Question: It never occurred to me that getting sober would come with huge fundamental questions about who I am and what are my responsibilities to everyone else! How do I determine what responsibilities are really mine and which are not?
Let’s simplify these issues. You have only one job and that is to find out who you are and then allow yourself to be that person fully. That’s it! Does that make you self-absorbed and egotistical? No, it makes you self-aware and responsible in a healthy way, both of which may seem unfamiliar and new to you.
In the beginning of your process, you may have a tendency to beat yourself up a bit when you start setting healthy boundaries because others are not getting what they want from you. The fact that you are suddenly honoring yourself is not what creates their pain. Their own projections and unmet expectations create pain for them and none of that has anything to do with you. Just respond to those who feel hurt from an I space and let them know you are not in a position to provide what they need. To your friend that always arrives thirty minutes late, that might sound like this, “ I am trying to respect myself more so I have decided that I can only wait for you twenty minutes beyond our appointed time. After that, I will have to leave.”
By honoring yourself right from the beginning, you will avoid all the attending resentment, anger and disappointment that comes from forcing yourself to do things you no longer want to do or be someone you no longer want to be. When you honor yourself, everyone wins because your relationships are more honest and authentic. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid the reality that others may feel pain simply because you choose to be who you are. An example may be that you are dead tired and your best friend needs you to sit up all night commiserating over her broken relationship. If you say you cannot be available right at that moment, she is going to feel pain and it is not your job to fix that. What you can do is set a time that is better for both of you during which you can give her what she needs. If you treat yourself as if your needs are important, worthy of being respected, most people will treat you that way as well and if they can’t…it’s not about you and it’s not your problem.
We all come here with only one assignment and that is to be fully who we are. We can get side tracked or delayed, but, sooner or later, we have to get back to this one basic assignment. If we don’t get to it, eventually we feel empty, dissatisfied with life and unfulfilled. Getting sober offers you an incredible space to begin a wondrous journey of discovery to yourself. Here’s a little something you can hang on your wall in case you need a reminder about what your responsibilities are or are not supposed to be.
It is never your responsibility to:
Give what you don’t want to give, for that is a violation of your own boundaries
Sacrifice your integrity to anyone for that grieves your spirit
Drain your strength for others because that discounts your own needs
Listen to unwise counsel for that ignores your inner wisdom
Maintain an unfair relationship because that devalues your worth
Be anyone other than who you are because that robs the world of your unique gift
Conform to unreasonable demands for that creates resentment
Be 100% perfect because we are all still works in process
Follow the crowd because there is no value in sameness
Please unpleasant people because that is self-induced abuse
Bear the burden of an other’s misbehavior because accepting
consequences are a precious part of each person’s own path
Feel guilty for your own inner desires for those are Divinely inspired
Endure your own negative thoughts because that is a refusal to heal
Meekly let life pass you by for that is a waste of your choice to be born.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008
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