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Friday, July 7, 2017
Strengthening My Recovery - July 7th

People-Pleasing

"By transforming our people pleasing manner, we do not stop caring about others. However, we stop going over the line to ensure that we are never abandoned." BRB p.112

As children, we looked to others, such as our parents or teachers for approval.  Doing so, often kept us safe.  Over time, this practice taught us to abandon our own sense of worth in favor of someone else's external measure of our value.  Without others' approval, we felt like failures.

Through ACA, we learn to listen to our own inner loving parent's voice, no longer needing to rely on others to give us a sense of ourselves.  We learn to be true to ourselves, acting in ways that are aligned with our core values, beliefs and feelings that are becoming part of us.  We seek noone's approval, but our own. 

We sometimes find that our new actions may cause conflict with others.  But with confidence in our new inner compass and no longer fearing abandonment, we hold fast to our beliefs, speak our truths, and strengthen our sense of self.  We no longer need external forces to justify our existence.  

On this day, I will listen to my inner loving parent and know that it is all the approval I need for my thoughts and actions. 

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Wow!  So far, ACOA/ACA fits me like a glove.  It fits me despite me knowing that my family had an addictive family dynamic.

And despite realizing that the dynamic it had was one of shame.  I think I can say this and still remember and be grateful for the many positive dynamics in my family home.  It was a family home filled with laughter, in some ways being allowed to be a kid, involved "loving" parents, and shame, judgement and scapegoating.

So, interesting.  Anyways.  A lot of this passage spoke to me and challenged me.  This is not a way of talking that I am familiar with.

1) My people pleasing is related to a fear of being abandoned.  I'm not used to thinking of it this way.  This is probably why the stakes feel so high for someone to like me or not. And when they don't.......... why it feels so uncomfortable.  My "inner child" (the verbage is new, but I'm going with it) is saying, "If this person doesn't like me, I'm going to be abandoned and in danger."  I guess........(again this is new and uncomfortable), my inner loving parent can say, "If this person doesn't like you, it doesn't change a thing.  You live your life based on what's important to you.  Trust your intuition.  And you know that what is important to you is worthy and who you want to be.  Her liking you doesn't change that.  And there will be no danger if she doesn't like you.  Most importantly, your father in heaven likes and loves you.  You just keep being you."  Then my inner loving parent will hug me and give me a kiss.

By the way, I'm  having to breathe through that last part.  It's apparently difficult to "hear" this kind of loving talk towards myself.  It's eliciting an emotional reaction, I just can't identify what exactly it is.  And that's ok.  Maybe release of responsibility or facade.  Allowance to be myself???

2) Without other's approvals, we felt like failures.  This was not too much of a problem, during my first two decades.  Mainly because I had a lot of approval.  Now that things are not as universally approved of, I am having trouble being vulnerable and self loving.

3) Acting in ways that align with our core beliefs.  I feel like this makes all the difference in the world.  I am able to do things that are against popular opinion with my kids because I believe strongly that it how I want to raise them.  I sometimes still struggle, but that core belief helps me withstand my doubts or disapproval or let them just slip off.  I think I need to reevaluate my core beliefs explicitly.  Some of my old beliefs are at odds with how I'm living now.  One big belief was that I could power through any problem.  My new belief is that this is unhealthy and not a good way to live life.  I have spent so much time analyzing what I feel strongly about regarding child rearing, but not so much what I feel strongly about regarding how I approach conflict and life problems.

4) Inner loving parent - My first thought was................. I'm not sure if I have one of those.  I'm curious if there is a formula for it in the program.  I don't think I need the formula.  I do believe I'm blessed with kind words for others.  Giving that to myself right now, was novel and emotional.  That was not something I heard growing up.

It actually reminds me of a time with my 5th grade teacher.  I received an A- on an oral report.  Perfectionist that I was, I was extremely upset.  I was taking a long time to pack up my stuff to go outside and she could see I was upset.  She gave me some kind words and a hug and I just couldn't stop myself from crying.  The kindness elicited the tears.  And I cried and cried.  And I wished she hadn't hugged me because it was uncomfortable and a couple friends saw.

Mmmmm.  I think this work is going to be interesting.....

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