Endigar 771

From Courage to Change of February 08;

I like people, and at one time I wanted everyone to be my friend. With the best of intentions, I tried to encourage friendships with certain individuals, although my attempts were repeatedly, discreetly rebuffed.

I was comforted by the words I heard at the close of each Al-Anon meeting: “. . . though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way — the same way we already love you.” It was an important lesson that, while I can’t have everyone’s friendship, I can offer and receive respect, support, and understanding. Patience and humility soothed my wounded pride.

Today’s Reminder

It is unrealistic to expect everyone to like me. With such an expectation, I set myself up to fail and give myself an excuse to blame that failure on others. I can’t change other people, but I can change my own attitudes. I can let go of my rules about how others should feel about me. When I am disappointed in another’s response, I can make an extra effort to be kind, warm, and loving to myself. I am lovable just the way I am.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

END OF QUOTE—————————————-

I remember when I was quite the small one sitting in a church. I sat painfully still and heard a preacher say that human beings are naturally selfish at the expense of others. That was part of our fallen nature. He mocked the self-help movements of the time that sought to restore hearts by teaching them to love themselves. For the religion locked in my memory this was heading in the wrong direction. Selfless service and piety forged from self-castigation was the tried, proven path of the holy ones. Religion was always good to point out the primary three enemies of the soul: the Flesh, the World, and Satan. My friends in the fight of faith were identified as the opposing trinity of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was a simple time of learned irrelevance.

I find a lot of useful truth in the fissures between the warring factions of humanity.

  1. Communication is a fragile thing. English has bundle words (single words stuffed full of potential meaning, sometimes conflicting ideas) that make it difficult to discuss the abstractions of spiritual ideas in my native tongue.
  2. Paradox, analogy and specific examples help dismantle the misleading simplicity of bundle words.
  3. Self and selfish are bundle words.

There is a beneficial, necessary Selfishness and there is a destructive, isolating selfishness and it is this latter form that is spoken of on page 62 of the Big Book when it says, “…we must be rid of this selfishness. We must or it kills us!” It does not say we must be rid of selfishness. It says we must be rid of THIS selfishness. What kind of selfishness? The kind that was dismantled from the English bundle with specific analogies on the previous pages. The isolating, manipulative, controlling selfishness that is the manifestation of a lifetime of fear. This will kill me.

In Al-Anon, there is a shifted focus to the good kind of Selfishness. It was present in my AA program as well, causing me to seek and accept help because I wanted to live. It kept me coming back in spite of my wounded pride. I wanted to be free to love again. For me. For the higher version of Me. My counselor says this is better termed as self-care, but in these rooms of recovery it is an aggressive form of self-care. Self-care dances through the tulips. My form of self-care wears leather and armor and tramples pretty for powerful. It has the bite of selfishness but in the direction of raging life and aggressive love. It is the Selfishness of the program that I need to walk through the door and stay until I see the transformative magic of the rooms. For me, this is indeed a Selfish program and it is not a selfish program.

If I do not love Me until I get the validation of others, my attempts at friendship will become manipulative and boomerang against Me. I will not only expect but need everyone to like me. I want everyone’s permission to love my life. It then becomes inevitable that I will fall into the trap of unrealistic expectations. My relationship with GOMU (God of my understanding) and my relationship with myself are intimately intertwined. The development in one requires the development in the other.

This is the way it is for me. I hope something shared here is useful for those who read.


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