When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio—pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm—happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, excitement.
It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.
We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less-joyous terrain.
It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.
We can let ourselves feel good.
Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.
Gratitude feeds on itself. It breeds acceptance. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
Gratitude Focus: We can keep saying thank you, even when we don’t mean it. Pretty soon we won’t have to fake it anymore. It will become a natural heartfelt act.
I wandered into the bookstore in a small Southern California town, browsed for a while, then began chatting with the clerk. “Times are different now,” I said. “Changing fast. Turning into something so new, so different many of us can’t imagine.”
“Yes,” she replied quietly and prophetically. “Things are going to be easier. Unless there’s something you’re still hanging on to.”
Is there something you’re still hanging on to? A remnant from the past that’s blocking you from stepping into the future? From stepping into today?
Look into your heart. The answer is there. Perhaps it’s a behavior, a person, a belief. Is there an issue from the past that’s blocking your ability to love yourself, to connect with God, life, others? Ask yourself if there’s something you’re hanging on to that has outworn its purpose. Old chains can tie us to the past, to past pain, to a path we’ve already trodden, a place we’ve already been.
Now is the time to let go. Gently, quietly, let go. Allow yourself a few looks back and as many tears as needed. Where you’ve been has been important. It has helped shape who you are. But have faith that where you’re going is important and wonderful, too.
Gently let go. Be free to step
into your future of joy.
If you keep pushing the same button, you will get the same results. If you don’t like the same results, maybe you could try pushing a different button.
“I try and I try and I try. Nothing seems to change. I don’t know why he can’t try to please me a little more; I’ve done so much for him.” “The people at work just don’t appreciate my efforts after all that I’ve done.”
If you find yourself reacting to the same situations with the same responses over and over again, waiting for a change, stop! If you’ve been pushing the same button again and again, maybe the only result you’re going to get is the one that’s been taking place.
Look at your relationships. Is there a situation that has been moving steadily downhill despite your best efforts to push the right button? Do you find yourself responding to the same situations in the same way over and over, never satisfied with the results? Are you trying the same thing over and over, waiting for something outside of yourself to change instead of doing something differently yourself? Maybe it’s time to stop pushing the button, walk away, and do something else.
God, give me the clarity to see the situations in my life honestly and to act with wisdom and responsibility in the associations that I have.
We have been doing the wrong things for the right reasons.
Caretaking: the act of taking responsibility for other people while neglecting responsibility for ourselves. When we instinctively feel responsible for the feelings, thoughts, choices, problems, comfort, and destiny of others, we are caretakers. We may believe, at an unconscious level, that others are responsible for our happiness, just as we’re responsible for theirs.
It’s a worthy goal to be a considerate, loving, nurturing person. But caretaking is neglecting ourselves to the point of feeling victimized. Caretaking involves caring for others in ways that hamper them in learning to take responsibility for themselves.
Caretaking doesn’t work. It hurts other people; it hurts us. People get angry. They feel hurt, used, and victimized. So do we.
The kindest and most generous behavior we can choose is taking responsibility for ourselves—for what we think, feel, want, and need. The most beneficial act we can perform is to be true to ourselves, and let others take responsibility for themselves.
Today, I will pay attention to my actual responsibilities to myself. I will let others do the same. If I am in doubt about what my actual responsibilities are, I will take an inventory.
Gratitude isn’t a tool to manipulate the universe or God. It’s a way to acknowledge our faith that everything happens for a reason even if we don’t know what that reason is.
Action: Just say thanks for everything. Make a gratitude box. On slips of paper, write about everything you consider a blessing and everything you feel miserable about. Then regularly take the slips out and thank God for what’s on that slip. Or hold the whole box in your hands and be grateful for all of it, all at once.
The sign hangs on the wall of a bagel shop: “Don’t forget to be happy.”
Sometimes we get so bogged down in dealing with feelings, issues, problems—the realities and details of our lives—we forget to be happy. Often happiness can be ours if we just remember to be happy.
Joy is a choice—a deliberate, conscious choice. That choice is available to us each day. Our joy isn’t controlled by others or by outward circumstances. Joy comes from a deeper place, a place of security within ourselves. It’s an attitude, not a transitory emotion.
Remember to be kind. Remember to be loving. Remember
to feel all your feelings and to take care of
yourself. But most of all, remember to be happy.