I used to feel very hurt if anyone gave me an angry look, spoke in a harsh tone, or didn’t speak at all. I’ve grown enough in Al-Anon to realize that the look, tone or mood of another person toward me often has nothing to do with me. It generally has more to do with what is going on inside the other person.
So why do my feelings still get hurt? It occurs to me that my extreme sensitivity is a form of conceit- I think I am the focus of everyone’s actions. Am I so important that everything that goes on around me must have something to do with me? I suspect that attitude reflects my vanity instead of reality. And vanity is simply a defect of character that I am working on changing.
With Al-Anon;s help, my sensitivity to all that happens around me has greatly lessened I try to ask myself, “How important is it? ” When I do carry the hurt, it only hurts and controls me.
Other people are important to me and sometimes their opinions matter, but I may be taking something personally that has nothing to do with me. Having opinions of my own about myself lets me accept other people’s thoughts without being controlled by them.
“It was through going to meetings and the daily readings of Al-Anon literature that I awakened to the fact that what other people did and said reflected on them; what I did and said reflected on me.” Living with Sobriety.
Reading from: Courage To Change, pg. 320
I often take a step outside of myself and look back not to beat myself up but to see how far I’ve come, to see what I’ve learned. Hurtful words that come from others will often tug at my heart strings now, but they don’t control my emotions and responses. I no longer react as often as I used to in favour of responding if that is necessary. Sometimes I just smile and walk away.
When someone is at a different point in their healing or on a path of recovery than we are, it often seems they are doing nothing productive. But we can’t see what goes on behind the scenes. This is true of all of us. There is always a behind the scenes except with ourselves. We and our Higher Power know what is truly going on with us. We have accountability to our HP and to ourselves.
I have found it extremely useful to utilize boundaries. It is something we all need. If we don’t have personal boundaries we allow ourselves to become a doormat of others emotions, outbursts or actions. Boundaries are not solid walls however. I have actually had a few people say that boundaries are controlling. I can see this to a point, however if the boundaries that we place if they are done with the intent of protecting ourselves from repeated abuse and as long as we have looked at our own responses, actions and intentions and made sure we haven’t needed to make amends then if controlling our own life affects another it is not done with the attempt at controlling them.
I have recently had to do this with a friend. I had told her at one time the boundary I have in regards to friendship and helping someone is that they are trying to be well, get well and follow a path of living that is positive and productive. Friends slip, boundaries are in place. I can not go into the quagmire in the attempt to help someone and get sucked in myself for I defeat the purpose of helping. I can shine a light or throw a rope. That is my boundary for me. She has her boundaries too and I can respect those and have. Hurtful attempts at humiliation were made and so I have limited access to prevent this for myself. Actions that are not congruent with words to me show part of what is going on behind the scenes. I have lived long enough and traveled this path long enough to know that maybe my boundaries will be beneficial to the other person down the road.
When we ask how important is it…when we Stop and Think…when we ask for wisdom in discernment from our Higher Power we can be sure that we are learning and growing…I can that this path leads to understanding of the last phrase…
“…I awakened to the fact that what other people did and said reflected on them; what I did and said reflected on me.”
Make it a blessed day all!