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Recently, my sponsor and I had a conversation about what I’ve been going through, as we always do.
She told me to start journaling and to write. Writing has become my hobby, and it is something I have been doing on a weekly basis. I try to send a blog every week or so, but I don’t get myself down if I miss a week. I can’t pressure myself too much because that takes the fun out of it.
She told me to write about my burdens. What is burdening me?
My Guides always tell me that I am carrying the emotions of other people. I ask them to release these emotions because I always take on too much. I take on the burdens and anxiety of others when it has nothing to do with me.
This is something I have been dealing with my whole life, I think, but I have not actually tried to work on it before. I have not noticed when it is happening. Instead, I lash out or react poorly to situations instead of pausing and asking myself what is really going on. I don’t often know what the deep-rooted issue is within myself because I prefer to live in denial. I don’t want to feel those feelings of hurt, fear, guilt, embarrassment, not being good enough. These are all the burdens that I hold within myself.
I have always been a people pleaser, wanting only for everyone around me to be happy. I worry so much about what others are thinking and feeling that I often forget to think about myself. How am I doing? Am I doing okay today? Instead, I rush to make sure the kids are happy. I worry what the husband is thinking of me; what are my parents doing? Did I remember to text my friends yesterday? Did they have a good trip? I hope they are all doing well. They may have issues going on that I feel I need to take on when, in reality, I have nothing to do with it. I just want to help, to fix everything.
But at what point does it become too much? When will I put myself first?
I try to do this by self-soothing…sometimes in negative ways. I buy myself things I don’t need, I spend money on massages and pedicures (which I do need). I always think if I pamper myself, everything will be okay. But I don’t actually take the time to look inward and ask, “Self, are you doing okay today?”
It seems I don’t want to know how I am doing. Is this normal? Why do I care so much about others when I am really the one I need to focus on? I say I am doing all the right things by calling my sponsor and friends, by going to meetings to stay sober, by working out twice a week (which I of course guilt myself into not being enough), by pampering myself, and taking me time. But the me time isn’t really soul searching, let’s get myself together and be okay me time. It is outward me time, not inward.
What do I need to do to look inward? Meditate? Yoga? I hate sitting with myself in silence. The silence is my burden. I am scared of it and what will come out of it. But this is what I need to be doing. How do I get myself to just sit with myself, to love myself, and to be my own best friend?
I am a good friend to everyone around me, except myself. Yes, I do love myself, but do I truly love my innermost concerns and demons, and thoughts? Do I love that I am always anxious and sometimes depressed? Do I love that I struggle with addiction? Do I love that I hate being alone and sitting with my fears? No. I need to embrace these things about myself to truly love myself.
I need to love my burdens. But it is so hard.
I need to work on my spirituality. I am not spiritually fit. I preach and preach and pretend that I am following my own preachings, but am I really? On the outside, I am always a different person than what is really going on within. I have been so good at living a double life for so many years, hiding in my fears and addictions. I am working so hard to get out and show myself, but am I really just still living in a shell of myself?
Everyone in recovery that has years and years of sobriety tells me to meditate and pray every morning. I don’t. It’s impossible for me as a non-morning person to do this. I try so hard, but I just can’t get myself to do it every morning. So, now I try to set intentions for my day every morning. This at least gets me thinking about something bigger than myself and how I can be the best self that day.
My emotional sobriety kind of sucks right now. Again, this is because I am not very spiritually fit. I talk with my higher power and ask my Guides for direction, yes. This is good; this is what I need to do. But I am not getting to the root of my issues. I am scared to get to that point. I am putting up barriers to my burdens or sweeping them under the rug. I don’t like these feelings, so I try not to feel them. That is what I am used to doing.
It’s time to stop. I say this out loud to you in the hopes that it motivates me to make the change within. I love who I am, but I know there is so much more I can offer. I am so content making other people happy—imagine how I can help people if I truly help myself first.
Doing research for this, I found an article about how burdens are hard to bear. There are 10 Bible verses that can be brought into daily life to help. I’ve never been one to be all Jesus-y and quote the Bible often, but these, while super Bible-y, seem to be spot on for what I have been talking about. I believe in more than one religion. I believe in many different spiritual things, not simply the Catholic way in which I was brought up, and I think that is okay. Whatever you believe is yours. I am not here to preach or say this is the only way; these are simply my thoughts and ideas for the day.
It is similar in recovery. There is no one right way to stay sober. Some people in AA think that is the one and only way to stay sober—it is not. Is it helpful and useful to those who work the program? Absolutely. But if you aren’t willing to put in the work, it will not work for you. If you choose other ways to work on your recovery, then those will work for you. AA says only that you must believe that there is a power greater than yourself that can restore you to sanity. Nowhere does it say anything about God or religion. People get caught up in the term “higher power.”
A higher power can be the doorknob into the meeting. That doorknob is what you open to go into your meeting of recovery. The meeting itself is keeping you sober. That doorknob led you there. You completely surrendered yourself to something else. You said, “I can’t do this by myself; I need something else greater than me to do it for me.” Poof. Higher power. Voila.
“Life is tough, and the burdens it hands you can be so hard to bear. But you don’t need to carry them alone.” ~ Amazing Facts article
While I may think sitting in silence itself is a burden, it is not. I am not alone in my burdens. I am not a lone burden. I am here now, living every day with my GPS on. Not my Global Positioning System, but my God Placement System.
What does my Higher Power, God, my Guide, my Universe have in store for me today? Am I living in such a way that I hand my burdens to God alone to bear so I do not need to sit with them in silence? I have to remind myself every day that “I cannot. He can. I think I will let him.”
With that, I can continue my day, one day at a time, without the world on my shoulders.