So…I have just read Adreienne’s post about letting go…and helps a little. She explores the confusion of what it means to let go, let God, to let go with love. But she also says a few other things I feel like responding to – I hope she doesn’t mind:)
Wasn’t I expected to solve my own and everyone else’s problems, have all the answers, and support the behavior patterns, no matter how destructive? How could I keep my family together?
Yes I have felt like this – the responsible one. So responsible in fact I have a history of exhausting myself and getting lost in that exhaustion. My care of self diminished. My love for others sees me so consumed loving them there is not much left for me. They say you should get back what you give, but when that doesn’t happen you know you are in a destructive place and something needs to be done. The serenity prayer helped me to come to terms with the need to have to courage to accept the things I could change, recognise those I could not and the wisdom to know the difference. I can not change the behaviour of others – I need only look at myself. So all that giving had to be turned back to me. I needed to solve my problems, find my answers, examine and adjust my behaviour patterns and if the family dymanics altered because of that then maybe that is the way it is meant to be.
…The answer lies not in letting go of people but in letting go of my outworn, painful thinking patterns. I can replace them with honesty, openness and willingness to change into a more positive person.”
I let go of the belief that things could get better, than one day I would be heard, that one day I might even be asked, without judgement or argument, what it I that I wanted; that if and when I had the courage to say what I wanted I was actually going to be heard and respected. I had to realise that I was consumed by my thinking, my fears, my doubts, the distrust – and not co-existing with faith, openness, honesty, and love. When everything you think, say or do starts to be based on how the other might be thinking or feeling, you have given over too much of yourself – you live for them, not yourself. These are painful thinking patterns. They need to stop.
If we love someone and have made a conscious decision to keep that person in our lives it seems anti productive to “let go” of them. Truly we don’t let go of love for them and most times not the person. We come to understand that loving is more than what we understood love to be. Loving is an action. What we let go of is our limited understanding of what love is. Love is not control. Love is not fixing. Have you ever been fixed? or controlled? Do your emotions tell you this is a good thing? This control is the theme of adolescence. We know looking at the power struggle between parents and children that it doesn’t feel good on either end. We let go of our children by allowing them to live their lives and love them more for it. What we want that is most important is not most important to someone with an addiction. Their goal is different. Their goal is to eliminate the pain either physically, mentally or emotionally, usually easiest things first. We all function that way.
What we want is most important. This is not most important to a person suffering and addiction problem. – this goes both for the addict and the one who loves them. The one who loves them must decide what is most important – for them. Loving ourselves is taking control for ourselves. This is letting go, with love. It is not easy – it creates a need for change – big change. It creates the need to look inside self and ask the question what do I want, what is good for me? It takes courage to make a conscious decision to put self first when you tend naturally to want to help and love others – when you are raised to consider the thoughts and feelings of others before your own. You have to find the courage to relearn the meaning of the word selfish. If you do not put what is most important for you first you end up so ill that you are of now help to anyone. You need to reset your boundaries and start again. This takes stepping back, retreating. I means saying enuff. Leave me be. Let me rethink and refocus; I will leave loved ones to God, I have the courage to accept what I cannot change.
Letting go has made me look at my boundaries. Letting go gives me the space, courage and selfrespect to examine my boundaries and shore them up. It isn’t easy but one day at a time I am once again finding my lost self and strengthening those boundaries.
Honesty, openeness, trust, mutual respect. If I give these core values to others – I expect them back. I accept not everyone can do that – but I will find peaceful coexistence with those who can.