Letting Go of Old Ideas

I was at an AA meeting yesterday and the topic was “Letting Go of Old Ideas”.  I had a lot to say about this.  The first thing that came to my mind was Fear of Authority.  Every time someone tells me, “Hey, can I talk to you for a second,” and they bring me into a dark hallway to have a confrontational conversation, I freak out.  I am so scared of being in trouble and having someone else shame me for what I have done wrong.  That is an old idea I am so over believing.  I recently wrote a list of reasons Why Authority Is Good.  Among those on the list were: they keep me safe, it’s their job, it’s my job to listen to their feedback.  I have to re-frame in my mind why managers, leaders, bosses, CEOs, parents are good for society.  I also have to look closer at criticism.  Sometimes the things people tell me are helpful, other times it is the other person power tripping.  I have become semi-permeable, able to decide what energy from other people gets to enter my being and effect me and letting the rest just pass by.  This has been a very, very difficult lesson to learn.  I learned it by studying all about it (The Four Agreements is a great place to start) and practicing first self compassion followed by compassion for others.  When I stand across from someone who is negatively impacting the world I try to silently send love towards them, by doing this I get to protect the way I feel.  The second old idea I have let go of is the need to be bigger and better than the people around me.  This was a challenge for me.  If life were a pie, I tend to either want to eat the whole darn thing and leave nothing for you, or I don’t want any, “I’m fine”.  Life used to be lived in such extremes as all or nothing.  If all the people working at a job or sitting in a classroom were pieces of said pie, I have learned to see myself as just another piece of pie, the same size and flavor as those around me.  Together we all make up the whole.  This is what they call “being right sized” in AA.  The third old idea that I am constantly letting go and taking back again comes from my character defect list.  It’s my top character defect actually.  It pops up in nearly every tenth step that I do.  It is:  I want you to be be different than you are so that I can feel comfortable.  Now, I know where this comes from.  I had four different accents before the age of five.  That’s an awful lot of adjusting to other people.  It’s no wonder that I want others to be different, I’m sick of changing to fit in.  But all that it does it cause resentments with in me.   What I have been working on lately is trying to be comfortable despite the other person.  I do this by breathing, meditating, praying, and even just trying to drop my shoulders down from my ears.  They tend to rise up as I feel more tense.  The final old idea that I have recently been working on letting go is “it’s not ok to be real with you.”  I am so scared that if I tell people the truth about me that I am going to get teased.  I was bullied a lot growing up and people often used the honest things I told them against me.  I remember one particular incident where I shared with a “friend” that I had a battle with lice over the weekend.  They proceeded to announce to the entire class room “Amy has lice!” and then they called me lice girl for the rest of the year.  Talk about never wanting to share ever again.  “No one can be trusted”, the critic within me says.  That’s just not true.  I have learned in AA that trust can be built one share at a time.  I’m not alone, when I share in AA my painful truth, I end up getting held like a baby and taken out to lunch after.  I am so grateful that these old ideas are just that- old!

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