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Perfection

Melody Beattie writes:

Try harder. Do better. Be perfect. These messages are tricks that people have played on us. No matter how hard we try, we think we have to do better. Perfection always eludes us and keeps us unhappy with the good we’ve done.
Messages of perfectionism are tricks because we can never achieve their goal. We cannot feel good about ourselves or what we have done while these messages are driving us. We will never be good enough until we change the
messages and tell ourselves we are good enough now.
We can start approving of and accepting ourselves. Who we are is good
enough. Our best yesterday was good enough; our best today is plenty good
too.
We can be who we are, and do it the way we do it – today. That is the
essence of avoiding perfection.
Help me let go of the messages that drive me into the crazies. I will
give myself permission to be who I am and let that be good enough.” Source: Daily SNIPS Discussion: 062706 0507-1111 – DailyStrength

Powerlessness & Unmanageability

Melody Beattie writes:

Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.

“I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren’t, don’t want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process,” said one recovering woman.

I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn’t love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.

I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.

What I’m saying is this: I’ve spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t. It’s been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won’t work!

By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I’ll allow my life to become manageable.” via Daily Meditation ~ Powerlessness & Unmanageability – Miracles In Progress Codependents Anonymous Group.

Today, I am thinking about how to apply this to my in-laws…

My mother in law will never love me like a son and my sibling in laws will never treat me like a brother. Three years ago during the ‘summer of forgiveness’, I made amends and was forgiven and yet I remain in their ‘penalty box‘. I refuse to let myself in an close the lid on top of me. I refuse to play a role in their drama. If I’m not going to get what I need it’s not worth the work…

Boundaries

Fence

Good fences make good neighbors…

Melody Beattie writes:

“Having boundaries doesn’t complicate life; boundaries simplify life.” Beyond Codependency.

There is a positive aspect to boundary setting. We learn to listen to ourselves and identify what hurt us and what we don’t like. But we also learn to identify what feels good.

When we are willing to take some risks and begin actively doing so, we will enhance the quality of our life.

What do we like? What feels good? What brings us pleasure? Whose company do we enjoy? What helps us to feel good in the morning? What’s a real treat in our life? What are the small, daily activities that make us feel nurtured and cared for?

What appeals to our emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical self? What actually feels good to us?

We have deprived ourselves too long. There is no need to do that anymore, no need. If it feels good, and the consequences are self-loving and not self-defeating, do it!

Today, I will do for myself those little things that make life more pleasurable. I will not deny myself healthy treats.” via Thought for the Day.

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Commitment

Couple in love

Melody Beattie writes:

As we walk through life, there are many things and people we may lose, or lose out on, if we are unwilling to commit. We need to make a commitment for relationships to grow beyond the dating stage, to have the home or apartment we want, the job we want, or the car we desire.

We must commit, on deep levels, to careers — to goals ­to family, friends, recovery. Trying something will not ena­ble us to succeed. Committing ourselves will.

Yet, we need never commit before we are ready.

Sometimes, our fear of commitment is telling us some­thing. We may not want to commit to a particular relation­ship, purchase, or career. Other times, it is a matter of our fears working their way out. Wait, then. Wait until the issue becomes clear.

Trust yourself. Ask your Higher Power to remove your fear of commitment. Ask God to remove your blocks to commit­ment. Ask God for guidance.

Ask yourself if you are willing to lose what you will not commit to. Then listen, quietly. And wait until a decision seems consistently right and comfortable.

We need to be able to commit, but we need never commit until we are ready.

Trust that you will commit when you want to.

God, guide me in making my commitments. Give me the courage to make those that are right for me, the wisdom to not commit to that which does not feel right, and the patience to wait until I know.” via June 21: Commitment.

What If?

Melody Beattie writes:

I was talking to a friend one day about something I planned to do. Actually, I was worrying about how one par­ticular person might react to what I intended to do.

“What if he doesn’t handle it very well?” I asked.

“Then,” my friend replied, “you’re going to have to handle it well.”

“What if ‘s” can make us crazy. They put control over our life in someone else’s hands. “What if’s” are a sign that we have reverted to thinking that people have to react in a par­ticular way for us to continue on our course.

“What if’s” are also a clue that we may be wondering whether we can trust ourselves and our Higher Power to do what’s best for us. These are shreds of codependent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and they signal fear.

The reactions, feelings, likes or dislikes of others don’t have to control our behaviors, feelings, and direction. We don’t need to control how others react to our choices. We can trust ourselves, with help from a Higher Power, to handle any out­come — even the most uncomfortable. And, my friend, we can trust ourselves to handle it well.

Today, I will not worry about other people’s reactions, or events outside of my control. Instead, I will focus on my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow, I can do the same.” via June 22: What If?.

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The Good Feelings

Sunrise 3

Melody Beattie writes:

Let yourself feel the good feelings too.
Yes, sometimes, good feelings can be as distracting as the painful, more difficult ones. Yes, good feelings can be anxiety producing to those of us unaccustomed to them. But go ahead and feel the good feelings anyway.
Feel and accept the joy. The love. The warmth. The excitement. The pleasure. The satisfaction. The elation. The tenderness. The comfort.
Let yourself feel the victory, the delight.
Let yourself feel cared for.
Let yourself feel respected, important, and special.
These are only feelings, but they feel good. They are full of positive, upbeat energy – and we deserve to feel that when it comes our way.
We don’t have to repress. We don’t have to talk ourselves out of feeling good – not for a moment.
If we feel it, it’s ours for the moment. Own it. If it’s good, enjoy it.

Today, God, help me be open to the joy and good feelings available to me.

Source: Daily Meditation ~ The Good Feelings – Miracles In Progress Codependents Anonymous Group

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Gossip

Cover

A second shot of Melody Beattie for today! The Universe must think I need it:

Intimacy is that warm gift of feeling connected to others and enjoying our connection to them.

As we grow in recovery, we find that gift in many, some­times surprising places. We may discover we’ve developed intimate relationships with people at work, with friends, with people in our support groups — sometimes with family members. Many of us are discovering intimacy in a special love relationship.

Intimacy is not sex, although sex can be intimate. Intimacy means mutually honest, warm, caring, safe relationships ­relationships where the other person can be who he or she is and we can be who we are — and both people are valued.

Sometimes there are conflicts. Conflict is inevitable. Some­times there are troublesome feelings to work through. Some­times the boundaries or parameters of relationships change. But there is a bond — one of love and trust.

There are many blocks to intimacy and intimate relation­ships. Addictions and abuse block intimacy. Unresolved fam­ily of origin issues prevent intimacy. Controlling blocks intimacy. Off balance relationships, where there is too great a discrepancy in power, prevent intimacy. Caretaking can block intimacy. Nagging, withdrawing, and shutting down can hurt intimacy.

So can a simple behavior like gossip — for example, gos­siping about another for motives of diminishing him or her in order to build up ourselves or to judge the person. To dis­cuss another person’s issues, shortcomings, or failures with someone else will have a predictable negative impact on the relationship.

We deserve to enjoy intimacy in as many of our relation­ships as possible. We deserve relationships that have not been sabotaged.

That does not mean we walk around with our heads in the clouds; it means we strive to keep our motives clean when it comes to discussing other people.

If we have a serious issue with someone, the best way to resolve it is to bring the issue to that person.

Direct, clean conversation clears the air and paves the way for intimacy, for good feelings about ourselves and our relationships with others.

Today, God, help me let go of my fear of intimacy. Help me strive to keep my communications with others clean and free from mali­cious gossip. Help me work toward intimacy in my relationships. Help me deal as directly as possible with my feelings.” via June 17: Gossip.

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Relationship Martyrs

Are you a relationship martyr? Consider this:

Many of us have gone so numb and discounted our feelings so completely that we have gotten out of touch with our needs in relationships.

We can learn to distinguish whose company we enjoy, whether we’re talking about friends, business acquaintances, dates, or spouses. We all need to interact with people we might prefer to avoid, but we don’t have to force ourselves through long-term or intimate relationships with these people.

We are free to choose friends, dates, and spouses. We are free to choose how much time we spend with those people we can’t always choose to be around, such as relatives. This is our life. This is it. We can decide how we want to spend our days and hours. We’re not enslaved. We’re not trapped. And not one of us is without options. We may not see our options clearly. Although we may have to struggle through shame and learn to own our power, we can learn to spend our valuable hours and days with the people we enjoy and choose to be with.

God, help me value my time and life. Help me place value on how I feel being around certain people. Guide me as I learn to develop healthy, intimate, sharing relationships with people. Help me give myself the freedom to experiment, explore, and learn who I am and who I can be in my relationships.

Source: Daily Meditation ~ Relationship Martyrs – Miracles In Progress Codependents Anonymous Group

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Letting Go of Self-Doubt

A second shot of Melody Beattie for today:

A married woman who had recently joined Al Anon called me one afternoon. She worked part-time as a registered nurse, had assumed all the responsibilities for raising her two chil­dren, and did all the household chores, including repairs and finances. “I want to separate from my husband,” she sobbed. “I can’t stand him or his abuse any longer. But tell me, please tell me,” she said, “do you think I can take care of myself?” Codependent No More

Not only is it okay to take care of ourselves, we can take good care of ourselves.

Many of us, so confident about our ability to take care of others, doubt our inherent strength to care for ourselves. We may have come to believe, from our past or present circum­stances, that we need to take care of others and we need others to take care of us. This is the ultimate codependent belief.

No matter where this self-defeating belief was born, we can release it and replace it with a better one, a healthier one, a more accurate one.

We can take care of ourselves — whether we are in or out of a relationship. Everything we need will be provided. We will have loved ones, friends, and our Higher Power to help.

Knowing that we can take care of ourselves doesn’t mean we won’t have feelings of fear, discomfort, doubt, anger, and fragility at times. It means we practice “courageous vulner­ability,” as Colette Dowling called it in Cinderella Complex. We may feel scared, but we do it anyway.

Today, God, help me know how I can take care of myself.” via June 19: Letting Go of Self-Doubt.

Few books have been more useful to me in my life — if any of the codependency scenarios resonate with you, I recommend you purchase it, the workbook and ‘The Language of Letting Go‘…