.  It was the force that kept us from being held captive – mentally, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually captive – by certain family members.

It is important to allow ourselves to feel – to accept – our anger toward our family members without casting guilt or shame on ourselves.  It is also important to examine our guilty feelings concerning family members as anger and guilt are often intertwined.

We can accept, even thank, our anger for protecting us.  But we can also set another goal: taking our freedom.

Once we do, we will not need our anger.  Once we do, we can achieve forgiveness.

Think loving thoughts, think healing thoughts toward family members.  But let ourselves be as angry as we need to be.  At some point, strive to be done with the anger.  But we need to be gentle with ourselves if the feelings surface from time to time.

Thank God for the feelings.  Feel them.  Release them.  Ask God to bless and take care for our families.  Ask God to help us take freedom and take care of ourselves.

Let the golden light of healing shine upon all we love and upon all with whom we feel anger.  Let the golden light of healing shine on us.

Trust that a healing is taking place, now.

  Help me accept the potent emotions I may feel toward my family members. Help me be grateful for the lesson they are teaching me. I accept the golden light of healing that is now shining on me and my family. I thank God that healing does not always come in a neat, tidy package.

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