Mark Twain said that “Humor is tragedy plus time.” And I say “THANK GOD!” Looking back at my life before recovery and my life early in recovery I see what I huge part my guilt and shame played in my selection of jobs, how I handled requests and requirements, and how I responded to requests and requirements. It also had a huge impact on my desire to over help and over share; and in my choice of partners. It wasn’t funny then, but I see how it played out. Even at the time I was aware of my over compensation for my low self esteem. In fact I would joke that I would prefer to hire someone early in recovery because, like me, the left over guilt from previous bad behavior was an amazing motivator to over work, over do, not stand up for self and to people please. I am not alone in witnessing the power of negative self worth.
Recently the amazingly perceptive Dilbert, by Scott Adams, pointed out the boss’s perspective on low self esteem. So it isn’t just me. This is funny because it is tragedy (of low sense of self worth) and time (I am better at this now.)
What does this cartoon express to me? What have my decisions that were based on low self esteem taught me? Whether it has been a negotiation about home repair, a job search, the performance of my duties at my job, my friendships, my contributions to any effort I now examine where the impetuous to act, choose or decide is coming from. Upon what do I base my choices?
At Work: Am I over -doing and, if so, why? In referencing my internal barometer have I decided to work late because of my ethics and values? Am I building resentment because I am doing it for THEM and they don’t appreciate it? Am I able to set boundaries and ask for guidance for workload priorities when the volume becomes too great?
In Negotiations: Do I worry more about offending the other party than to state what I need and what I can pay? Do I have skillful language and ways to express my requirements and expectations?
In Relationships: Do I remember that I have worth and “matter”? Are my choices based on a belief that this is the best I can hope for? Do I make non-verbalized “trades” of one aspect of acceptability for another unacceptable attribute? Am I able tolerate the other person not being happy with me at all times; living my life according to my own values and ethics?
In Friendships: Am I more comfortable giving than receiving; happier providing support than asking for it? Is there a balance of activities, expressing preferences, and sharing?
Working the steps will guide you: Learning to tell assets from liabilites, and how to moderate and modulate our characteristics brought me into equanimity. I can be the right size, in an estimable fashion.
IT DEPENDS: Actions and activities may be and look the same (working late, providing support to another, ups and downs in relationship.) At work; one coming from a place of sheepish feelings based on guilt and shame – another from expressing ones internal value of getting the project done. In your friendships and relationships: learning a way of expressing compassion and allowing others to express the same to you,. And over all developing skills to find balance through the natural navigation of challenges that occur in a relationship.
You will know – you will feel right when your actions come from a healthy place. It takes time to recognize this feeling and to act on it consistently. Be kind – avoid adding BLAME to guilt and shame. And look at your attributes and consider: “Asset or Liability.”
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com