Paranoia

being lost

If you read my post “Running Away”, you know that I was sure that I had deeply hurt a blogger friend. I took nonverbal cues and ran with them only to find that my friend was just busy and having device difficulty. They were very kind when they realized what was going on with me. The very first comment they ever made to me was that I was welcome to make any comment on their site and this was reiterated. They assured me that if they had a concern, they would ask for clarification. I am sharing this with you as a follow up to my post “Running Away”.

So why did I jump to such a conclusion? Because I have a strong tendency to be paranoid and it has caused negativity in my life. I believe that this paranoia could also be a tendency to want control over others’ feelings and opinions of me. I can remember the first time I realized as a twenty-something that not everyone was going to like me. A friend and co-worker said to me, “Well, she doesn’t like you either.” I was so totally shocked but I think it was meant as a wake-up call.

The problem has been in acceptance as I still try to control what others think of me. In Ala-non, we have a saying that goes, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Yes, it is a hard one to understand and it has taken me a long time. To me, it is about control and keeping the focus on myself. Additionally, if I am focusing on what others think of me, I am not giving myself permission to be who and what I am.

I most often feel as if I have to make explanations for what I do or say. Does it work? No, most often it just makes me appear defensive (which I am) and annoys and/or embarrasses the other person. While it may make me feel justified, it is just another example of making excuses.

I have been taught by Ala-non to make amends when I do someone a disservice. My amends would mean more if I just simply apologized without explanation or excuses. When I make explanations or excuses, it pretty much negates the amends.

My paranoia goes along with my need to know and control everything that goes on around me in order to feel safe. I also grew up with a “what will people think” mother who was the “poor relation” growing up. Just another example of how traits get passed down. Having lived this way all my life, it is difficult but not impossible to change. It takes not allowing myself to obsess on remarks and actions of others but instead to talk things out or ask questions, learn from my mistakes and move on.

Running Away

When I hurt someone, I have difficulty coming to terms with it. How do I handle it? I run away. I think that I need to protect that person from me. I have been doing this over and over again for the past 20 years.

My intention to stop blogging was due to my feeling sure that I had hurt a friend blogger deeply with a comment. I reached out to them and haven’t heard back. Why am I telling you this? Because having done a lot of deep introspection, I have come to believe that the child in me runs away but the adult needs to face up to her transgressions. This isn’t the first time that I believe I have hurt a fellow blogger. Fortunately, I have been able to make immediate amends yet this goes very deep for both of us because we make ourselves vulnerable in our blogging.

So what is the answer? I can hope that my friend will eventually be able to confront me. Regardless, I think I need to do as I have had to do in the past and hold my head up and keep putting one foot in front of the other until the child in me can forgive herself.

To my other fellow bloggers, please know that though it has never been my intention to hurt or offend, I may have. Please understand that it is never my intention to hurt anyone. I am a compassionate person with a quick Irish temper who is very opinionated because I am a deep thinker. My take on situations is often very hard to understand but know that I have taken apart every situation and analyzed it to death. I have to look at all sides because that is my nature. I try to be fair in my assessments and have a tendency to be overly honest.

That being said, I try to help when help hasn’t been asked for. Reaching out is not always a bad thing but as I have stated before, ask first if help is desired. When I started blogging, I had no idea what direction it would take, it just happens. It has been a good tool for me to come to terms with my past. I do want to spend more time educating myself and going in a different direction with my writing. Therefore, I will be cutting back on my blogging. I will also be refraining from comments in order to take away the gifts offered in your posts without making it about me. Yes, it will be difficult for me but I have to pull up my big girl panties and learn to be courteous in my blogging.

Yes, I do know that there are bloggers who have gained from my writing as I have gained from theirs which is why I am returning to my blog. I hope you will understand.

😍

When to Let Go

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Ayala VanZant says when people leave you, let them go because they have served their purpose in your life and you in theirs.

12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundSometimes you can serve as a reminder of things they want to forget. This can happen especially with friends from early in your life. Possibly they have grown into responsible adults and don’t want to dwell on the past. If you are someone who holds on to the past and has a tendency to live in a bygone age, you could be holding them back by reminding them of their past mistakes.

e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7If someone wants to leave, it is fruitless to ask them to stay. Nothing good will come of the relationship because they have already left in their mind. They may stay out of guilt or a sense of responsibility but they won’t really be there. Subconsciously, they are somewhere else, anywhere else. You cannot grow if you don’t let go. There is something else waiting for you. You do not have to forget them because they served a purpose in your life even if it is just a lesson you needed to learn. If you are spending your time holding onto something that is not productive in your life, you are taking time and energy needed for something that will be more satisfactory to you. Don’t be afraid to move on! You are in charge of your destiny. Of course, you have to grieve or you will stay stuck but look forward, not backward.

Sure, it is possible that you just need time apart to realize how much you mean to each other. If so, spend that time working on yourself not wallowing in self pity. Find new hobbies, interests and acquaintances. Do something you have been putting off. It will make you a much more desirable and interesting person. No one wants to be with a pitiful sad sack. But don’t do any of this in order to entice someone back into your life, do it for yourself. Move on with your life and let them catch up to you, don’t hang around waiting.Tetsu420full798969

If someone will not forgive you for a transgression, forgive yourself and let them go. They will only serve to remind you of past mistakes. Once you have made amends, they owe it to you to forgive or let you go. A constant reminder of past mistakes do not benefit anyone. and only hold both of you back. Don’t hold onto your mistakes. I say this because I do hold on to my mistakes and continually beat myself up. I am learning but it takes baby steps. I have every reason to be happy at this time in my life and to hold on to my mistakes will only serve to dull that happiness. The people I think I have offended don’t give me a thought because they have they have moved on with their lives. Those that are dwelling on old hurts are only keeping themselves down. It gives me a sense of freedom when I realize that I should not be punished for my mistakes over and over again for the rest of my life. There is freedom in admitting your mistakes, making amends when possible, learning the lesson and moving on.

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You deserve to live a life free of blame and shame. We all make mistakes, learn from them and move on.💝

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Apologies

Apologizing can be so cleansing and give such a feeling of freedom that it comes easily to me. What I understand about apologizing for me is that it can get me unstuck from a situation. When I say “unstuck”, I mean from the position of “right at all costs”, stubbornness or mired in fear. If I look at the apology as something beneficial to me rather than giving in to the other party, it becomes a positive for me.

In order to keep my apologies in perspective, I have to keep in mind that my apology is only cleaning up “my side of the street”. My apology is not to excuse anyone else’ behavior or actions, it is only as validation for my part in the problem and acknowledgement of my behavior and/or actions. It does not “undo” anything. Most importantly, it does not take away from the lesson to be learned from my part in the situation.

All my life, “I have been the one to apologize” so much so that the phrase “I’m sorry” comes almost too easily to me. I could see at an early age that it wasn’t as easy for others to admit fault or to apologize in order to put an end to an argument. I would apologize just to “get it over with” and often I was left with a resentment. To me it was worth whatever it cost me just to end the conflict.

You may wonder why it came so easily to me. You see, my mother always told me that I had a choice in every situation . She said even if someone held a gun to my head, I had a choice. I was not allowed to place blame on anyone else because I had a choice whether to do or not to do, whether to say or not to say. What she didn’t tell me was that my choice wouldn’t always be the wrong choice for me. This had a two-fold effect on me, on one hand I was able to accept responsibility on the other hand, I gave up my right to be right.

Over the years, I have learned that apologies for me:

  • Are for me, not the other person.
  • Remind me that as a human being, I make mistakes.
  • Remind me that its o.k. to make a mistake as long as I learn from it.
  • Keep my humility in check.
  • Stop my mind’s obsession to dwell on an issue.
  • Help me to feel better about myself.
  • Should always be sincere.
  • Should be thought out beforehand.
  • Should not end with a “but”.

I have to be careful that apologies do not become an automatic response. Automatic apologies tell me that I am seeing myself as being “less than”. They tell me that I don’t see myself as having a right to be where I am or doing what I am doing. For example, I will apologize for taking the time to put change in my wallet at the checkout stand because I don’t have the right to take up the next person in line’s time. I will apologize for things that the persons I think I have offended do not even notice.

One of my counselors told me that I apologize for things that most people don’t even remember. It is true that often when I apologize for some wrong, it is confusing to the people I am apologizing to because they have no idea what I am talking about. This problem is caused by my holding on to situations and overthinking them to the point where months or years later, I am still beating myself up for whatever I saw as a lack of boundaries. I honestly think it is annoying to other people because it puts them on the spot.

What positive action am I taking? I am reminding myself that:

  • I cannot control other peoples’ thoughts and feelings about me by apologizing.
  • I have to accept that I will make mistakes and will have to let go of my need for others to see me as perfect.
  • I have to let go of blaming and shaming myself.
  • I have a right to be who and what I am just as I have to allow others to be who and what they are.
  • I should value myself.
  • That I need to be present in my thoughts and feelings.

One of the beneficial changes I have made in making amends was to replace the phrase “I’m sorry” with the phrase “I would like to apologize for”.  In growing up, the word “sorry” has been used as meaning “less than acceptable” as in “he is a sorry excuse for …” or “he is a sorry judge of character” so for me to use the word sorry in relation to myself is to say that I am less than acceptable.

I will close with this positive affirmation given to me by my minister, counselor and friend:

I am a child of God and I have a right to be here no less that the trees and stars. I am loved, God loves me.