Posts Tagged relationships

Living Gracefully

IMG_0115Graceful is not a word I’d ever use to describe myself – as a teen, a young woman or someone in the throes of midlife. Never had much style, coordination, or panache – things I once associated with grace. Am I aging gracefully? Am I embracing getting older with any decorum or style? I’m certainly embracing midlife with more authenticity than my early years. Why? I think my definition of grace has changed.

Grace is the space where I’m comfortable in my skin. The past no longer defines me. My mistakes are now experiments expanding my comfort zone. The recovery process (which I’ve mentioned in previous posts was from food addiction, perfectionism, codependency, relationship addiction, & abandonment issues) had released a grand scale of introspection and hindsight – two key elements to living in the grace that allows me to be transparent with those I work with, counsel, and in my writing. Grace is an attitude that allows others to be who they are in my life without impacting my joy and peace and allows forgiveness to be active in my relationships.

Thoughts living gracefully:
1) Know thyself. Work a program that will allow you to discover your motivation, desires, dreams and emotions.

2) Allow yourself to feel. Denying or postponing your emotions is a pathway to poor coping habits that will only hinder you on the path to creating and living a life that you enjoy.

3) Take control of distorted thinking. Understand that your negative or positive self-image is something everyone else sees no matter how hard you try to project another persona. Your self-talk influences all you do.

4) Recognize your values. Trade compromises, people pleasing actions, should haves and have to’s for actions that truly represent your cores values.

5) Take advantage of hindsight. The past remains with us for a reason. It can hold you back or take you past your comfort zone into creative pursuits you may have never imagined.

6) Be unstoppable. Realize that your opinions, your art, your work, your experiences – your voice matters and using that voice will strengthen not only yourself but others exposed to your vulnerability.

7) Be selfish. Don’t compromise on the time you take to discover you. After all, that time will result in the best version of you and everyone benefits – kids, spouses, partners, friends, the workplace.

8) Boycott ‘busy’ and ‘multi-tasking.’ Both behaviors interfere with how present you are for your life which is happening right now. You’ll experience a different quality of life when you engage fully in the person or experience in front of you.

9) Declare yourself. If you’re a writer, say so, a artist, speak it. There’s no more time for “Well, I like to _____’ or ‘I’m sort of good at _____.” At this point you either are or are not so tell the world and pursue it.

10) Risk love. Yup, I know. Take a leap for love and there could be (will be) hurt. There comes a time when you realize that there is no permanent downside to loving others when you’re living gracefully – aware of who you are and what you want in your life.

Need program suggestions? There are thousands like AA, Alnon, CODA, Celebrate Recovery, Who Am I?, Creative Recovery or a good read on the subject is also Turning Pro

How are you living gracefully? Your sharing blesses us all!

Create joyfully today!

– Carol

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

“Creativity is contagious pass it on” ~ Albert Einstein

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Emotions, Vulnerability, & Truth vs. White Lies

How often have you asked someone “How ya feeling?” and gotten a reply like. “Well, it’s being going good for me. Work is…” or “Fine. It’s all good!” After nine months in recovery, I cringe every time someone uses phrases like this or any time I’m tempted to reply in a similar manner.

Why are we so afraid of feelings? Is it the exposure or the fleetingness of their existence that stops us from naming the emotion we’re actually feeling the moment we’re asked or perhaps the anticipated reaction? I tend to think it a combo of all three. Say my friend, Josh, another writer who is probably little more than a good acquaintance at this point, phones and says, “Hi, how are ya?” Standard greeting, right? But what if I answered, “Well, I’m feeling pretty depressed this morning about blah, blah, blah.” TMI for poor Josh yet truthful. So maybe for superficial friends, it might be more honest and less traumatic to say, “Eh, so-so today, but working toward awesome.” Less awkward, more truth, peeks at vulnerability, but doesn’t shut down the entire conversation.

I think we tend to substitute politeness for honesty especially with different levels of friends and depending on gender. It is never okay to say, “Hey, I’ll give you a call” or “Yeah, we’ll make a plan” if that’s not what you intend to do. Think about it. Who are you saying it for? Not for the person you never intend to see again. It’s all about your ego and how you feel about yourself, but it’s a lie. Denial for you, lie for her/him.

What does this have to do with feelings? Acknowledging our feelings on a level appropriate to the encounter enables us to engage more authentically with that person. I also suspect that we get into a habit of denial with everyone, not just someone we may not care to see again, but even with those we hold dear. Dealing with emotions can be messy.

Scenario #2 – Tom calls. Close friend of many years asks the same question as Josh. Same honest answer. Tom, who was focused on the reason he actually called, recovers quickly and asks a few questions about what I expressed. The point here is not that it’s a good idea to dump on everyone we meet because we’re having a particular ‘feeling’ but to authentically exist in the moment in order to make a connection with that person. It turns out that Tom had been having some similar issues and after a brief discussion, we made the transition back to discussing an upcoming hiking trip. I gave Tom an opportunity to meet me where I was or choose not to be there (like Josh, who had every right to disengage if he was uncomfortable.)

I could have chosen to side-step the entire question of “How are ya?” with a simple “Good” or “Fine, how are you?” but I’m no longer invested in pretending that life is a calm even journey that only affects emotions in me during a crisis. I’ll risk the exposure of my feelings, the embarrassment of feeling something other than ‘fine,’ (which by the way is NOT a feeling) and I’ll take the risk that a ‘Josh’ may say “Ah, ok, gotta run, but I’ll give ya a call sometime.”

I’m also giving up the claim that life is a series of little dramas that toss me around on an emotional roller coaster. Life is an endless bevy of opportunities to connect. Sometimes we will; sometimes we won’t. So if you call, and ask how I am, I will be appropriately truthful, effectively leaving the door open for a deeper conversation, or not, depending on what you’re feeling at the moment. I will be as fearless as I can for the sake of connection.

So how are you feeling today?

©2012 Carolyn Moore

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