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Letting go of difficult people…

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Every morning, I wake up. I make a strong pot of coffee. I drink it while reading 100 or so posts from some of my favorite bloggers. It’s always interesting to me when the messages from different bloggers seem to be in sync and it appears the universe is trying to teach me a lesson. Today is one of those days. First up is Kristin Barton Cuthriell who writes:

A client came to me the other day. She is chronically anger with her mother and has been for years. The anger is poisoning her. It is tearing her apart. She describes herself as nothing but a bitter shell of who she use to be. She is so consumed by her anger that she is shutting out all of the joy in her life (and there is a lot). I shared with her my lesson.

My lesson about life being precious and short- way too short to spend it full of contempt and resentment. The lesson that we learn when we have a near death experience, survive a life threatening illness, or lose a loved one.

Her mother is getting up there in years and is struck with an illness that is taking over her body. “Let go,” I stressed to my client. I moved my chair a little closer, but not too close. I looked my client in the eye, and with extreme passion, but a tone close to a whisper, I said, “It is time to let go. Enjoy the time that you have left with your mother.” My client’s eyes welled with tears, and she nodded yes. She knew, the time had come. The time to let go. The time to rid herself of the poison. The time to stop ruminating about the past. The time to reclaim her life. The time to let life in.

Are you poisoning yourself with resentment? Has the time come to let it go? Only you can really make that decision. Make it well. You deserve the best in life, but it is up to you.” via Letting Go – Kristin Barton Cuthriell.

Full disclosure? Kristin is a client, but I hunted her down because I like her content so much!

Next up is Melody Beattie. I have been starting my days with her book “The Language of Letting Go” for over a year now and I frequently curate her content. Today’s reading was more poignant for me than most:

Few things can make us feel crazier than expecting something from someone who has nothing to give. Few things can frustrate us more than trying to make a person someone he or she isn’t; we feel crazy when we try to pretend that person is someone he or she is not. We may have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from our past and our present. We may have spent years trying to get someone to love us in a certain way, when that person cannot or will not.

It is time to let it go. It is time to let him or her go. That doesn’t mean we can’t love that person anymore. It means that we will feel the immense relief that comes when we stop denying reality and begin accepting. We release that person to be who he or she actually is. We stop trying to make that person be someone he or she is not. We deal with our feelings and walk away from the destructive system.

We learn to love and care differently in a way that takes reality into account.

We enter into a relationship with that person on new terms – taking our needs and ourselves into account. If a person is addicted to alcohol, other drugs, misery, or other people, we let go of his or her addiction; we take our hands off it. We give his or her life back. And we, in the process, are given our life and freedom in return.

We stop letting what we are not getting from that person control us. We take responsibility for our life. We go ahead with the process of loving and taking care of ourselves.

We decide how we want to interact with that person, taking reality and our own best interests into account. We get angry, we feel hurt, but we land in a place of forgiveness. We set him or her free, and we become set free from bondage.

This is the heart of detaching in love.

Today, I will work at detaching in love from troublesome people in my life. I will strive to accept reality in my relationships. I will give myself permission to take care of myself in my relationships, with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual freedom for both people as my goal.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – December 5, 2012.

Additions? Subtractions? This content is easy for me to share, but hard to implement…

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Express your power gently

Cover of "The Tao of Pooh"

Melody Beattie writes:

Express your power naturally and as gently as you can.

When I started learning what it meant to take care of myself and to own my power, I talked loudly, spoke up, and yelled in order to set boundaries, limits, and to express myself. That was the way to get my point across. That’s how I’d showed people I meant what I said.

I had to say it loudly.

About five years after I started this process of learning what it meant to own my power, I met a bear called Winnie the Pooh. The book that introduced me was The Tao of Pooh. Lights started coming on. The seeds of new lessons began to sprout.

To own my power, I could quietly say what I meant. The clearer I was about what I had to say and who I was, the less I had to shout. Owning my power wasn’t something I had to plan out, premeditate, and obsess about.

The more I took care of myself and connected to myself, and the clearer I became, the more natural and easier it became to own my power. My power–including setting limits, saying no, refusing to be manipulated, and saying I’d changed my mind– often became a natural, graceful, timely expression of me.

There are still times in our lives when we have to be firm, sometimes forceful, and repeat what we’ve said, sometimes loudly. The quieter and more relaxed we can be when we say what we mean is usually in direct proportion to how much we believe in ourselves.

Let your power, boundaries, and expressions of who you are arise naturally.

Learn and respect the value of responding as gently, but as firmly, as you can.

God, help your power flow through me. Teach me to take care of myself gently, in a way that reflects harmony with myself and as much as possible, the people in my life.” via Just For Today Meditations – Maintaining A Life.

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8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holiday Season

Gretchen Rubin has some valuable insight for those who struggle with the holidays for one reason or another:

Holidays can be tough. Some people love them; some people dread them.

I thought a lot about the holidays as I was writing Happier at Home, because the holiday season tends to be a time when we focus on home. Maybe you’re going “home” the way I go home to Kansas City for Christmas–which may be fun for you, or not. Maybe you’re deciding how to decorate your home. Maybe you’re making an effort to arrange the holidays the way you experienced them as a child–or the opposite. Maybe you’re feeling sad, or happy, about whom you will or won’t be seeing.

From talking to people, it seems that one of the biggest happiness challenges of the holidays is dealing with difficult relatives. You want to have a nice dinner, but Uncle Bobby makes you crazy. What to do?” Get the answer here: 8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holiday Season. « The Happiness Project.

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Healthy Dependency?

I didn’t know what it looked like either until I read this book. I knew what it looked like to be unheathily attached — it looked like codependency. I knew what it looked like to be unheathily detached — it looked like ‘eff you — I’m taking my marbles and leaving’. If you struggle with either being overly detached or attached, this book will help evision what healthy dependency looks like…

Click the image to learn more…

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Payoffs from Destructive Relationships

Melody Beattie writes:

Sometimes it helps to understand that we may be receiving a payoff from relationships that cause us distress.

The relationship may be feeding into our helplessness or our martyr role.

Maybe the relationships feeds our need to be needed, enhancing our self-esteem by allowing us to feel in control or morally superior to the other person.

Some of us feel alleviated from financial or other kinds of responsibility by staying in a particular relationship.

“My father sexually abused me when I was a child,” said one woman. “I went on to spend the next twenty years blackmailing him emotionally and financially on this. I could get money from him whenever I wanted, and I never had to take financial responsibility for myself.”

Realizing that we may have gotten a codependent payoff from a relationship is not a cause for shame. It means we are searching out the blocks in ourselves that may be stopping our growth.

We can take responsibility for the part we may have played in keeping ourselves victimized. When we are willing to look honestly and fearlessly at the payoff and let it go, we will find the healing we’ve been seeking. We’ll also be ready to receive the positive, healthy payoffs available in relationships, the payoffs we really want and need.

Today, I will be open to looking at the payoffs I may have received from staying in unhealthy relationships, or from keeping destructive systems operating. I will become ready to let go of my need to stay in unhealthy systems; I am ready to face myself.” via Just For Today Meditations – Maintaining A Life.

And, there are ALWAYS payoffs. They just might not be so obvious…

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Ever feel like you are backtracking?

Christine Hassler has a real beauty of a post today that I grabbed in its entirety for you…

One of my pet peeves about the personal growth industry is that there is a lot of expectation placed on consistently making positive changes. The promise is that over time as we do our work, we gradually and continuously “get better” (whatever “better” means).  What often isn’t addressed is that our learning and growth isn’t linear.  It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.

Please don’t torture yourself by buying into the misunderstanding that your growth needs to be straight up. That’s a lot of pressure – and also not possible.  Growth is more fluid.  And over time the lows (or perceived backtracking) we experience become shorter in duration and the length of time in between them becomes longer. I drew this picture for you to illustrate what I am talking about:

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The original image was kinda small; I think this is still legible…

The human experience is about contrast and sometimes the best way we learn is when we take a few steps that feel backwards.  Often when we have a big “aha” so much to the extent that we feel transformed, the Universe will bring us a situation that feels very similar to past experiences. Often people get frustrated and think, “This again? I thought I learned this already!” That may be accurate; you may have learned the lesson and now the Universe is bringing you an amazing opportunity to practice the learning so that you can fully integrate it. I give some examples of this in today’s video.

If you feel like you are backtracking in your own behavior, choices, or feelings rest assured you are not flunking life.  You learned from my UPdate last week that only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through. Your so-called issues and programmed responses got implemented decades ago so it may take some time before you totally shift something.  So if you find yourself slipping into old habits, reactions, behaviors or choices that you thought were behind you, cut yourself some slack.

Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.

When you perceive yourself taking steps backwards, that does not mean change is not occurring. You may take ten steps forward and then eight steps back. But the next time you will take eleven steps forward and only seven steps back.  You are making progress!! Whatever you do, just keep going. And forgive yourself! This is super duper important.  Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you.  Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking.  I’m doing the best I can.”  Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.

Keep going.

Keep going.

Source: Ever feel like you are backtracking? | Christine Hassler

Here are some of the points she makes I think are worthy of review…

“It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.”

“Only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through”; this is why we say in Celebrate Recovery that we don’t claim perfection, only progress…

“Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.” As a tech guy, there have been many times I have wished I could upgrade myself like hardware. If only I could reformat my brain and delete all the old Beatles‘ lyrics! I’d have so much more room! I do think, however, you CAN upgrade your thinking. There is an old computer programming acronym GIGO; Garbage In, Garbage Out. It applies to thinking and food as well…

And finally, this bears repeating…

“Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you.  Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking.  I’m doing the best I can.”  Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.”

And perhaps the most important lesson of all? Go easy on yourself and practice ‘self-forgiveness’…