“What we love we shall grow to resemble.” — Bernard of Clairvaux
There comes a day when we realize that looking for external solutions to our problems just won’t work. How vain has been the time and energy spent looking for the perfect mate or partner, the perfect job, the perfect life. So instead, we start to search for internal solutions; we begin to change ourselves.
To change ourselves is a different process from controlling ourselves, which cannot be done. But when we start to give up the control, the rigidity, the perfectionism, the self-will, we begin to change. This change seems like a miracle because it is! It’s an incredible gift from the Universe, who loves us beyond our imagining. The more we change our focus from the external to the internal, the more we’re able to accept ourselves. We become humble with each small choice to accept ourselves as we are. We become whole as we let that choice be enough for today.
Are you living within yourself or outside of yourself today? To keep the focus within requires self-acceptance.
“There is no humiliation for humility.” — Joseph Roux
When I was young I can remember going to someone for help, only to be met by coldness. This happened often as I recall. The adults that participated in this horrible form of neglect were my parents, grandparents and even aunts and uncles. Compound this generalized lack of concern with friends mocking me when I tried to open to them. As if I even need one more of these emotional whammies, I can’t leave this one out: I was taken advantage of because I was sensitive and vulnerable. In short, I felt humiliated when I wanted to open up. So, what did I do? Well I resolved not to let myself be open and dependent. I closed myself off from others and became grandiose in my belief that I could go it alone.
Now, at this point in my life and personal growth, I am slowly learning to be humble. I have come to realize that nobody is an island, cut off from the world. I don’t know all the answers. I need the help of those who really do want to reach out to me.
It’s hard to be humble when I was so often humiliated, but I have to risk again reaching out to others; the rewards I have come to find out, are amazing! And it is wonderful to not be alone. I know that as an adult, I don’t have to keep on feeling humiliated. Being humble is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Now, I experience new power in my relationships with others.
“The readiness is all.” – William Shakespeare
Willingness is like faith. We know it’s real because we experience it, but we can’t define it. Nonetheless, the sense of humility, surrender, and peace that accompany willingness are our indicators that it is real, indeed.
A recovering addict who recently finished treatment told this story: “I was walking downtown and I got at least three offers to buy drugs and have sex. I said no. My willingness at that moment was to say no.”
We move forward often without knowing where we’re going. But in those rare, shining moments of willingness when we conform our will to the Universe’s, we see our direction clearly. And we are transformed.
“It is a true proverb, that if you live with a lame man, you will learn to halt.” — Plutarch
Working through the memories of childhood is a task each of us eventually faces. Addiction in a family system contributes to addiction along the way and affects our own individual addiction(s) and creates drama in life as adults.
I have realized that we can decide whether it’s important for us to know if and how addiction has operated in our families. We can gain that knowledge as we need it. But isn’t it enough simply knowing the addiction is real, that it’s present in family systems, and that we didn’t cause it? Knowing we didn’t cause it helps to stop blaming one’s self.
The important thing I have found is to focus on my own recovery. I cannot change a thing about my family or the past. But, I have found I can change my attitude toward them. When ever we feel caught up in the addiction or drama in a family members’s behavior, we can bring our attention back to ourselves. That way, resentment and fruitless anger yield to honesty and humility. Detaching from the things we cannot change, forgiving the harm done to us, and letting go of the past are important parts of our healing.