December 17

LOVE MONTH: DAY 17: “Even if you cannot change all the people around you, you can change the people you choose to be around. Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you. Spend your life with people who make you smile, laugh, and feel loved.”― Roy T. Bennett

Of course we cannot change others, so the idea that we can change people around us is as old as the hills. And as dysfunctional as it gets. People are consistently telling others around them how they can change. If they are not asking, don’t tell them. My personal (and professional) experience is this: People will figure out what changes to make when THEY are ready.

What I know I can change is my willingness to tolerate toxic behaviors and attitudes. I am not, so I walk away from others who exhibit these things. I am not willing to allow dishonesty or mean (fearful!) behaviors in my life. There are so many Ego-based behaviors in the environment of recovery that it is difficult to find real recovery in those persons. I stay away.

I learned a long time ago, from my family, who are great teachers! They showed me how to leave and let go of painful criticism, ill-informed opinions, and nasty gossip. It never felt respectful, appreciative or valuable of ME to be in this dynamic. How does one develop trust in a snake pit? You don’t! And so I learned to devalue and never trust myself. It is crazy making to be in that space!

And I was able, at a very young age, to walk away to save myself. And I did. I can do it anywhere now. I am so much happier without those kinds of people. And when I walk away from that, I open space for those who are healthier and truly love me in healthy ways.

For me, it is not scary or sad to be alone. It is far worse to be with people who are toxic and drag me down in my estimation of what kind of person I am. I can be God’s favorite kid, but I have to treat myself that way first.

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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