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Self-Empowerment, Relationships and Recovery

Relationships. It’s amazing that one word can bring about such a wide array of emotional responses.  What response is it for you?  Is it excitement?  A feeling of infinite possibility?  Or perhaps you experience a heavy feeling that makes you want to avoid them all together.

Whatever your initial reaction, chances are you have felt it all – the ups, the downs. the highs, and the lows.

The Swinging Pendulum

The pendulum that swings between pleasant and unpleasant emotions is fast at work during the initial phase of recovery. And relationships tend to increase the already rapid momentum of your inner–world.  It doesn’t matter if the relationship is romantic or platonic, as they both tend to bring latent beliefs to the surface.

Beliefs are not truth. They are just ideas that have cemented into a structured way of thinking that you are letting govern you.-Lesley WirthWhat comes to the surface can be both challenging and euphoric, depending on what belief emerges!  If you have a belief that your relationships will improve once you are sober, you will feel a sense of excitement and optimism.  However, if you feel that you are going to be boring now that you are not using, you will have a different feeling…a much less comfortable feeling.

If you don’t like a belief, change it! You are in charge. You truly have the keys to your happiness. If you are locked into a belief that brings you down, don’t just buy into it. Don’t simply agree with it and let it be your Higher Power. Beliefs are not truth. They are just ideas that have cemented into a structured way of thinking that you are letting govern you.  You don’t have to take this! Tear it down. Just like building structures, thought structures can crumble to the ground.

Breaking Out of Harmful Belief Patterns

If you are locked in a belief that is painful, start by exploring whether you can be absolutely certain what you are telling yourself is true.  Just because your best friend hasn’t called you as much as usual does not necessarily mean it’s because you have changed.

What if it’s because they are uncomfortable being their true selves in your presence? What if instead of it meaning something about you, it means something about them?

The bottom line is that, as humans, we tend to project our insecurities onto others and then we have a chain-reactive response to them. The more triggered we are, the less able we are to stop and think clearly before lashing out (or in). The reality is that human beings create a lot of their own suffering because of the beliefs they hold about themselves.  If someone thinks they are not good enough and they bring that belief into all of their encounters, you can rest assured they’ll continually suffer. Until they stop trying to get validation from others and start to work on the belief they have about themselves, they will keep running around trying to get their fix of acceptance.

By looking at how you are reacting within your relationships, you have the fortune of being able to see what you feel about yourself deep down. This is great news because, once you see it, you can honor your tender and vulnerable places. You can stop acting it out “out there,” and start doing the work to heal once and for all.

Once you change your viewpoint of yourself, you no longer have to act it out with others. This means taking 100% responsibility for every feeling you have. Once you realize that no one can make you feel anything, you open the door to empowerment.

The only person who can make you feel anything is you. Period. How do I know this is true? Because no two people react the same way to the same situation. The story inside will determine how one reacts.

Looking for Answers Within

Being a human is messy. It’s fragile. It’s crazy and it’s beautiful. Every single person on this planet has his or her “stuff;” they face challenges regarding self-perception and how they bring those beliefs to relationships of any kind.

The way to make some headway on this is to look at your triggers and use them as information, rather than a hindrance. If you are triggered by the same scenario again and again, it is worth exploring the 6 step process designed to help you uncover what is really going on.

Start by imagining the scene and then answer the following questions:

  • What emotion is being activated? Name it.
  • Feel it in your body. Where is it? What does it feel like?
  • Ride these feelings back in time to an earlier memory of them. Allow whatever comes forward to be the perfect memory and see if you can see what is happening. What was the scenario?
  • As you see this scenario taking place, see if you can determine what emotions you felt then, and what conclusions you drew about yourself at that time.  Say them out loud.
  • How are these conclusions showing up in your situation now?  In other words, what are you afraid might happen?

Action, Not Words

Make sure to actually follow through on what will help you feel more empowered. And keep in mind that empowerment is power within, not power over someone else.  Once you have a clear understanding of what belief in you gets activated regularly you create enough space to start to make different choices. Rather than reacting you will have the opportunity to choose your response the next time it is triggered.  This is the hallmark of someone taking total responsibility over their life and doing the inner-work that brings about the greatest liberation possible – liberation from your own story.

Image Courtesy of iStock

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