“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?” ~~Danielle LaPorte
“Just because love don’t look the way you think it should, don’t mean you don’t have it.” ~~Leslye Walton
“I will not try to convince you to love me, to respect me, to commit to me. I deserve better than that; I AM BETTER THAN THAT…. Goodbye.” ~~Steve Maraboli
#7 Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.
In our WFS Program booklet it states from our own Dee, “Love yourself, love others, free yourself from the fear of rejection and let that be the way to fill your heart, your soul, and your spirit.” Statement #7 in action offers an ever-widening portal for love to grow and even flourish in our New Lives. Sobriety and recovery is an act of love that begins with ourselves and radiates outward as we transform and thrive.
Before New Life, I tolerated and even excused painful behaviors from myself and from others. It eventually took a heavy toll, losing sight of any sense of self or authenticity creating a woman I no longer liked or even recognized. It was a painful way to exist, yet the solution lay within…love.
This 4C journey is an act of love, one that grows and evolves. Beginning with ourselves, we can widen our circle of love like ripples on the water. At the start of sobriety, each time we say NO to alcohol or drugs we say YES to ourselves. This is the center and most focused of ripples that sets another in motion and we learn that we do indeed have the ability to reduce negativity and manage our thoughts. Another ripple outward sees us creating and living our new view of ourself while the next has us directing our thoughts. Love continues to cascade outward in the next ripple where we work on our relationships and recognize priorities, grow emotionally/spiritually, and continue to take responsibility. The wonderful thing about these expanding ripples of love is that as they enlarge, they touch countless other ripples out there and make a difference, creating waves of love that are infinite.
Here are 13 ways to practice love:
- Learn who you are right now: You are beginning fresh this day, this week. What do you like, believe or value?
- Be present: Focus on the here and now. It is the only moment available. The past is gone and the present is in the future.
- What are your strengths? Write them down and continue to add to this list. You have skills and talents, acknowledge them.
- Release comparison: Observe yourself (not judge) with your own yardstick. It is not fair to you to compare to someone else. We are all different and have different experiences.
- Embrace your feelings: They are temporary and always changing. Even the uncomfortable is temporary.
- Set boundaries: Say NO when you feel you need to. Boundaries let others know that you deserve and expect respect.
- Embrace assertiveness: You matter. Stand up for yourself in small ways first. If you don’t, who will?
- Reserve time for just you: Your morning meditation time to read the Statements and/or journal is a great start to schedule yourself as a priority.
- Release the past and forgive yourself: Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend, including all the big stuff.
- Honesty: Be truthful with yourself and others. Building trust begins with honesty. Start with yourself.
- Carve out time for nature: Something magical happens when we can spend time outdoors. Get your hands muddy in the garden or walk without headphones.
- List your accomplishments no matter the size: Make the bed today? Finish a project? On the list it goes. Create a notebook of your efforts. Watch yourself grow!
- Get physical: Yoga, walking, weights, cycling? What moves you? Get your body moving, set a routine.
Hi 4C Women,
I love the analogy of ripples of love cascading from self-love to loving, caring friendships and relationships. Someone once told me that we touch more than one life when we share the WFS program. We touch the lives of each women that ripples out to their families, friends, co-workers, all their relationships! That is a powerful image of how important love and caring for ourselves and others can change the course of our world and theirs.
Here is a love challenge:
With a person you love/care about, (spouse, partner, sibling, child, friend, parent/grandparent, etc.) write down 5 things you love/value about them. You could even invite that person to share 5 things they love/value about you. Share your list with them.
Find a photo or write down a memory when you felt great affection for another. Write down how you felt at that moment. Spend time sharing about and reliving this experience with this person.
Reach out to someone who has been on your mind with either a phone call or card. There has been a lot of isolation this past year and it would be such a caring, loving act to let someone know you are thinking of them.
Practice active listening, showing you care about that person’s feelings and needs. It is amazing how doing this can be a teaching and learning experience for all.
Thanks to Karen for sharing my quote from the Program Booklet. I was so filled with the fear of rejection from past experiences that it was extremely challenging to accept and practice Statement #7. That fear built a very tall, strong wall. And while I did work through my fear of rejection, I sure wish I had Karen’s 13 ways to practice love back then. It would have made my transition a bit easier to say the least. I encourage each of you to hold on to the list and with practice and perseverance, love can change the course of your world and caring will become all important.
Please check the Meaningful May calendar that was in last Monday’s Thoughts. It is all about Statement #7. Lots of love and caring to share, Dee
In case you missed it, read the official WFS Strategic Plan announcement here. This was sent to our entire News & Announcements email list – if you didn’t receive it, please be sure to sign up for that email list at womenforsobriety.org/email