I have been so many people in my life, but as an active alcoholic I isolated into nothingness. They call this the last stage of alcoholism—the state of oblivion…
There was no more joy, frustration, hurt, or pain…just a bruised shell of a body and a warped soul that was so beaten down that it finally came to the last door…
And that door was hopelessness.
I had a close friend do me wrong recently—very wrong actually.
I had been self isolating for so long towards the end of my drinking years that I’m not too sure I knew whether or not it was even possible for me to make friends again. But, once I was in recovery for some time, pieces of me began to float back…they reminded me of who I really was—who I am today and it’s something I’m still investigating.
And although in recovery, I was quite hesitant in making anyone I knew or worked with a friend, I did so anyway.
I used to punish myself for outcomes like these. When relationships don’t work out…I can almost hear my own inner thoughts now: “I told you so…when are you going to finally realize that no one actually cares about you—no one likes you.”
Recovery has taught me to rewind the tape. To become aware of the inner narrative that says these things, and to flip them around in my favor…otherwise I’ll drink.
Also, I must always remember that feelings aren’t always true.
Recovery has taught me how to love and live and give back mainly because of the new tools and means by which I’ve learned to cope. I now have a strong foundational support unit, others just like me, and ones that know what it means to escape death…and at least once.
The hope I always needed to make it one day at a time was there all along, it was just a matter of finding it and in finally being ready to turn my life over to something much greater than myself in order to be saved. And I did it.
Today I take risks. I see disappointments as new opportunities and new beginnings; I’m grateful and willing to change. And in that way, my experiences are endless—and so are my blessings.
When I first met my husband, I remember, talking non-stop. It’s something I’ve always done, but I used to be quite a chatterbox, probably not allowing others to get much more than a word in…I was young, and my beef was always with others instead of the reality of the situation—that I, in most cases was the actual problem.
I remember him telling me once, “Jeanna…you just need to just—lower your expectations—!
A man of few words, I still remember this…and what (probably) came afterwards towards him was a tidal wave a defense mechanisms, all that defended my stance and character defects in feeling as though I’d been stunned, shunned, and insulted to the highest degree.
It wouldn’t be until years later that this conversation would rear its head again, and this time it came at a point in time (when I was much older and in recovery), that I was willing to listen.
“Lowering your expectations,” even now sounds so defeatist to me. But when I really think about it, it’s truly just a ploy to help us understand how to get rid of that “all or nothing” thinking—that slight nudge we all have towards “perfectionism.”
“Progress not perfection,” they say…but what does that even mean, and how does that slogan even apply to all aspects of our journey when it comes to lowering our expectations.
For me, I realize now, that lowering my expectations does NOT mean lowering my standards, changing my values, or lowering the bar in the creation of my goals.
It does; however, mean, that I sometimes expect more out of others and situations that are even possible and THAT is what sets me up for failure and the awful feelings of disappointment and despair…and when I feel let down by others it can sometimes feel like I’m unloved, taken for granted, or that I’m on some type of “no fly” list.
So I’ve learned to lean in to what “lowering expectations” means for others and so far I’ve learned that it’s actually a very healthy way of defeating the “all or nothing” mentality.
Sometimes we wait for that perfect moment or person to come along in our lives in order to make a decision. Honest mistake, but one in which the all or nothing approach loves best…
Our minds tell us that we should be validated and emotionally invested and supported by others in order to be successful but in reality, that’s only looking for trouble. Lowering our expectations of others means we no longer need their emotional validation in order for us to be successful.
Lowering expectations can also mean:
-a realistic and achievable viewpoint
-being relevant and helpful
-making things doable
-preparation for long term success
-ensuring our success by making responsible and mature choices
-being forgiving of others and oneself
So instead of carrying the stigma of negative consequences that “lowering expectations” used to have for me, I’ve flipped the script; today I instill my own best practices which include lowering my expectations and heightening realistic outcomes.
Here’s to a new day full of endless opportunities and great things for those who choose to be part of the journey in finding joy in the adventure.
Having people who “don’t prefer you,” means you are living life as your true authentic self.
That you aren’t trying to make everyone like you or, “people please.”
When you, “people please,” you rob God’s handiwork in allowing others to be touched by His masterpiece…which is, of course—YOU.
Practicing self care, self love can also include simply being yourself.
Stay in your own lane—with God.
You will always be loved by Him and be safe.
He made You—on Purpose!
And He made You—for a Purpose!
Today’s blog post is dedicated to my Grandma, Norma Jean Vensel, one of the only members of my family to actually take interest in, and read my writing. She passed away this month at the age of 89; this one is for you, Grandma—thank you for always making me feel proud of who I am as a loved Child of God.
I just found two full boxes of baking supplies in my dining room.
They have literally been there since Christmas…but not only did they have Christmas baking supplies in them, they also had much Valentine’s Day, red sprinkles, muffin cups for Easter, little bunny candies, and all kinds of sugary toppings one could indulge themselves with if they truly really hated themselves.
And I’m wondering…was that me???
When I took these boxes straight to the garbage can, I felt sick. I hesitated for a split second in wondering if I should be (wasting) throwing away perfectly good bags of Hershey Kisses and opened but slightly used bags of powdered sugar…the sprinkles from every holiday that had been opened and half used…should I be jamming them down into the garbage the way I was??? And why was I feeling so…
I don’t know.
I had a hard time even describing to myself everything I felt while doing this.
But it didn’t feel good…
This would have typically been a moment for me to call my mother. But instead, I decided to see if I could determine what was bothering me on my own. I had a close uncle of mine pass away somewhat recently and it truly rocked my side of the family’s world. Ever since then, I can’t help but put my own expiration date into view. It made me realize that my parents wouldn’t be here forever, that someday, and maybe someday sooner than I want, I will be here alone. And there will be no one to call to talk me through such moments of distress, or questions about life, etc.
This may sound sad, but it is part of life. And if anything, I believe that it makes us appreciate each day and each other a little bit more…hug people when you can. Listen and learn from them things they have taken from their life that they are willing to openly share…
When I was cleaning up this bakery gone wild station, it reinforced for the first time for ME that I was doing what I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it and it was all my decision. It became empowering in that way. I sorted through these feelings and decided I should blog or write about what was within me here instead of eating my feelings. And so far, I believe I have made some major progress when it comes to developing new tactics to unsolved problems— and when it comes to new strategies in dealing with triggers and life’s offerings that we don’t always handle the best way we could. So, points for that one too.
Part of my journey has taught me, especially most recently, that “progress, not perfection” goes a very long way, and that self-love and in particular self-compassion, can often save you from yourself.
What I mean is instead of whipping myself for any little mistake or lack thereof that I might have done before, instead I leaned into the notion that I truly was, one of my own best friends…so, what, or how would I speak to a friend in this same situation? I used that voice to determine my outcome, and it completely changed my train of thought; it forgave and loved me for all that I have been through…and furthermore it asked me to put away my harsh voice, and to never let it back in the door ever again.
We all make choices, but knowing who we are…at the very pit of us…at the very bottom of our very lowest, is where we often find who we are looking for…and sometimes you must dig very very deep to find this person, and often when you do find them, they are huddled shivering in a dark corner somewhere…and that’s when you realize that in order to save yourself…you must first forgive yourself, you must love yourself, you must see yourself as God sees you…as a child. As one of His children. And no one can change that. You belong somewhere. And you are forever and ever loved.
The sooner you believe this and feel this, the freer you might be from all the things that try to tell you otherwise. And there are tons of delusions in our world; lots of trains of thought that get us… that turn our heads in the wrong direction, ones that confuse and devastate us, and truly ones that break our heart…but know–that you are never broken. You may feel sometimes like you have been smashed and pieces of you and your soul are everywhere…but it is only confusion. The strength and love that is inside of you, is always much greater than what anything outside of you could ever do.
I hope that this reaches someone today that needs to hear some type of message about love. I consider myself a continued survivor. What I mean by that I’m not quite sure…but I keep on living and healing and loving and somehow? It makes my life more and more worth living. So, I thank you, God. Thank you to my Higher Power for working through me to help others, to love them, to help them see themselves for the magnificence that they truly are.
My past tells me there is nothing worse than family pain, but even worse than that is when it becomes public. I remember trying very hard (in the moment) to not say or do anything I’d later regret, to rise above, and to grant forgiveness even though it was never asked for, even when I was being dragged through the coals unnecessarily or when I felt completely wronged. I stayed silent.
I said nothing in response to the character attacks, to the assassination that was me… And I apologized for anything I could’ve done to deserve abandonment. And I stayed silent.
No one knew the truth. My truth. And I didn’t dare suggest it in order to not disrespect my family or out them in their privacy. Even though they ripped mine apart. I stayed silent.
In the end I apologized for things that I could’ve been accountable for, which were nill, but I did it anyway. I did it to reestablish the peace, not just for me, but for my household, the ones living amongst my pain and chaos. And then, I stayed silent.
After this was over, after I was forgiven, I never was afforded the same understanding. And I stayed silent.
It bothered me briefly, but I put it away and moved on…I stayed silent.
What I learned is that some people need to be understood in their own ignorance. That some people need left right where they are so that you can move on… Some people will never get the opportunity to grow because they can’t allow themselves to see fault or accept any type of accountability or responsibility for their part that they played in anything. And that is the true crime—the life that’s not lived. The stagnant soul. The one that refuses change. Change being the reason life’s worth living in the first place.