I used to think that I was a bad person because my loved one was not happy. I was continually trying to be perfect, but I failed over and over and my loved one would often get angry with me. If only I could do the “right” things then we would be happy. As I attended support group meetings, I realized that I am not a bad person, I am just human.
I think that we all do the best we can with where we are at each moment. Sometimes those around me hurt me and behave in negative ways. I often make mistakes! But I am not bad and neither are they.
If I can separate behaviors from people, I can live and interact from a more peaceful loving place. We all have values and beliefs that may or may not be based on truth. I am continually learning and replacing my values and beliefs. As I seek to be close to God, I will continue to learn and my values and beliefs will become nearer and nearer to the truth.
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.
I am human and make mistakes.
Being human is hard. I have always had trouble keeping my emotions under control. I cry easily – when I’m happy, sad, scared, worried, etc. This does not serve me very well. People did not understand and sometimes would misunderstand and think I was trying to manipulate them. I would also become very emotional when other people were emotional. This would sometimes lead to escalations.
I’m a very quiet person and when I get emotional I do not think very well and don’t know what to say. Conversation is very important, especially in relationships. Imagine trying to have a conversation about a subject that I felt very strongly about and my loved one thought something totally different. It was impossible and would either end up in an escalation or fight or I would go to bed crying and mad at myself for not being able to express myself. I also thought that if I agreed to something under duress, that I had to live with it.
Over time, I have learned to “detach with love”, meaning I can think more clearly and without crying during a conversation. I’ve also given myself permission to go back and amend something that I later regret saying or agreeing to. It’s OK to change my mind or my opinion. I’m still working on these things. Everyone is human and makes mistakes. I give myself permission to be human.