December 17

LOVE MONTH: DAY 17: “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” ― David Foster Wallace

This quote really messes with us codependents. We do not know what it means to give “of” ourselves, or to sacrifice (and what to sacrifice) for others in the name of love.

The concept is another of those really dysfunctional aspects of our social construct. When I sacrifice for anyone, it is time I set aside to be present to them. BUT, in cannot be time that is taken away from me in ways that are keeping me from being healthy. AND, it must not be that I am laying myself down at their feet in attempts to control and manipulate them. A very thin line indeed. If I lose myself, that is not a sacrifice I am making in the name of love. It is an attempt to guilt them into staying with me or whatever outcome I am reaching for. (all fear based, never done in love.)

We all know others who do things for us and then guilt the fuck out of us when the outcome is not what they expected. If my time with you does not set you free, then that is manipulation. If your time with me does not feel like I can walk away when time is right, then that, too, is  manipulation.

We see this often in recovery with sponsors and sponsees. I will tell you straight up what we are going to do in this relationship. Just as my sponsor and I have the same contract. If that is not what happens, then it is perfectly okay to walk away. There are no strings and no guilt. You get what you get, based on what you are willing (or not) to do.

Just as am I. This is true in my friendships also. I will love you, no matter what. I just won’t allow certain things to be a part of my personal life and take place in my personal circle. I already have enough dysfunctional family members to deal with. I won’t allow it in my home or in my personal circle. It isn’t that you are a bad or unlovely person. I will just love you on a different level.

This takes a strong amount of understanding, compassion and unconditional love for me, first. You are always going to be second.

I will give what I can, without taking anything away from myself. You will never get to step into first and primary place with me. And that is the greatest gift we can either give or receive. And, I believe the myriad petty little unsexy ways are those that give you the understanding of what healthy boundaries and unconditional love for Me shows You. Hooray for healthier ways to love.

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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