April 11

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 11: “Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest” ― William Faulkner

I had nothing but shame and remorse when I got here…all my bags were packed with that. Now I only am ashamed of my behavior when I do something that hurts someone or something. (I commune with Nature a lot, so am afraid of hurting an animal or tree, etc.) And I need to buffer this with harming them through my deliberate acts of selfishness or by being totally self-centered. I am not responsible for the hurt feelings of those who take my life or what I do personally. This has been a long road of learning for me, being raised by the guilt queen and her minions. I was taught to be a victim and take credit for way more than my share of stuff. The flip side of ego is guilt, belief that I am actually responsible for every feeling someone else has. Not true…you get to choose how you view my actions and words. If I know I have done or said something to intentionally cause pain for another, then I am going to feel ashamed. If you interpret my actions or words as having been the cause of your pain, I ain’t biting on that one. I am NOT responsible for the things you feel…good, bad or otherwise. So I do have occasion to be ashamed of my behavior or words, but nothing like what I came here with. I have been able to empty those bags and walk away from those people. There is a lot of credit I can take for how you are feeling about yourself today, but these things are all our own personal responsibility. And I do have occasions when I am totally wrong by saying or doing something, and willing to clean it up. When others have perceived my actions as being offensive, I have even been willing to make peace and let them know that I am willing to take responsibility for any wrongs I may have done. BUT, I am not going to take credit for your bad day or that something I did and said made you angry. That is not mine to deal with. I had a great deal of this kind of interaction in the recent past. It was a big power struggle and I do not want to participate, so I stepped out of the arena. I am happy to let others “win” in this situation. I will not play where there is only a stake in being right or wrong…no win there. So I will navigate interactions with others to the best of my ability and then walk away when it does not serve. My experience is that my time is very valuable and I do not want to spend a single moment of it with conflict of egos. Old behavior…so I close a door and move on into the next space that is made open. The Universe has provided me with open doors whenever one thing ends, another begins. I am really, really happy to say that I seldom look back and wish for different outcomes. I accept the changes that come from all kinds of places and move on. So I have little to feel ashamed about today…I know that we are all here, teaching each other what we need to know, and that the lessons can be learned and over as quickly as I allow them to be. I used to beat my head against failed relationships, no matter what they were, and it never helped anything or anyone. Sometimes we use our “recovery” as a weapon to beat people up. I want to be very clear about intentions and motives, since I see that they are often the cause of the actions wherein I feel ashamed. That is as honest as I can get today.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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