“Expectations are premeditated resentments.”
Oh how I still like to try to control people, places and things. Even though the first step teaches me about my powerlessness, and the third step gives me the tools to dealing with life, I still find myself resentful when things don’t go my way. And I can usually trace my resentments back to my expectations. Expectations are indications that I haven’t fully turned my will and life over to God. It means I’ve forgotten that my job is to suit up and show up and that it is God’s job to take care of the results. Since expectations are results in disguise, it’s no wonder they so easily lead to resentments. Today I use expectations as reminders to refocus my energy and thoughts on the actions that I have to take and to stay out of the results. I immediately do a quick first, second, and third step on the situation and turn my expectations over to my higher power. Doing this allows me to be truly open to the gifts in the results (and they are always there if I am open to them), and it keeps me safe from unnecessary resentments. This program does really work when I work it.
“What other people think of me is none of my business.” How much of my time have I spent worrying about what other people think of me? Too much is the short answer. Before recovery in Al-Anon, I had no boundaries, no sense of self, and how I felt about myself and my life was largely determined by whether or not you approved. With no internal awareness, other people’s likes and dislikes, moods and opinions were the compass I used to direct my emotional life. It was exhausting. ‘Put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror.’ One of the most precious gifts I have been given in Al-Anon is the freedom and encouragement to discover and validate my feelings. And this process began when I was taught to take the focus off of others and to look within for my own truth. At first this was an unfamiliar and uncomfortable process, but it was the only path to the security, confidence and peace I have always craved. Today I know that my feelings are valid, and I’ve come to trust and rely on them. I know that other people have their own thoughts and opinions and know they are valid for them as well. But today there is a boundary between the two, and my sense of self is no longer linked to other people’s approval. Today I enjoy the freedom and empowerment that comes from having and respecting myself.