Because we have recovery in our home, we get to practice clarifying, for ourselves and each other, the difference between unpleasant facts and problems. Before recovery, I believed if something was unpleasant, it was a problem and I must work on it–to change it and make it be different or at the very least punish and demonstrate my discontent. So, that was fun, living that way. Now, with a program to reparent me, I have learned that actual problems have solutions. Unpleasant facts do not—people, places, things, circumstances not to my own design and specifications are to be handled with only acceptance because they are what they are. Acceptance, for me, is the practice of allowing things to be, not a feeling that I like or condone it, but that I may be disturbed and still choose to act right, anyway. I accept the reality of ITs existence and my powerlessness to make it be different from how it is.
Problems have solutions. No solution–no problem. Sometimes it is clear which actions are called for. But, until it is clear, I get to be still mentally (keep my mind and mitts off!) and once there is recognizable prudent action, toward solution or resolution, only then may I act. When my heart is racing, that is not the time to do or decide anything. That is the time to stop doing and saying all of the things I naturally say and do. Racing heart tells me that I am in fear and I am being reactive. Now I understand that I must do nothing out of fear, shame, or guilt…previously, my only motivators. They are not good guides.
Lately, in our home, we have been discussing bullying…trying to clarify the distinction between things which we must accept and those for which more than acceptance is required of us. See, for example jerks are people who just don’t give AF about anyone but themselves. They may not necessarily be jerks AT us— and being a jerk is not a crime or a problem, just upsetting…so we must accept. A bully, however, is concerned with what certain others think and feel. Bullies thrive on doing things to make others feel impressed(awkwardly trying to elevate the already elevated) or diminishing those already diminished–a need to PUT PEOPLE IN THEIR PLACE. They are intentional in what they say and do and have a desired affect in mind, where the jerk just does NOT effing care. Bullies are a problem to be dealt with. Currently, we are in the stages of defining what is and is not bullying and harassing. We will neither do it nor stand for it. The word bullying seems to have gotten pigeon-holed into easily observable behaviors, but it is much more subtle than physically or verbally going after someone directly. There are many indirect ways to attack, dehumanize & do damage and then be all: “what???, i didn’t touch him or I didn’t say anything to him”. We are onto that! We see YOU. We object!
We had a family meeting this week, all of us, Dad, boys, and me. That is a amaaaaazing. We agreed that kindness and loyalty are our family rule. Violation will have consequences. We do not get to choose our feelings. But we can always choose our behavior and our intentions. Our intentions are to look out for each other, first. Always. Period. The irony of this convo involving their father is not lost on any of us. Let’s see if we can each practice what we preach. The boys were first nervous about this family meeting and then clearly felt good about having mom and dad working as a team for them. Just for today, we are working together. Another miracle for which to be grateful.
And– this time of unity feels tricky, because I tend to fall into the thinking of –this is the new forever—either when he is being harmful to me or decent to me. I honestly never know why things get better or worse, I just see that they do and that it is not ever my job to tell him about himself or to try too hard to make things be different. We are divorced—irreconcilable differences 100%. Hard times happen…when I see my part, I make it right. When it is not about me, I have to let it be…and that is difficult. I am easily obsessed with things that frighten, confuse, or sadden me.
All this to say that–All unpleasant things fall into one of two categories, problem Or unpleasant fact. I find this to be helpful and wanted to share. Because also, I used to think when IT(life) is difficult, it is a result and proof of of being wrong or doing it wrong…but life is just fucken hard. Right? And it is easier to live life when we are not trying to change things we can not. I think it is called minding our own business–not in the hostile and unwholesome directive to “mind your own beeswax” way-but simply tending(trying to manage and control) ONLY to what is ours, and leaving the rest be.
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