“Until today you may not have been aware of how unkind, unsupportive, impatient, critical, angry, frustrated and rough you can be with yourself. Just for today be aware of how you treat yourself.” — Until Today, March 8th
Ask yourself this. If you knew you’d live 30 more years, and decided that you were going to really love life to its fullest and be super happy, but also knew that you would never have an intimate, loving relationship with another person, how would you do it?
In other words, if the ability to use a relationship to make you feel fulfilled, loved and happy was removed from the picture, how would you live life to the fullest and be happy?
This exercise allows you to live the life of your dreams without needing another person to make it happen.
Once you’ve figured out how to do this, the relationships that are unhealthy will begin to fall away, making room for those that will, emotionally, be much healthier for you.
Please don’t see this exercise as an opportunity to punish or beat yourself up, to be the victim, or to deprive yourself. Rather, see it as an opportunity to get out of this idea that we NEED a someone else to love us in order to be happy.
It’s totally reasonable to desire loving people in our life and to enjoy those relationships. But when we stop NEEDING that to be fulfilled, we cease to become dependent on having or keeping a relationship in order to be happy. I can’t ever expect to love my life “no matter what”, if it DOES matter what. If I NEED to have —— , or NEED to do ——, or NEED to earn ——, or NEED to feel —— to be happy, I’m missing out on being happy right now!
I’ve mastered the ability to shift my thoughts to produce the feelings I want. This ability was really important to me because I want to feel good, and to do so, now all I have to do is think “good” thoughts.
Do thoughts that make me uncomfortable pop into my head? All the time!
The difference between me and those that aren’t loving life or are dependent on something happening to love life, is that they allow those thoughts that make them feel uncomfortable to hang out for a lot longer. It’s a simple math equation: the shorter amount of time that you allow yourself to think about things that are upsetting, the more time you’ll have each day to feel great!
In other words, the longer we allow our negative thoughts to percolate, the less we love life.
There are lots of reasons people allow this:
They may like being intellectual.
They may have a victim mentality.
They may like the attention they get when they tell others about their pain.
They may not know how to stop.
They may be too lazy to take the actions required to shift their thoughts.
They may not feel they deserve to be happy and love life. Their may be some shame.
They may feel that ruminating, contemplating, investigating, and searching for ways to fix the problem will eventually allow them to uber one it and one day be happy again (I get this answer a lot).
They may be using (alcohol, drugs, women, gambling, work, caretaking, etc) to take away the pain and obscure their feelings.
Of course there are many more reasons. But I came to this understanding about myself at 20 years sober, in 2002, when I really dove into the program, treated it like an educational class, and came up with a system of recovery that works really well for me.
And as a result of practicing it diligently, ILML!