3-4-18 Difficult Choices

Difficult Choices

My addiction did not seem to offer me any choices except to continue to indulge in harmful behaviors and to continue bringing pain to myself and others in my life. My choices were selfish, small minded, and made in a state of confusion and isolation.
I did finally make the choice that I needed help in not continuing my path of destruction—the first healthy choice that I had made in a long time.
Now, I can choose to continue learning how to make healthy choices in my life if I really want to progress and grow. Or I may choose to be on a ME maintenance plan where I refuse to make the effort to be AWARE of what is influencing my choices, and continue being led by past behaviors that haven’t served me so well.

Even the strongest among us sometimes falls into doubts and critical self judgement. The good news is that this layer of self-doubt is malleable; we can work with it so that we can embrace self-confidence.

The key to making good choices is self–awareness. A practice of mindfulness meditation is the best way of really getting to know and understand ourselves.

To unmask our inner critic, we really listen to the voices in our heads telling us that other people are better than us, that we can’t risk failure, that we need another credential before trying something new. We realize that, in listening to those voices, we have taken on limiting beliefs. Knowing that makes it much easier to deal with those voices and let them go. They are actually just stories, and when we see them as such they no longer have a hold on us.

We also will realize when we are in a situation that isn’t a good fit; we have overstepped what we are able to handle and are in the wrong place. Everyone is different and has different capacities and abilities…finding our best fit will bring us joy. This is not the social message to always rise, succeed, and overcome. To make lots of money, to look right and be on top. Listen instead to the gentle voice in your heart that will guide you.

When we are honest with ourselves, we can relax and acknowledge that there are areas we don’t even wish to master, and can work with the areas that we are attracted to.

When we are in touch with our spiritual, whole, compassionate self, our choices will naturally include others in our hearts. Any choice that only considers ME is harmful. This inclusion of others in all considerations sounds wonderful and right…but how often do we only consider ourselves? We consider others and ourselves as one, since there is really no difference.

Too many options can make it difficult to make a decision. I can breathe and become aware of what feels healthy and what feels selfish. When I make the effort to feel what is happening, I am able to trust myself.

We will have difficult times. Sometimes it is just us being selfish and stupid. We are not getting what we want when we want it. There may be nothing truly wrong with our lives, but we are so used to feeling uneasy and not worthy, we make up problems so we can feel lousy. It’s a feeling we’re used to, and seems to give us a sense of self. A lousy sense of self, and one we’re willing to accept and promote.

Other times we can truly have a difficulty. It may be a relationship, or a job, or losing someone we love. We need to go through a grieving process sometimes, and that’s necessary and healthy.
We can’t feel “Yay! Wonderful!” all the time. The different parts of life bring different flavors and we need to taste them all. If we become overwhelmed by conditions in our lives, we need to have the strength to recognize that we are out of whack and need some help.

If we isolate and quit communicating with others, stop going to programs, and begin feeling sorry for ourselves, we are in trouble. We may revert to an addiction to mask what we’re feeling. We can use our emotions to inform us that we need to make changes – sometimes large ones. This is when we need to talk to our trusted friends, and to be patient and let our emotions inform us, not overwhelm us.

“Afflicting Emotions” by Thich Nhat Hanh (with some paraphrasing):

Recognition: If we are angry, resentful, afraid, we say, “I know that anger, resentment is in me. It is not who I am, it is an experience I am having.

Acceptance: We accept what is present, not as good or bad, but simply accept it.?Embracing: Our mindfulness embraces, as a sick child, our emotion, and it is calmed.

Compassion. ?Looking Deeply: when we are calm enough, we can look deeply to understand what has brought this emotion to be — what has caused it. Insight: By understanding the causes of our difficulties, we are able to change the situation if we choose to.

We invest our time wisely in HOW we need to make changes. And find the courage to step into a different way of living if we need to. Part of the joy of living is making sometimes difficult choices when we need to…not just trying to feel good when we really don’t. We can’t feel good by evading, only by engaging.

Emotional maturity is our ability to control our emotions and to recognize the things in life that we can and should change. And also to recognize those things we cannot change and steer clear of investing too much time in them. And to use our time and intelligence to make wise, sometimes difficult, choices.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart Of Recovery web site – fcheartofrecovery.com