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 Post subject: I Can Only Be Me
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:49 am
Posts: 65
I Can Only Be Me

I had originally posted this in my recovery thread but it is not so much about any lesson more something I recently realized and wanted to share and expand on. It feels like a change has come over me or is starting. Something similar happened once long ago when after a long separation but it was vague in my mind and did not last. This started with the realization that I am really not my wife and not my relationship. I am me and I am separate from those things. It sounds stupidly obvious but I think in the recent past I have tried to identify things that felt uncomfortable to me in my life, like I was not living the life I wanted or was doing it in a way that was not true to me. I could sense the discord but couldn't pinpoint exactly what the problems were. Because I felt engulfed in my relationship and my life is so linked to that relationship it felt like something had to change in the relationship in order to make me happy. So I identified a few things but those really didn't get at the underlying issue and because they were so poor understood and articulated, it actually caused more problems trying to talk about them. I did not know what I was really asking for or saying and this was just frustrating to my partner. This in turn was frustrating and sad for me and led to dishonest behavior.

After almost 3 months of this separation from my spouse I am finally beginning to see myself as my own person. I have my own values, not just the values I'm supposed to share with B. I have my own likes and dislikes, it doesn't matter if they completely match with B. I have flaws that I need to be open about, some fixable some quirks of my personality. I am a really awesome person in a lot of ways too.

I had a relationship that I liked a lot of aspects of but now, without that relationship I am a little less likely to self censor without knowing it in order to protect the relationship and to give B a version of myself that she would find acceptable and would not rock the boat. The trade off before was since I was choosing to not be "me" I expected the relationship to give me the things I gave up in that trade which it never could. I am the only person that can make me feel happy and fulfilled by making choice that are true to me. A relationship or having a partner that must like you cause they are affectionate or give you approval or want to have sex makes you feel good on the surface, but not if you are putting on an act to get it. That just produces discord every time which always always catches up to you. I cant keep running from this stuff.

I think it is time to get real and start providing for my own happiness. I am starting to take care of my own stuff. Don't know how to do something? I will figure it out without help. Know that something needs to get done? I am going to do it because that will feel good to me to take responsibility without being asked. Run into a disappointment-that sucks, move on fix what you can, do something else to keep moving forward, not dwelling on the past.

I will continue to be responsible to my family and I will continue to try to be a good friend to B. But I might start doing things a little differently in my life. Things that generate positive energy, newness, excitement, growth. My challenge is to be in better tune with my true self and listen to what it has to say. To be brave and strike out on my own sometimes, to be honest and share myself with my friends openly. It is my life and my responsibility, no one else's. I have been thinking too much for the last 3 years about how to get B "back" and how to fix my relationship so I can get to a safe protected place where I felt happy, to talk my way back into a cocoon. I can't do those things, I can't make someone love me or desire me and even when I briefly found a way in, it didn't satisfy and didn't last because I was still me and I wasn't being honest to myself.

We have talked about a relationship "reset" that would have to happen if we were to be able to get back together and be successful. But this is not about that, I don't think we can reset a 20 year relationship. I CAN reset me and how honest I am to myself and others. If I am true to myself and show myself honestly, B can decide if she wants to be around this person, if she wants to give trust and if she wants to share her life with mine. I can't make her do anything, I can not manipulate or fix a relationship. It has to be organic, just like when we first met and got to know each other and formed opinions and decided that person has something that I want to be around and share in, that is a person I trust. I am ready to give this up to the universe, it is too big and complicated and emotional to be something I can control in the slightest.



So what does this look like? How do I want to express myself, what do I want to do in this world that feels meaningful, what do I value about living, how do I go about being a person I can admire and feel satisfied with?

I think this will be something that will take continued focus, growth and change, but approaching this from some of the basic things I know about myself, I can get a general direction or outline:

I wake up each day with an idea of what I need to do with my day, grateful for what I have, not worried about my relationship, not overly focused on how others see me or think about me. What are my responsibilities? What are my goals today? What do I want to do with my time and energy that will give me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction (what I think of as quality of life)? I guess this would mean living my life more thoughtfully and deliberately. I think this is something that I can be good at and have the skills and mindset for, my core identity and values will guide me if I take the time to listen to them. It just requires stopping to reflect more often and not always following my same old routine.

I am someone who is basically a good moral person and cares about people. I have fallen down on this recently, but I am learning to forgive myself and focus on getting back to who I really am. I am a giving and thoughtful friend, someone who is there to listen to them and help where I can, someone who is generous in spirit and is free to express how I feel about them and value them. I will take pride in being patient and present as a father. I will make special effort to take pride in being a good friend to my partner so that even on down days or when we are not seeing eye to eye, I am confident that I am a stable and positive influence in her life. My relationships will not have room for insecurity, anxiety or doubt as I can be confident in my ability to be a good friend and satisfied by what I have given, not by what I receive back. Coming from a place of giving trust and openness, I can myself trust others and be honest about who I am, instead of afraid about how I am perceived. I will focus on making new friends and being more social. I like learning about others and learning about myself in the process. I would like to be around people that are creative, open minded and spontaneous.

I am fundamentally a positive person, capable of living in the moment and enjoying a wide variety of experiences. I will continue to evolve my stress management skills which have so far served me well. I will focus on having less "down" days and if having one will take the time and space to use my self care skills: healthy habits such as sleep and exercise, meditation, focusing on gratitude. I will not rely on others to manage my moods or make my mood dependent on other's reaction to me. In the face of negative events I will be the first one to be positive and solution based.

I am a creative, open minded and spontaneous person. I will focus on being open to the moment and take more time to consider doing things out of my comfortable routine. I will take opportunities to try new things, or try creative approaches to the normal tasks in my life. I will take more chances, risk more, not be afraid to be playful and unconventional. I will think about how to use my time in a more rewarding way and be more active in seeking new experiences: new places to go, concerts, recreation, creative and artistic projects, new foods, adding fun to otherwise mundane days and tasks. I will learn new things. I will get out of the house more!!! I will get outside to do the things I know I love and feel satisfied by: hiking, camping, outdoor trips, lying in the sun. Even taking a walk around the block can help me refocus and reset and feel...better.


Last edited by phoenix7 on Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I Can Only Be Me
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:06 pm
Posts: 87
Hi,

Your post is very interesting.

I lived exactly the same situation. Following a relapse in early January, I have decided to keep a "separation" from my wife (I won't enter in the detail of the boundaries related to this situation). The sense, the meaning, for me, of this separation was to see if I was recovering to save my image my image or really to change myself. After 3 month, I agree with what you describe, I understand the same thing than you. It sounds selfish, and I feel guilty by saying this, but yes this experience was really meaningful.

At this stage I can say I won't behave anymore in a way that gives me shame, in away that would give pain to the one I love. I have seen how much I am weak, how much I have to learn, how much my perception are distorted by addiction... but I have never been complacent, and I did not lie to myself. I still need to improve my proactivity, but my decision making process is healthy. So I am at stage where I may take this commitment, and this separation was a contributor to develop the skills. Now I really recover for myself, and my vision start to change deeply (but slowly!).

Now come others questions, and new challenge: what love does mean for me? I agree with you when you say (correct me I misunderstand) I can not make my partner loves me. But I feel I have to answer, for myself first and for my partner too, what love does mean? This is now the question I really would like to answer. I think I have to continue to move forward to express who I am, for my self but others as well, and to first of all my partner. I want to know my self, to let someone else know fully myself, to someone else enter my "intimacy".

If your wish is to develop the relation with your partner, there is a very interesting "supplementary lesson" on RN about intimacy, that offers an approach to start to think about the couple.


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 Post subject: Re: I Can Only Be Me
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:49 am
Posts: 65
Thanks for your thoughts and the referring me to the intimacy lesson. I will check it out.


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