Being Selfish is the path to Grace?

Being Selfish is the path to Grace?

Courage To Change — March 30, 2019

I have to say, this day’s reading was a little hard to wrap my head around. Then my ego stepped aside and I realized that it was me. I keep doing the things that I think other’s want of me, trying to be self-less and put others first, but I end up carrying so much resentment, so much indignation, so much CRAP, that it was (still is) poisoning me. So today’s reading kinda kicked me in the teeth.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

So onward to Today’s Reading

When I heard that Al-Anon was a program in which we learn to keep the focus on ourselves, I wondered what others would think of me if I acted on that principle? Surely they would think me inconsiderate, thoughtless, and uncaring. Those were my complaints about the alcoholics in my life! I didn’t want to be that way. Instead, I tried to do things for others that seemed loving and generous, even when I didn’t want to do them. I couldn’t understand why I so often grew resentful after such actions.

My efforts to be selfless by trying to please everyone but myself weren’t’ working. The focus was on their response rather than on what seemed right for me to do. There was nothing unconditional about this kind of giving. My sponsor helped me to see that if I paid more attention to myself and to doing what I thought was best, I would be free to give without strings attached. Then I could truly be generous.

Today’s reminder

The Al-Anon Program works when I keep the focus on myself, attend lots of Al-Anon meetings, and make recovery my top priority. As I become more fully myselfI am beet able to treat others with love and respect.

“We are best able to help others when we ourselves have learned the way to achieve serenity.”

From: The Twelve Steps and Traditions

Alleged Insight:

Well damn. It’s been a day already. If you haven’t caught it, this day of mine is actually yesterday. I am typing this out at about five am local time. After yesterday’s emotional minefield and roller coaster of a day, I woke this morning with enough jittery twitchy energy that typing is a challenge in itself.

But back to topic. I am a caretaker. Classic Al-Anon Enabler Type A. I make coffee almost every single morning so that my wife will have coffee to hand. Even if I am not up to making coffee or up to standing and breathing at the same time, I drag my ass outta wherever I ended up sleeping, (I’ve a house full of kids that don’t sleep through the night) I rarely get the luxury of sleeping in my own bed. In classic father mode, I get up, plug away at the things that need done, do everything for everybody, and resent the hell out of most of it.

A repetitive mantra of mine lately is ‘what about me? why am I the only one who….’

Now, I make no claim to the accuracy of these thoughts, often my internal thoughts don’t reflect the true situation. Most often I am wandering around telling myself I’m not loved, nobody notices me, nobody appreciates me. In reality I have a passel of kids who do love me. My mother and brother are still alive and care. My wife suffers through my crap. I have people who do care. I’m just being selfish, being a martyr.

But in being selfish, I’m not being the right kind of selfish I guess (at least that’s the simplest way I can make it make sense). See, being selfish and resentful is stupid. I hold all this in, and operate with the expectation that others will do the same for me, while in fact it’s all my choice to do what I do.

Today’s reading isn’t about demanding other’s attend to my needs, it’s about taking care of myself and my needs, rather than shelving my own existence in favor of everybody else’s needs.

See, ages ago I had friends I talked to. They’ve since drifted away from me, because I shelved them. I used to run and lift weights as exercise, but can’t seem to find the time anymore because I’m too busy working my ass off to earn $$ and to get the laundry folded while they’re sleeping… (no, that’s not all, just an example). I used to have fun. I used to …. whatever.

I put myself on a shelf, and unselfishly put everybody else’s needs before mine. Then I began to resent the hell out of everything.

Typing this, all I can think of is “Well, that was stupid. How are your kids going to learn to be the best version of themselves if they see you being this horrible manifestation of obligation and guilt?”

Closing thoughts:

I guess it’s time to re-write the play book for this game. See, all of us, everyone one of us, grew up with a set of templates, a pattern or program or whatever, about what life is, how to fit into it and what to do in response to a given set of stimuli. My patterns are often toxic. BUT there’s good news, just like the hockey team that’s down by six going into the third period, you can toss the playbook and start a new one. You can redefine the plays, the interactions, the very surface of the game (or life) if you’re up to it. Or start small, one moment, one choice and change at a time. Make the coffee in the morning not for her, but because you want a good coffee, and then, out of love, pour her a cup and share it (if you want to).


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