I am a perfectionist. I think this behavior is a result of growing up in an angry household. I tried hard not to do anything wrong so the focus would not be on me. When I make a mistake I do way too much negative self-talk.
In support meetings I watch people laugh at themselves for mistakes they make. I realize that I would have derided myself for that same mistake. I wonder how they can be so gentle with themselves. I envy their ability to casually put off the mistake and laugh about it.
“How important is it?” helped me to see the difference between mistakes that do not really matter and other problems that need more serious effort. Maybe mistakes are more about responsibility than judgment. I am learning to not judge myself and to be as gentle with myself as I am with others.
Sometimes change is hard.
It is so hard and sometimes very painful to talk to family members and let them know that I am no longer willing to continue to be around their negative influences or behaviors. It is especially hard when they deny their behavior. Sometimes I am afraid that I will have to leave or limit my contact with a loved one. Change is hard.
I am aware that I still want my loved ones to be different so I can be more comfortable. I know that this may or may not happen. Trying to fix others to suit me is fruitless and frustrating! I recognize that I can only control and change me. How others behave is up to them.
I don’t have to continue to act as if inappropriate behavior is acceptable. Maybe I will leave the room. Perhaps I can say something. I always have choices. I can find happiness, peace and a sense of personal power as I change myself to suit my needs even if I am the only one around me that changes.
Resentment colors all my relationships negatively.
I have been taught all my life how important it is to forgive others. I thought that I was doing this and perhaps in some cases I was. In support meetings I learned about resenting. Resentment and not forgiving are very close if not the same thing. I learned that holding bitterness for another only hurts me.
Although I did not know how to protect myself without resentment I was determined not to be a victim. I learned that hostility and bitterness maintain and preserve my pain. Resenting will color all my relationships in negative ways. As I learned I began to think about trying to let it go.
As I worked through steps 4-9 and prayed for help to let go of bitterness and to forgive others, my heart began to soften. Resentment hides and sometimes still comes up. It always surprises me, but now I know what to call it and how to let it go.
“Expectations are premeditated resentments” helps me to let go and not create so much bitterness in my life. When I see myself and others clearly I can love others but protect myself. I will not be a victim of the pain that resentment causes.
It is important to learn all I can, to read books on all kinds of subjects, because it helps me to see myself and others more clearly. The more I know myself and see clearly the more I can love and respect others.
The atonement not only allows me to be forgiven of my sins when I repent, but pays for and compensates for all sadness, pain and tears. I have agency and make choices good and bad. Sometimes I do not realize that I am causing others pain. The atonement covers that as well, for both of us.
Respect is essential! It is OK if others have different ideas than I have. It is never OK to get angry at someone because they do not think the same or do not know what I want or am thinking. No one else is responsible for my feelings. When something goes wrong I should not blame others. I can be loving and kind to those around me even if I have had a bad day or feel bad. I can show empathy by asking how someone else’s day went. When I give loving hellos and goodbyes to my loved ones they can feel my love. I can share my dreams and myself with my loved ones. I can listen to someone without interrupting or trying to think of a response, but instead really hear what they are saying. When others are happy I can be happy with them and celebrate with them their achievements. I can show interest in other people’s interests. I can respond to others, engage with others and be a good friend, especially in my family. It is not OK to ignore another person. It is not OK to divert a conversation to avoid discussing a problem.
Respect takes time and effort but earns respect back from healthy people. When I respect myself and others my self-esteem grows.
I often forget and fall back into old behaviors and habits. I call this “forgetting myself”.
Through support groups and the atonement of Jesus Christ, I know better ways. As I practice these better ways they become more a part of me. But, often my first reaction or inclination is my old behaviors. I’m learning not to berate myself, but to calmly stop, step back and think, and choose a better way. Then I am remembering myself.
Sometimes choosing a better way might mean I have to go to a loved one and tell them I’ve changed my mind. I used to think that if I said something I had to stick with it, but that does not support change. Giving myself permission to change my mind allows me to be true to my own goals and values. Changing takes time and I need to be patient with myself as I learn. I also need to be patient with others as they get used to my new ways of behaving.
When I remember the person I want to be I don’t forget myself or react with an angry temper. A quiet voice helps me remain calm and able to think. I can remember to not forget myself.