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“Relationships with negative people are simply tedious encounters with porcupines. You don’t have the remote knowledge how to be close to them without quills being shot in your direction.”
Shannon L. Alder
“Your thoughts become your desires; your desires lead to your actions; your actions change your life.”
“Change your attitude and you change your life. You cannot control what happens to you in your life, but you can always control how you respond to it. The way you choose to respond is a reflection of your attitude. By changing your attitude, you also change your perspective and change your life.”
#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
What does it feel like to be around someone who is constantly negative? Does it feel light and airy? Do you want to spend more time with them or do you feel drained, knowing those sharp porcupine quills are heading in your direction? Take a moment to reflect on the energy you bring into a room, into a relationship, into an experience. Is there anything that you need to let go of? Statement #2 in action helps to identify, manage, and release negativity.
In our WFS Program booklet, it states “Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming. Negative thoughts can destroy us in many ways. An important aspect of negative thoughts is that such thoughts often precede using or drinking. A state of ‘what’s the use?’ or ‘who cares?’ can initiate an attempt to escape from reality.” Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. knew how important it was to reduce negativity and created this Statement to follow directly after taking charge of our lives.
This week, pay attention to your thoughts. Jot some down in a journal or list a few with bullet points. Do you see any patterns arising? Are you able to embrace how far you have come already? What kind of energy do you bring when you walk in the door? Can you find the value or lesson within a negative situation? How does it feel looking within yourself? At the end of the week, save what you’ve learned and check back often to review. Maybe you have overcome something you thought would never leave. Receive your accomplishments and stay on the lookout for those pesky quills!
Dear 4C Women,
Dr. Phil has asked many times on his show, “how much fun are you to be around?” Before recovery, I would say not much unless I was under the influence. I thought I was a lot of fun then. The first time I experienced fun sober, I was completely taken by surprise. It was one of those aha moments filled with hope and the possibility for authentic joy in the future – as a sober woman! It dawned upon me that I had such negative self-talk, negative feelings about who I was, and just feeling empty and sad especially when I was alone and letting the wall of pretense down. From my life experience, I understand negative thoughts and negative patterns. Sometimes when I reflect on my childhood, I wonder if some of my experiences led me to be fearful of fully expressing myself. I recall one time when I was around 12 and expressed anger. My mom and sister burst out laughing because I never expressed anger so this was comical to them. I was always the “good” girl who quietly behaved, not causing any trouble. That experience taught me that my authentic feelings wouldn’t be taken seriously and to hold those feelings close to my chest. So, pretending became my way of fitting in. Through WFS, I have learned to express myself, share my feelings without fear, I could feel joy sober, and even be funny at times! I feel true to myself.
I have also learned to take responsibility for my part in a negative reaction – not guilt or shame for my reaction. Unhealthy guilt and shame are blockers to learning. Healthy guilt is acknowledging we may have harmed or hurt someone with our words or actions and we take responsibility. In fact, I have learned a lot about my capabilities in handling negativity, whether it is mine in thinking reactively or it is coming from another person or situation. In the past, I would not have been open to exploring any of this. It was either all of my fault or theirs. As I mentioned last week, I wore my blame crown proudly in order to not take responsibility for my part which left a void for learning. WFS is all about change and this is one of many changes I will be forever grateful for. I consider myself a seeker of information and within that seeking, I am also a discoverer of the lesson.
Nancy Cross talked about button-pushers as teachers. That was a concept I had not thought of until she wrote about it. Button pushers as teachers? And that’s when another aha moment came to light. Those button-pushers taught me to let go or stand up to a principle if my heart says it is worth it. And to do so as calmly and respectfully as possible. I have learned that if the relationship is important enough, I will share my thoughts. If not, I hit the delete button on the button pusher. I choose not to waste my time and effort with those who are not open to listening or the possibility of understanding my point of view. This is a process as every once in a while, I feel the instant reaction start. I try to understand that person’s point of view as I want them to hear and understand mine. It’s a two-way street yet in the end, it is our choice to let negativity be the only response or reflection, growing, understanding, listening, and learning to be the response.
How much fun are you to be around?
How do you currently respond to button-pushers?
What is the lesson you are learning about yourself as you pay attention to your thoughts, and your reactions to negativity?
Bonded in reducing negativity, being open to finding the lesson, releasing the porcupine, and loving yourself through it all, Dee