“How could I do it? How could I say it? Even though I meant it, I still feel ashamed, guilty, and afraid.”What a description. We are all human. And we all have needs. We all have a right to set our boundaries, learn new and healthy behaviors and most importantly to love and care for ourselves. Some of us may be good at doing this, others not so good.
This is a common reaction to new, exciting recovery behaviors. Anything to do with owning our power and taking care of ourselves can trigger feelings of shame, guilt, and fear.
We do not have to allow these feelings to control us. They’re a backlash. They’re after-burn. Let them burn out.
When we start confronting and attacking feelings and messages, we will experience some after-burn. The after-burn is what we allowed to control us all our life—shame and guilt.
Many of us grew up with shame-based messages that it wasn’t okay to take care of ourselves, be honest, be direct, and own our power with people. Many of us grew up with messages that it wasn’t okay to be who we were and resolve problems in relationships. Many of us grew up with the message that what we want and need isn’t okay.
Let it all burn off. We don’t have to take after-burn so seriously. We don’t let the after-burn convince us that we are wrong and don’t have a right to take care of ourselves and set boundaries.
Do we really have the right to take care of ourselves? Do we really have the right to set boundaries? Do we really have the right to be direct and say what we need to say?
You bet we do.
Today, I will let any after-burn which sets in after I practice a new recovery behavior, burn off. I will not take it so seriously. God, help me let go of my shame and needless fears about what will happen to me if I really start caring for and loving myself.
Quoted from the book Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie.
When we set a boundary we are caring for ourselves and sometimes for our family as well. When we take some time out for us we are caring for ourselves. When we attend to what needs attending to and practice First things First we are learning to put things in their proper place of importance or urgency. So what is there to “feel” badly about? If we have done our best to do these things in a loving caring and or respectful manner then even when we make mistakes especially when learning a new recovery tool (doubly if not quadruply important if those around us are not in recovery) we can cut ourselves some slack. We can see that we are embarking on new territory. And leaving our old territory is hard. Those voices calling come back…you’re abandoning us. No, I don’t mean the people I mean our own feelings. When we have learned to take comfort in the familiar, even if the familiar isn’t healthy for us it is hard to put it behind.
But we can and though it may be uncomfortable at first, rest assured that the end result is worth the sometimes bumpy means.
Today I will let that after burn that discomfort of letting go of old behaviors and way of thinking have it’s place but then let it go. I will not stay stuck somewhere that is not healthy. I will recognize them for what they are…growing pains…that lead me to a deeper place of understanding and caring for myself that bring serenity.