August 25

COURAGE MONTH: DAY 25: “Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires….courage.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all have our critics. I know I hear what people say to each other sometimes and am astonished at how abusive most interaction between humans can be.

None of us knows the journey of a single other soul. It is horrible to beat others up in our attempts at controlling them. Like we know their path. We don’t. We don’t even know our own. So all that time is much better spent focused on our own soul, our own heart, where OUR journey is written. When we access that space, we realize the ridiculousness of telling others what to do.

If we want to continue to be victims and victimizers, letting others tell us what to do is the best way to keep the cycle going. It serves no purpose whatsoever and has no winners. There are millions of unhappy people walking the planet because they allow others to make all their choices for them and are miserable and angry. Then there are those who think they have the ability to advise us on every aspect of our lives, somehow giving themselves the status of “experts” on how to succeed or be just like them. I am not, nor are you, just like them. It ain’t gonna happen. So, they are unhappy also.

It takes a certain set of balls to stand up for yourself and make your own choices. In a healthy environment with the appropriate nurturing, we begin to do this at the age of two or three. We start making up our minds about the world around us and choosing what we will and won’t examine and learn about.

However, most of us come from dysfunction, so our choices always have to be “in your face” kinds of rebellion and go against the person who most powerfully tries to control us. When that control is from someone with whom we disagree, we are just reactionary, not really choosing the things we do. We react and do things to “show them” who we are, by God!

That kind of living is going to cause trouble in every area of our lives. Most addicts have been making those kinds of choices for a lifetime and wondering why they are so angry. And they also want to have power and mastery over others’ choices, which is another way of banging your head against the wall. We want it all to go OUR way, and life is not like that. This is the way of dysfunction and the deep unhappiness that makes drugs and alcohol so appealing…yeah…that makes it all go away.

Till it doesn’t. Then we have to learn how to let go of the dysfunction in our relationships with others. This is the tough part. And where the steps really come into play.

We don’t know that our only challenges are interacting with people. We begin to avoid them after a couple of years; and see the problems THEY cause us, but don’t learn to heal a great number of our issues with these folks.

All relationships are dysfunctional. There is only the balance point where we can live comfortably and happily with what exists with each one. And all of this, of course, requires the courage to look at our beliefs, and our behaviors, and our inventories of who we are and why we do what we do.

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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