Sometimes, problems and challenges come to move us to the next place in our lives. Sometimes, they come to challenge and reinforce what we already know and believe.
Maybe that problem in your life has come along to teach you something new.
Maybe it’s an opportunity to remember and practice what you already know to be true.
Push against the problem. Push your ideals and beliefs against what’s going on. Examine what you think, believe, and feel. Stay open to change. But remember that, sometimes, it’s not about changing what you believe. It’s an opportunity for you to validate yourself and your beliefs.
We’re not always learning something new. Sometimes, the lesson is to remember and trust what we already know.
God, help me to be open to change, help me also to stand fast by my beliefs when they are right.” via Just For Today Meditations » Blog.
“Enroll in this weight loss program and you’ll lose thirty pounds in five days!” “Come to this free seminar and after spending one hundred dollars on books you’ll be a millionaire!”
There is no quick fix, no panacea that will work for every person. Success rarely happens overnight or in five days. Even the Twelve Steps are only suggestions. Although proven to work, the details and decisions about how we apply those Steps in our lives are left to each one of us.
And few things happen overnight, except the beginning of a new day.
Listen to your mentors. Examine what’s been tried and true, and has worked and helped countless others along their paths. The Twelve Steps are one of those approaches. But don’t be taken in by false claims of overnight success and instant enlightenment along your path.
True change takes time and effort, especially when we’re changing and tackling big issues. We can often get exactly the help we need at times from a therapist, book, or seminar– the best things in life really are free and available to each one of us. The Twelve Steps, again, qualify in this area.
Discover what works for you.
Trust that you’ll be guided along your path and receive exactly the help and guidance you need. Then give it time.
There really isn’t an easier, softer way.
God, give me permission to tackle my problems.” via Just For Today Meditations – Daily Recovery Readings – September 9, 2012.
You’ve heard it said ‘when all else fails, lower your expectations’ — I say ‘before!’. Why? Long ago I heard this quote and took it with me: “Discouragement is the illegitimate child of false expectations!” Loyd Ogilive. I believe most, if not all, of our disappointment comes from what expect in a certain situation. In jest I say to my wife, “if only you’d lower your expectations, I could be the man of your dreams” and there is some truth in that. The only time I get frustrated with her is when I forget that people are unmanageable and that my expectations are just that; my expectations and not anyone else’s truth or reality…
One of my favorite authors Melody Beattie shares this on the topic:
When you’re starting a first creative project or beginning the study of an art or craft, what I want you to do is lower your standards until they disappear. That’s right. You’re not supposed to be any good at the beginning. So you might as well give yourself the liberating gift of joyously expecting yourself to be bad.
— Barbara Sheer and Annie Gotlieb, Wishcraft
When I first began writing newspaper and magazine articles, it took me anywhere from one to three months to complete a short article. After writing for a few years, I brought a timer into my office one day. I told myself I knew how to do what I was doing, now I was going to learn to do it more quickly. Before long, I was able to write in two hours what had previously taken me months to accomplish. The key words here are in time.
When I first began recovering from chemical dependency, it took me eight months of treatment to understand what other people were comprehending in six weeks. In time, I became a chemical dependency counselor. In time, I wrote books on the subject. The key words here are in time.
When I first began recovering from codependency, I couldn’t tell a control gesture from setting a boundary I didn’t know when I was taking care of myself or what that even meant. I didn’t know manipulation from an honest attempt at expressing my emotions. In time, I wrote a best-seller on the subject. Again, the key words here are in time.
Start where you are. Start poorly. Just begin. Let yourself fumble, be awkward and confused. If you already knew how to do it, it wouldn’t be a lesson in your life. And you wouldn’t get the thrill of victory two, five, or ten years from now when you look back and say, “Wow. I’ve gotten good at that over time.”
All things are possible to him or her that believeth, the Bible says. Enjoy those awkward beginnings. Revel in them. They’re the key to your success.
God, help me stop putting off living out of fear of doing it poorly. Help me lower my expectations to allow room for awkward beginnings.” via September 8: Lower Your Expectations.
Melody Beattie writes:
Here’s another example about the power of simplification.
For years, I heard about hiking. It sounded so elusive, difficult, and mysterious. I didn’t do it, but I thought about hiking wistfully. One day, a friend asked me to go hiking with him. “Sure,” I said. As the day of our hike approached, I began thinking things through. I was getting a little nervous. What if I couldn’t do it well enough? What if I didn’t know how to do it at all?
Don’t be ridiculous, I scolded myself. You’re making this much more complicated than it really is. Hiking is just walking, and you’ve been doing that since you were ten months old.
The next day, I arose at 6:00 A.M., and my friend and I left for our hike. I followed my friend as he began walking up the steep incline.
Just walk, I told myself after the first ten steps. Put one foot in front of another. Walk like you’ve done all your life.
I didn’t make it to the top of the mountain that day, but I made it almost halfway.
Is there something you’ve wanted to do but have put off because it sounds too difficult and complicated? Are you saying no to something in your life that you’d like to say yes to, but it seems elusive and out of your reach? Try reducing the task or activity to its simplest form.
I have a friend who hadn’t dated for years. One day, a girl he liked asked him to go to the movies. He was anxious and nervous.
“Going to a movie is just sitting down and staring at the screen, then getting up and going home when you’ve finished,” I said. “I think you can do that.”
“You’re right,” he said. He went and had a great time.
Sometimes, we can scare ourselves out of doing the easiest things in life. Yes, hiking involves more than walking. And going on a date with someone involves a little more than sitting and staring at a screen. But not that much more. Simplify things. Bring them down to their most manageable level. Instead of talking yourself out of living, learn to talk yourself into it.
God, give me the courage to fully live my life. Help me deliberately talk myself into doing things, instead of scaring myself away.” via September 6: Tell Yourself How Simple it is.
Melody Beattie writes:
“It’s too much,” I said to my instructor. “Jumping out of a plane is too much for my mind to comprehend.”
“Then keep it simple,” he said. “Break it down into parts. You have the ride up, where you practice relaxing, your exit, your free-fall time; then you deploy your parachute. Then you decide if it’s working or if you need to go to plan B. Next set up your landing pattern. When you get near the ground, pull your strings and flare.”
I could handle the steps, but the big picture of jumping out of an airplane was too much to envision. But exiting, falling stable, pulling, and flaring were simple parts that felt manageable. My mind could comprehend these simple tasks.
You may never make a skydive. Or maybe you will. But there’s a lot of things in life that seem like too much if we try to see them all as one big thing. I never thought I could stay sober and drug-free for twenty-seven years. But with God’s help and the help of the program, I believed I could refrain from using drugs and alcohol for twenty-four hours. Then the next day, I got up and believed the same thing again.
There have been times I didn’t think I could start my life over. But I could get up in the morning and do the things I thought best for that day.
Are you facing something now in your life that feels too overwhelming? Then simplify it. Break it down into manageable parts until you can see how simple it is.
God, if I’m complicating a task or making it too big and unmanageable in my mind, help me to simplify what I see.” via September 5: See it Simple.
Melody Beattie writes:
Take time to celebrate.
Celebrate your successes, your growth, your accomplishments. Celebrate you and who you are.
For too long you have been too hard on yourself. Others have spilled their negative energy — their attitudes, beliefs, pain — on you. It had nothing to do with you! All along, you have been a gift to yourself and to the Universe.
You are a child of God. Beautiful, a delight, a joy. You do not have to try harder, be better, be perfect, or be anything you are not. Your beauty is in you, just as you are each moment.
When you have a success, when you accomplish something, enjoy it. Pause, reflect, rejoice. Too long you have listened to admonitions not to feel good about what you have done, lest you travel the downward road to arrogance.
Celebration is a high form of praise, of gratitude to the Creator for the beauty of God’s creation. To enjoy and celebrate the good does not mean that it will be taken from you. To celebrate is to delight in the gift, to show gratitude.
Celebrate your relationships! Celebrate the lessons from the past and the love and warmth that is there today. Enjoy the beauty of others and their connection to you.
Celebrate all that is in your life. Celebrate all that is good. Celebrate you!
Today, I will indulge in the joy of celebrating.” via August 26: Celebrate | Language of Letting Go.
Melody Beattie writes:
“When will we become lovable? When will we feel safe? When will we get all the protection, nurturing, and love we so richly deserve? We will get it when we begin giving it to ourselves.”Beyond Codependency
The idea of giving ourselves what we want and need can be confusing, especially if we have spent many years not knowing that it’s okay to take care of ourselves. Taking our energy and focus off others and their responsibilities and placing that energy onto ourselves and our responsibilities is a recovery behavior that can be acquired. We learn it by daily practice.
We begin by relaxing, by breathing deeply, and letting go of our fears enough to feel as peaceful as we can. Then, we ask ourselves: What do I need to do to take care of myself today, or for this moment?
What do I need and want to do? What would demonstrate love and self-responsibility?
Am I caught up in the belief that others are responsible for making me happy, responsible for me? Then the first thing I need to do is correct my belief system. I am responsible for myself.
Do I feel anxious and concerned about a responsibility I’ve been neglecting? Then perhaps I need to let go of my fears and tend to that responsibility.
Do I feel overwhelmed, out of control? Maybe I need to journey back to the first of the Twelve Steps.
Have I been working too hard? Maybe what I need to do is take some time off and do something fun.
Have I been neglecting my work or daily tasks? Then maybe what I need to do is get back to my routine.
There is no recipe, no formula, no guidebook for self-care. We each have a guide, and that guide is within us. We need to ask the question: What do I need to do to take living responsible care of myself? Then, we need to listen to the answer. Self-care is not that difficult. The most challenging part is trusting the answer, and having the courage to follow.
- Owning Our Power (toddlohenry.com)
- What If? (toddlohenry.com)
- Combating Shame (toddlohenry.com)
- Family Buttons (toddlohenry.com)
- Letting Go (toddlohenry.com)
- Boundaries (toddlohenry.com)
- Recognizing Choices (toddlohenry.com)
- MELODY BEATTIE: Taking Care of Herself (time.com)