Before I found support groups I was broken, numb and my life was out of control. I thought life just happened to people and I certainly had no control over it. Even as an adult I felt like a child and that everyone knew better than me. Everyone knew how to do or handle things while I did not.
Slowly I learned to listen to my feelings and even to give them a name. Gradually I learned to feel my feelings and to express them in appropriate ways. I slowly built a link between my broken self and God and then to my whole and healed self. God is taking my shattered self and piecing it together into wholeness through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am learning how the atonement can and will heal me.
Today I am still not totally whole and healed. I am still working on myself and always will be. But, I can see that whole person now and most of the time I feel more whole than broken.
I am still working on patience. When I realized that happiness was a choice, not a product of the things that happened to me, I was ready to work the steps and change and be done yesterday! But this attitude brought a new kind of anxiety and stress into my life.
I wanted to heal and get rid of my defects and get on with being happy. But, I often make mistakes and fall back into my old ways of dealing with things and into my old defects. I found that I needed to be patient with myself. When I am anxious and worrying about my lack of progress, I am focusing on the destination rather than on the journey. The future is my focus and not the present. I miss the beauty and the gifts that today has to bring me.
Many positive changes are in my life now that I was not even aware of making. I now realize that I can be happy today, right now. I don’t have to wait to be happy until I reach an unknown destination sometime in the future. When I live in the present, live “one day at a time”, have patience with myself and am aware of all that is around me, my happiness increases. I notice today’s beauty and gifts all around me.
I grew up thinking I needed to be perfect. I don’t know where I got this idea and I don’t remember anyone telling me that I needed to be perfect. My self-esteem dropped whenever I did something “wrong”, or if I unintentionally did something that hurt someone else, or if I did not anticipate what someone else needed, etc. My mistakes showed me that I was not a very good person and I felt ashamed of myself. There were many things in my past that I did not want to think about because I was embarrassed about them.
Doing my fourth step of writing down everything in my past, good and bad, was really hard for me. I put it off for many months. But, I really wanted to progress, so I finally made myself write. It took me about 18 months to finish because there was a lot I was ashamed of. This exercise turned out to be a turning point in my life. I learned that I was not as bad as I had thought and that I am doing the best I can where I am and where I was. My shortcomings and defects are plentiful, but I also have strengths. I found that I like myself and I have learned to be more comfortable with myself.
Today, I still make many mistakes. But I am trying to remember “progress, not perfection”. I am human and mortal. Humans make mistakes and that is OK. Today I try to learn from my mistakes and then let them go.
“Resentments are premeditated expectations”. This saying helped me put my resentments in perspective. Resentment is me putting expectations on someone else. I have finally realized that I am in charge of my own resentments. My resentment is not someone else’s responsibility.
When I see that I have resentment towards someone, I can look to my expectations and readjust my thinking and beliefs. For example: I have a friend that is almost always late and never ready when I go to pick him up. Anger, anxiety and stress would start to take over. I realized that I was putting my own expectations on his behavior. I can tell my friend that I will pick him up earlier than I really need to and read a book or something while I wait for him to finish getting ready, or tell him that I will meet him at our destination.
When I work hard to make sure I am not putting expectations on someone else, I feel much less anxious and more relaxed. I can set standards for myself, but I have no right to set standards for someone else!