“Each of us has a right to voice our opinions and ideas reasonably, without criticism or ridicule.” – Reaching for Personal Freedom
Sounds simple enough, right? But how well does it work when others want to express their ideas about me and my behavior? When they’re not particularly happy with me?
I recently did something without running it by someone close to me and they felt hurt. Whether I should have run it by them or not isn’t the point. Inadvertently, as a result of my behavior, regardless of whether I think I hurt them, they felt hurt. That’s the point. And our program teaches us what to do when we hurt others. We work step 9.
But the real growth comes from living amends. Learning what to do the next time. Or, perhaps more importantly, how to put myself in the best position possible to take the right action the next time.
In this situation I’d been traveling and not making my program, my daily deal, and my meetings, my number one priority. On top of that, I hadn’t been sleeping enough, and was really out of my element. Even my connection with my higher power wasn’t where it usually is. This will always put me in a very vulnerable state, usually resulting in me reacting from a place of fear rather than responding from a place of love.
So what happened when I was confronted? You can probably guess.
I became defensive, justifying my behavior, unable to respond to their their feelings I proceeded to attack them, listing off several of their shortcomings in an attempt to shift responsibility and ended the conversation with some random threat to our relationship. And you know what I told myself the whole time? I was doing this in the name of setting healthy boundaries, standing up for myself and letting them know I’m not to be judged, blamed, controlled or called out. Pretty healthy response right? I think not.
Now let’s consider how how I’d handle the situation if I were spiritually centered. This is what I aspire towards, and how I would reasonably respond to a situation like this if my own house is in order.
Coming out of faith (rather than fear), connected to my highest power, I would be able to respectfully listen to their concerns, without reacting in defensiveness, criticism, or judgement.
Next, when they were done speaking and asked me why I did what I did, I’d simply answer them as follows:
“Thanks for sharing your feelings with me. I need some time to think about it and reflect upon what you’ve said. I plan to do some writing and reason it out with my sponsor. Let’s chat tomorrow about this. Again, I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.”
This is called gracing the space, giving me some time to consider their feelings, so I can find my part and evolve into an even better version of myself.
How I respond or react is entirely dependent upon how spiritually connected I am at that moment. When I consistently and diligently put my program first, stay in the center of the lifeboat, write and send out my gratitude list, dance, sing, play guitar, smile, laugh, play, work, sleep, clean house, carry the message, meet my responsibilities, plug into my higher power, and get to my meetings, my relationships stay healthy, I respect both the person I’m becoming and the one I’m relating to and… ILML!