THE SELF-HONEST I AM
the better I get along with others
PREVIOUS: KFY (Part 1)
“Keep the Focus on Yourself” (KFY) requires positive Self-honesty: It means always looking for & admitting OUR motives & emotions that propel our thoughts & actions! (without shame, guilt or S-H). They may come from the WIC, our Bad Parent – OR – our healthy adult/Loving parent UNIT.
So it’s not always a negative. We can have legitimately positive motives, (not tired in with co-dependence), as long as they in no way ignore our own needs & values.
WAYS to KFY (also: “13 ways….“)
Mind your own business
More than anything else KFY is about staying out of other people’s lives (adults) – no matter how dysfunctional they may be, how much we think we can help them, AND no matter how much we love them. In almost all cases, they have had many opportunities to get the help we think they need & have ignored or blatantly rejected every one. We need to stay on our side of the fence & not get “all up in their business”!
(SEE “Rescuing” and “Healthy Helping” posts)
EXP: “I’ve been over-monitoring my daughters’ actions & feelings because I feel guilty & responsible for her damage” (not mainly because I love her & want her best)
Be your own Motivator
KFY means being in charge of our own decisions, choices & actions.
ACoAs, Co-Ds & addicts use other people, substances or circumstances to give us a reason to function – or an excuse to withdraw from life. We can work, go, help, risk…. as long as it’s for someone/thing outside of ourselves. Yet, we have SO many skills needed to run our own life! We must use them to take care of our Inner Child first, before thinking of others.
EXP: “I took that trip abroad so I could learn more about my career & improve my performance” (not to please my boss or make myself look good)
Be Responsible for yourself
KFY means being willing to identify the Toxic Beliefs that drive us & work on changing them, so we can take charge of ourselves & our actions in the world. We do not have the right to expect anyone else to do that for us. Our whole life can pass us by while we wait for that. Even if we find someone who will, it’s always with a high price – controlling us, keeping us immature, preventing healing & expressing our potential.
EXP: “I wanted that bigger car because it makes me feel important” (not because my wife liked it)
Listen To Your Gut
KFY means being able to listen to & trust our own inner voice. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being jerked around by our PP or WIC’s emotions & obsessions, steeped in the fear that comes from trying to obey the Toxic Rules, -vs- True-Self information provided by our gut. It’s that still small feeling in the center of our body that won’t go away – telling us when something is right or wrong for us. Trust “I know what I know”. Once we get quiet inside (with a lot less anxiety) we can listen to our instinct. We’ll be surprised how accurate it can turn out to be.
EXP: “I stopped being friends with that woman because I kept getting that ‘ICH’ feeling in my gut whenever we talked” (even though we had a lot of things in common)
Do what’s right for you
KFY means most of the time doing what suits us – what feels right to our inner soul, & staying away from PPT that don’t encourage our Recovery or strengthen our True Self. Having a good relationship with ourselves allows us to be kinder & more appropriate with others.
— If we have trouble doing ‘work’ things, then we need to focus more on that, to be ‘self-supporting by our own contributions’ as they say in 12-Step Programs.
— If we mostly spend our time working & taking care of others, we need to take time off to spend doing fun & relaxing things.
EXP: “I chose to stop celebrating holidays because it was too stressful & unrewarding. Now I feel peaceful” (not because I’m trying to save money or punish the family)
Stay in the Present
KFY means responding to current people & situations based on current reality, instead of project childhood trauma onto all our present-day experiences & blaming others for
all our troubles. However, it is also imperative that we use every bit of info we’ve accumulated in life to evaluate who or what we’re dealing with on a daily basis.
The ‘focus’ includes:
— acknowledging the harmful or limiting qualities of PPT we’re already familiar with (some family members, a mate, a job, a living situation….), & using our Adult ego state to correctly evaluate new encounters
— recognizing all the positive ways a person/situation in our environment is truly different from those who have hurt us in the past. What are the beneficial qualities we’re overlooking?
EXP: “I felt hurt & angry when you didn’t come to my party, but it was only because your boss needed you to work late” (not because you didn’t like me any more)
The only way we can KFY is to know what IS. That means continually bringing the WIC into the present, so we don’t keep repeating the same mistakes, AND so we can choose safer people to enjoy our life with. Book-ending works great for this.
PS: Staying in the present does NOT mean ignoring the past or future – only that we should deal with others based on who they are & what they are actually doing, instead of letting the WIC react from our past.
New research by neuroscientists has shown that “living in the moment” is not literally possible, because that would cut out everything we’ve learned which we need to protect us. Sustaining a memory of past decisions can guide future behavior. (MORE…..)
When In Doubt, Just Ask
This is crucial to being able to KFY. Finding out who others truly are – not for Co-D purposes – allows us to clarify that we are indeed separate individuals, not symbiotic clones! Human beings are not supposed to know everything & we’re not supposed to be mind-readers. (The only time anyone legitimately needs a mind-reader is when we’re an infant & can’t talk yet!).
— This is not just about lack of info that you could find in a book or a blog. There’s no shame in asking – it shows an open mind, a willingness to learn & better yourself
— But it’s also about finding out what other people are actually like – inside. Ask, ask ask! “What do you mean? Why did you say that? Are you willing to —-?, Is that all right with you….?” You may not get the answer you like or expected – or any answer. But many times you will be pleasantly surprised – they’ll tell you something about how they think, feel or have experienced that you couldn’t have guessed, no matter how smart you are.
EXP: “When I gave that teacher my card he made a disparaging comment about my profession – which I assumed was aimed at me. Instead – I asked what he meant & he said he’d recently had a bad experience with someone, & my card reminded him.”
(This had nothing to do with me. If I hadn’t asked I would have taken it personally & gone away hurt & angry)