Posts Tagged ‘lessons’

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Things I Learned in Recovery and Life

July 18, 2020

I have been thinking lately about things I have learned in recovery and life. Some things I learned easily. Some things came very hard and took a long, long time.

I learned so many valuable things from sitting in meetings and listening to others. My sponsors shared things with me, as did my spiritual mentors and spiritual parents. And, of course, just over the hard course of life I learned some things, too.

Yet, I sometimes feel as if I have not learned much at all. I find it is good to take a few minutes every now and then to remember what I have learned and to pay attention to whether or not I am applying it to my life. It seems like there is never ending work I need to do.

Here they are in random order as they came to mind. Some are similar, or are related, in some aspect. Some overlap.

1. I remember one sponsor telling me that what others think about me is none of my business”. I really struggled with that one for a long time. The reality is those who love me the most will accept me as I am and I don’t need to be concerned with what they think. If they are concerned about something they see in me, they will ask about it! Those who are not close to me–well, what they think really just does not matter–hence, it is none of my business!

2. Live and let live. The key behind that one was for me to not be codependent and trying to “fix” others. Each one of us has to live our lives and work our programs ourselves. I cannot work another person’s program for them. I cannot make decisions for them. I really need to remember that. This applies to both recovery programs and dealing with survivor healing.

3. Let go and let God. I cannot be God in another person’s life. I can encourage. I can share truth. I can walk alongside. I can even lovingly challenge. But there are times in life when you just need to let a person go… let them walk in whatever way they are choosing to walk. I have to let go of them and not try to control them. They need to make their own decisions. It goes along with “live and let live”. This was a really key one for me when I was dealing my ex. I also had to let my children go and just trust them into God’s hands.

4. “If the shoe fits, wear it. If it does not fit, don’t put it on.” If I see/hear something that seems to apply to me, own it; but do not own what is not mine. If someone accuses me of something and it is not true, don’t take it on. Just like in number one, don’t worry about what they think. The truth will come out eventually. If it is true, though… be responsible for it.

5. I could not remember this one exactly, but my hubby remembered it: “You would stop worrying about what people think about you if you realized how little they actually do.” In other words, most people just don’t spend that much time thinking about me. They have more important things to do in life.

6. Just because I hear, or read, something that fits me… don’t assume that person is referring to me. It could just be coincidental and, in fact, most likely is. There are so many common experiences in life that it is highly doubtful the person was thinking of me… which goes back to number 5. If the person, by chance, IS referring to me, so what. See number 1 and number 4!

7. Avoid people, places and things that will cause me to stumble. It makes no sense to keep going back to people or places or things that will lead me astray–that will bring me down–that will place me into temptation’s path.

8. Avoid people who are toxic. There are some people who, by their very nature, suck the life out of others. They take and take and take and either refuse, or are simply unable, to give anything back to others. If I cannot avoid having the life sucked out of me by these kinds of people, I should avoid them.

9. Find like-minded people and hang out with them. Stick with the people who will encourage me and help me to stay on the path God has me to walk.

10. True friends will tell you the truth about yourself, even if it means risking your anger and rejection. There is nothing more valuable in a friendship than knowing that the person loves you enough to tell you the truth. It reminds me of Pro 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

11. God does not care how popular I am or how comfortable I am. What He cares about is my heart connection with Him. Oftentimes, what I think is most important–what I am most focused on–is not what God is focused on. He is more interested in refining me than pampering me.

12. It is OK to agree to disagree. There are times when two people will simply not see eye to eye on something. I neither have to convince them that I am right, nor do I have to be convinced that they are right. There is a third alternative… to simply agree to disagree. When I was growing up, there was no third alternative. In fact, to be wrong about something meant that there was something wrong with me.

13. Look for those who I consider to be successful and try to emulate them. I always think of Florence when I think of this principle. She was a woman I knew who lived her life in a way that showed me what living as a true Christian was really all about. She did not live religion. She lived a heart connection to Yeshua/Jesus and it showed. She was “real”. There are others that I have known like that, too.

14. Take whatever you are told about yourself to God and ask if there is any truth in it, even if it is just a grain. It used to always be that, when someone told me something really negative about myself, my first reaction was to get really defensive. Once I calmed down, though, I would ask God to show me if there is any truth in what I was told. I have had times when He showed me that things were true and times when He showed me that it was the other person’s issue, not mine. Or, it was a mix of both.

I find that I can still get a bit defensive at times, but mostly I am able to just think it over and try to dialog about it. Sadly, some people just automatically interpret any kind of dialog as being defensive. It is like, if I don’t just automatically agree with them, they believe that I am “defensive” or “in denial”. That is sad to me. It is in the dialoging that I think both sides can better understand the other. I can understand what they are trying to say they see and they can better understand what it is they really see.

15. Don’t ignore the message just because you don’t like the messenger. That was a big one in recovery. As people from all stages of recovery and life would come in, there would be people there that I just flat out did not like. I doubt that they liked me, either! But I learned to just listen to them anyway. Even the newbies had things to share that helped me.

16. You cannot control what other people think, feel or believe. It is better for me to just work on what I think, feel and believe.

17. You cannot please everyone. There are some who will not like you or get along with you no matter what you do. It is better to just be real and let the chips fall where they may.

18. Love is a choice–not a feeling. Feelings come and go. Choices can remain firmly in place. I can choose to love, regardless of how I feel.

19. Loving someone is worth it, even when it comes at a cost. Yeshua paid a high cost for His love for us. Can we do any less?

20. Love does not mean having no boundaries. Just because we love someone does not mean that we should let them walk all over us. Yes, we can choose to give something of ourselves up, in love, for the sake of another. However, it is a different thing, altogether, to continue to allow someone to abuse us.

21. My life is a gift from God. I need to honor Him, as well as myself, by taking good care of me. That includes taking care of all aspects of me. My body. My mind. My emotions. My spirit. All of me.

22. I have 2 ears, but only 1 mouth. I should strive to listen at least twice as much as I talk.

21. Don’t quit before the miracle comes. I used to hear this in recovery all the time. So many times things look so bleak. Yet, a miracle is just around the corner. We must hang in there, watching for it to happen.

22. Don’t compare my pain to others’ pain. Pain is relative. We can each handle varying types and amounts of pain, but it ALL hurts!

23. Don’t compare what I can do with what others can do. We are all gifted in different ways. Plus, we go through different seasons in our lives. In some seasons we can do more, or different, things than in others.

24. Don’t compare my history with others’ other than for the purposes of finding and giving support. We all have a story. No one’s story is better than, or worse than, another’s. No one’s story is more significant, or less significant, than another’s.

25. People are gifts for a season. I was talking with a therapist many years ago about the people I had lost in my life. They were gone, for one reason or another, and it saddened me. She said that it helped her with those kinds of losses to see those people as gifts for a season. She was not minimizing the losses, just putting them in perspective. I found that really did help me.

26. KISS… Keep It Simple, Silly! Don’t overcomplicate things. Life is complicated enough!

27. It is about progress, not perfection. I will always have areas in which I need improvement. It is not about being perfect, or doing things perfectly. It is about improving, no matter how slowly or how slightly. Just keep improving! Just keep making progress.

28. Healing is a process… a journey. While there are some healing events in life, which I have both experienced and witnessed, most of healing is a journey. It is an awesome life journey filled with experiences that range from the sublime to the crushingly painful. It all moves us forward.

29. Keep very short accounts. In other words, don’t let resentments build. This works two ways. If I have offended someone, I need to accept responsibility, apologize, ask for forgiveness and make amends. If I have been offended by someone else, I need to work through it and either let it go, or lovingly confront that person. I need to forgive them for my own sake. If they admit wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness, I need to give it to them.

30. Forgiveness does not mean throwing out common sense, boundaries or safety. It does not mean allowing someone to continue to abuse me, although I may choose to overlook some bad behavior at times… out of true love. It does not mean being foolish. If someone molests a child and seems to be genuinely remorseful and repentant… I can forgive them… and even support them in their healing. (Yes, even with my history.)  However, for their own sake and for children’s sakes, I will not permit them to be alone with a child.

31. Being able to ask for and give forgiveness, when appropriately done, is a sign of strength, not weakness. I am strong when I can choose to let something go. I am strong when I can choose to not allow it to effect me anymore. (Which is not to be mistaken for ignoring it. See number 30.)

32. Neither speak gossip, nor listen to gossip. Gossip is nothing less than character assassination. If there is a real issue to be resolved, I can offer support and counseling and help. But if that is not what the person wants, I must NOT listen!

33. Anyone who gossips TO me will most likely gossip ABOUT me.

34. Treat others the way I would want to be treated. If I am not sure how to handle something about someone, think about what I would want them to do if the situation were reversed.

35. Treat others the way that I think Yeshua/Jesus would treat them.

I am sure there are many others I will eventually think of, but these are a good start to remind me of the lessons I have learned.

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Article on Good Touch/Bad Touch by Sheena

May 12, 2010

Sheena wrote about why women (and girls) often don’t resist, or fight back, or tell when they are molested or raped.  She writes about some of the messages they are taught about how to behave and how those messages contribute to their not telling and not fighting back. We so need to teach our children differently. I hate the thought that we could actually be setting them up to be abused.

Here is her article: The Conflicting Nature of Good Touch/Bad Touch Everyone needs to read this. Everyone needs to think about what she is sharing here.

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