Sometimes, I spend a long time looking for the right word to describe what I am thinking. Sometimes, the word eventually falls right into my lap!
As I look back over the years I spent trying to live live caught up in the world of codepency, I see how I spent a lot of time trying to control: people, time, events — pretty much everything. I had a vision of what was right, and I just knew that everyone and everything would be better if they would just understand and do it my way. I wasted a lot of energy coercing and cajoling, worrying and planning, stressing myself out over every little detail and preparing for everything that could go wrong.
Looking back on those years as I move further into recovery is like remembering a nightmare after waking up in the morning.
Yes, life can be scary and out of control. There are big things happening that I would love to change that I can’t. People let me down. People are mean. People are living in a whirlwind of self-defeating behaviors. Whether I like it or not, all of that is beyond my abilities to control.
So, what do I do?
I STOP RESISTING!
What if it’s ok that someone let me down? What if my kid doesn’t use their full potential? What if an earthquake happens in my city? (I live on a recognized fault line.) What if that person at work really is spreading vicious rumors about me?
If I stop resisting, it doesn’t mean that I stop recognizing that things are painful and scary. It doesn’t mean that I stop planning. It doesn’t mean that I pretend everything is fine when it isn’t.
To stop resisting, I simply stop assigning negative emotions (irritation, anger, frustration, etc.) to things beyond my control. I stop taking ownership and stop trying to fix things that aren’t my responsibility.
Instead, I try to look at what I should reasonably do:
- An earthquake in my area is a real possiblity. Since I have no control over how or when the earth will shift, I let that go. Instead, I look at emergency preparedness and food storage, and I might even look on the internet or contact a professional about reasonable improvements that could be made to my home to made it more durable. Then, I go on enjoying life.
- Even if I were to get into an angry confrontation with a co-worker, there is little likelihood that the rumor-spreading would stop. In fact, getting into an argument would probably fuel the fire. Instead, I concentrate on being me — acting the same way I would act if I didn’t suspect that ugly gossip was flying. I let people get to know the real me. And, should someone come to me with a “she said” tidbit, I simply thank them and suggest they keep some records so that if they ever become really uncomfortable with the situation, that can take it to the next person up the chain of command.
- I found that openly communicating with my children at a level they understand workd much better than angry demands. If they don’t reach the potential and take the path in life that I always dreamed they would, then I look at who they are now. Are they happy? Are they good people? Are they making their corner of the world and the people in it a little better? Isn’t that all I really wanted for them when I started dreaming about their futures, anyway?
So, stop resisting! It takes practice, and it’s hard work to begin, but it is so worth the payoff of dropping stress in life!