In a culture where approval/disapproval has become the predominant regulator of effort and position, and often the substitute for love, our personal freedoms are dissipated. —Viola Spolin
Wanting others to approve our efforts, our appearance, our aspirations and behavior is perfectly normal, certainly not unhealthy. However, needing the approval in order to proceed with our lives is.
In early childhood we are taught to obey others and to please them. We confuse love with approval, and we begin to march to someone else's drum. Then we get even more approval. But soon we get out of step with ourselves; we neglect our personal needs and become puppets. Giving away our power to the whims of others weakens our Spirit. Personal freedom means choosing our own behavior; it means acting rather than reacting. It also means allowing ourselves the full adventure of living, of meeting each moment wholly, of responding in a pure, spontaneous, personally honest manner. Only then can we give to life what is ours to give.
Each of us has a unique part to play in the drama of life. And we need to rely on our higher power for our cues, not on those whose approval we think we need. When we turn within for guidance, all the approval we could hope for will be ours.
I will be free today. I will let no one control my actions. I will let my Higher Power give the only approval that counts. Aligning my will with God's will guarantees it.
From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey ©
If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? —Hillel
Some of us were treated badly as young boys and never learned how to live for ourselves. We can see only two choices: either be submissive and caretaking or be abusive and demanding. Many of us have so much guilt and shame that we feel we don't deserve to stand up for ourselves. This program demands that in recovery we be for ourselves. If we don't know how, we learn. If we are unsure, we must experiment. When we make mistakes, we must admit them and know we have a right to be imperfect learners. And we can't be only for ourselves, because that keeps us small and turns us back to where we came from.
As we accept ourselves and come to know our imperfections and weaknesses, we can understand others better. We are stronger in giving to others and more effective because we have a place to stand.
Today, even if I don't feel good about myself, I will stand up for my dignity as a man.
From Touchstones: A Book of Daily Meditations for Men ©1986
Never too late___Self expression
Many of us lament the fact that we wasted youthful years when we should have been earning college degrees or perfecting a skill. Many of us simply do not feel we can take up something new because we missed the opportunity to try it when we were younger.
It is never too late to be the people our Higher Power intended us to be.
No one who drank as I did wakes up on the edge of the abyss one morning
and says: Things look pretty scary; I think I'd better stop drinking before I fall in.
I was convinced I could go as far as I wanted,
and then climb back out when it wasn't fun anymore.
What happened was, I found myself at the bottom of the canyon
thinking I'd never see the sun again. AA didn't pull me out of that hole.
It did give me the tools to construct a ladder, with Twelve Steps.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 316
Thought to Ponder . . .
I stood in the sunlight at last.
AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
S T E P S = Solutions Through Each Positive Step.