We all want to be appreciated; it feels good to be appreciated when we have done something nice for someone else. I go out of my way to appreciate others when they have done something nice or been kind to me. I love to compliment others when they have something pretty on or have beautiful eyes.
But, there is a problem when I obsessively look (outside) to others to love, accept and appreciate me. When that happens, I leave myself and lose myself because I want someone to fill the void, instead of me filling it with my own love, acceptance and appreciation. It’s been an interesting week to witness my “old behaviors rearing their ugly head.” Thankfully, I have the tools to come HOME to myself and take my power back.
We all have the power to depreciate or appreciate ourselves. The choice is ours. To depreciate means something has lost its value over the years. To appreciate means its value has increased and we recognize the quality, significance or magnitude of something. I am choosing to appreciate myself and recognize my value.
I shared with Larry, “I’m feeling stressed and I’m tired.” I know that moving is one of the top stressors, especially when combining households and letting go of things that are no longer useful to make room for Larry’s things. I’m also helping Larry get ready to move here and get rid of things he doesn’t need. On top of that, although I have truly enjoyed it, I have had friends staying at my home for the past few months. In addition, I have been preparing for a 4- day retreat which is the weekend before Larry moves in.
Although Larry was attentive and understanding when I shared my stress with him, I didn’t think he was really able to grasp the magnitude of my experience of stress. Perhaps I wanted sympathy, even though I said I wasn’t complaining, just acknowledging my feelings. I felt annoyed with him, which is an indication I am giving my power away. Deep down, I was looking to him to appreciate me and say, “You are doing such a great job and I would be stressed if I were you too.”
Looking to others, no matter how much they want to help or love us cannot and will not fill the “hole in our soul.” It will never be enough. They are not meant to fill us up, so no matter how hard they try, it is futile.
It is only God that can fill the “hole in our soul” because that is how we were created. What I have learned is that I need to give myself the love, acceptance and appreciation that I crave from others. Instead of looking to Larry to appreciate the magnitude of my stress, I needed to appreciate myself. It’s my appreciation that I crave, not the world’s.
When this awareness came to the light while I was praying, it felt like there was a shift inside of me and the stress lifted. I still had all same things to do, but I felt a new freedom inside. What I thought I needed from Larry, I gave to myself. This is what I did to re-focus and come HOME to myself.
- I wrote a list of 50 things that I appreciated about myself. What I appreciate, appreciate
- I listened to my son, Tim’s, visualization on loving, accepting and appreciating ourselves
- I focused on what was good and working in my life
- I increased my daily gratitude
- I forgave myself for giving my power away and leaving myself
- I focused on giving myself pleasure and having fun; i.e. swimming, walking, dancing, snorkeling
- I had a massage
- When I went to bed, I thought about all the things I appreciate about myself.
I depreciate my value and worth when I look to others for my value. I appreciate my value and worth when I give it to myself. Here are some things we do to depreciate ourselves on a daily basis. Which ones can you relate to?
- When we judge ourselves to be “not good enough” or strong enough
- When we say YES when we mean NO
- When we choose fear instead of love
- When we don’t speak our truth and live in integrity
- When we don’t allow ourselves to feel our feelings
- When we want to please others at the expense of ourselves
- When we don’t trust ourselves and our intuition
- When we beat up on ourselves and live from the “shoulds”
- When we try to control others
- When we procrastinate about making important decisions (or small ones)
- When we think we have all the answers and don’t listen to others
- When we don’t pray/meditate and depend on Spirit
- When we don’t take time for ourselves to enjoy life and use our gifts
- When we don’t live in the present moment and worry about the past or the future
- When we don’t know how to relax and just BE
- When we are unable or unwilling to forgive
- When we medicate our feelings through addictions i.e. alcohol, drugs, shopping, busyness, food, gambling, codependency
I am grateful for the daily lessons to grow and live my best life. We must be willing to go within and listen to our souls. We must be willing to change and do whatever we need to do to heal the “hole in our souls.” We have the POWER to change because the POWER is within us to live a magnificent life. I encourage you to live your life to the fullest, because you are worth it. We are not promised tomorrow.
Have you been affected by someone else’s drinking or drugging? Do you stay up at night worrying about someone you love? Are you frustrated that your efforts of trying to control haven’t worked?
What does Spirituality have to do with addiction? It has everything to do with it. Addiction is a family disease that affects the person abusing as well as family members. It is a Spiritual disease and the way to recover is through developing Spirituality. This disease has been likened to as having a “hole in the soul.”
Spirituality is the life of the spirit and an awareness of a presence sometimes alone in stillness and sometimes with others. It is a “connectedness” with self, others and a Power greater than yourself. That Power may be referred to as Higher Power, God, Source, Universe – whatever is comfortable for you. It’s important to understand Spirituality is not religion. Unfortunately, many people have been turned off by organized religion and think Spirituality is religion. You can be religious and not spiritual and spiritual and not religious
When someone is actively drinking or drugging, they are disconnected from themselves, from others and from their Source. They are lonely, scared and confused. Often their lives are out of control and they’ve lost family members, jobs, homes due to their addiction. It is devastating for the person who is addicted as well as for family members.
Family members often blame themselves, try to control their loved one and in the end lose themselves. Being involved with an addicted person for any length of time and trying to reason with them can be discouraging. Children suffer because they think that if the parent really loved them, they would stop using. Many have turned to Al-anon and Al-ateen to cope with this devastating and life threatening disease. In Al-anon you learn the three C’s. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.
The stress of living with someone who is addicted can have numerous effects:
Physical: You may develop health problems, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, upset stomach, colitis, or heart problems
Emotional: You may feel angry, resentful, irritable, lonely, guilty or depressed
Social: In relating to others, you may be withdrawn, aloof, isolated, embarrassed, aggressive, or controlling
Spiritual: Your outlook on life may become bitter, despairing, helpless, hopeless or lacking in faith
As family members, we learn we can’t “fix” the addicted person. We need to allow addicts the dignity to recover at their own pace. Learning to detach with love is a skill that must be learned and practiced on a daily basis.
Detachment is regaining your identity and taking responsibility for your own life – and admitting you cannot control the life of another person. Detaching does not mean that you stop caring. It means that you stop trying to control someone else. You need to focus on yourself and make changes in you.
Tips on how to develop Spirituality and live in peace
- Detach and stop enabling – the chemically dependent person must be responsible for their behavior. You can no longer step in and pick up the pieces. It’s important to stop lying, making excuses and covering up for the person’s actions.
- Accept – that changes you make may cause others to be angry and resentful. Expect that. Expect them to react to the healthy changes you are making.
- Do not threaten – Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.
- Focus on yourself and what you can change – Discover what you like to do and what gives you pleasure. Do little things for yourself each day that you enjoy; going for a walk, listening to music, starting a hobby, going out to lunch with a friend.
- “Show up” everyday and develop a spiritual practice of sitting down for 5 minutes and being quiet. Journal and meditating are wonderful tools to incorporate.
- Identify your feelings and share them with someone you trust.
- Practice an attitude of gratitude by focusing on what you do have, rather than what’s missing.
- Have faith that you have everything you need and you are in the presence of a loving presence and you are not alone.
- Change your thinking and your life will change.
- Join a recovery group.
- Work with a Spiritual Counselor/Coach
What is Spiritual Counseling/Coaching and how it can help you
The purpose of spiritual counseling/coaching is to assist you in finding God in the midst of life events, and to prayerfully support you during life changes. It is designed to inspire and awaken you to all possibilities of spiritual growth in your life. It is to help you focus on the solution as your build your conscious awareness of God’s presence and activity in your life. Spiritual counseling/coaching will help you meet life’s challenges from a new consciousness of connection with God.
For more information about Spiritual Coaching contact Pat @ 401-521-6783 or Pat@SimplyaWomanofFaith.com
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