"Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." - Orison Swett Marden

Monday, March 6, 2017

Becoming Aware; Responding Vs Reacting

From my earliest recollection, I wanted for this world what I wanted for my own self / life; peace, love and happiness. My own personal journey to understanding has been one of learning through pain, loss, and grief. The gory details will make an interesting story, one day when I am ready to share it. However, getting lost in it's details is a diversion from the focus on WHAT I've learned, how it brought me the understanding I know hold.

The real story is not the experiences themselves, but what I derived by working through them, making the best use of having gone through them in the first place. I spent my fair share of time wallowing in anger, resentment, hostility. Naturally I knew anger is toxic and will corrode the vessel that houses it. Moving from that point of understanding to accepting it and turning it into 'forgiveness', was a difficult journey.

Honestly I wanted to alleviate further suffering for myself, there was just too much already to be in. This is a crazy world we're living in today, do we really want to be subjecting ourselves to further punishment than it's causing? I didn't, to the point I was willing to consider what I might be doing that was adding gasoline to the fire. So I began with me. To change what was happening to me at the hands of others' doing, was not in my sphere of control. I could and did have control over me. So while I wanted others to change, to recognize their own contribution to the detriment in our society, our world, I had to shine the light on my 'darkness' within, expose it, clean it up. This has been a process, sticking with it over time.

A few years ago now, I sat in the office of my mental health-care provider, Dr U, where I first had been mandated to attend her group sessions. At one point the group had dwindled to two members, myself and another woman. I remember it as though it was yesterday, where she first informed me of my official diagnosis. Having taken the classwork and studied medical coding and billing, I probably was able to understand the diagnosis in a way one would not otherwise have if not for this education. My natural reaction was that of denial. I mean it was absurd to my perception then. Reactionary, I was very REACTIONARY.

Emotionally reactionary to be most specific. This behavioral element in itself a symptom attributed to that of which I had been diagnosed. In fact I came to learn the lack of control in my emotions had done a lot of damage. In my life and for those around me. I spent a looooong time from that point, observing my behaviors in this regard. I mean a long time. And little by little, through *CBT, and the process of observation, discernment / judgment, re-conditioning behavior, together working with the very gifted doctor of psychology I had as my treatment provider, I made healthy changes. Taking a step by step, one day at a time approach, reconditioning myself to behave more appropriately, acting overall in a more peaceful responding manner, particularly to those whose behaviors are reactionary.

This is where I came to work on boundaries. In learning those, I found it necessary for me to simplify or reduce my connections to only a few family members. You see, my nearest and dearest relationships were with those of some pretty toxic behaviors. So while I was cleaning my own (toxic behaviors) up, I learned how to deal with others who were not so different than me. Different in their precise dysfunctions maybe, but none the less dysfunctional, and therefore a rigorous environment, ripe for learning and understanding BOUNDARIES.

*Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self adn the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression)