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 / awareness meditation is the best way of really getting to know and understand ourselves. We see our thoughts and emotions arise, dwell with us for a little while, and then leave. They are not the Truth, just thoughts that we don’t need to be captured by.

My addiction did not seem to offer me any choices except to continue indulging 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 to ask for help in not continuing on my path of destruction—the  first healthy choice 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 well.

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 be aware of and feel what is happening, I am able to trust myself.

We will have times when difficult or challenging things occur (though we label times “difficult” or “good” depending on what we have decided is good or bad). A “difficult” time is often necessary in order to encourage us to challenge our mindset and to change a situation that is wrong. Sometimes, a “difficult” time is just us acting selfish and stupid. We aren’t getting what we want when we want it. We have some scenario fixed solidly in our mind, and if it doesn’t happen the way we want it to, we decide it’s “wrong.” There may be nothing truly wrong with our lives, but we’re so used to feeling uneasy and not worthy, judging others and blaming them, that we make up problems so we can feel lousy. It’s a feeling we’re used to, and it seems to give us a sense of self. 

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 this 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.

At 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, hold resentments, or live in fear and wonder why we’re unhappy and what’s wrong with other people.  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.  We can use our power of choice to engage, to use the tools we’ve been given.

We need to have an awareness of when we are judging something as “good” or “bad” based only on our personal wants, andinstead have the discipline to be brave and choose wisely. To hear the voice that is beyond judgement and blame. To not promote an entitled, isolated Self which can never be satisfied, but instead to feel our true connection with and compassion for others. It is not courageous to act out in angry outbursts or to nurture feelings of resentment; it is only us giving in to the negative emotions which hold us hostage and which have made a prisoner of our true, compassionate self. It is courage when we Choose to be considered and fair to all parties.

We also will realize that, when we’re in a situation that isn’t a good fit, we may 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 cool and be on top. Rather, it is an urging to listen to the gentle voice in our heart that will guide us. 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 we are attracted to.

When we are in touch with our spiritual, whole, compassionate selves, our choices will naturally include others. Any choice that only considers “ME” is harmful. We can consider others and ourselves as one, since there is really no difference. 

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