Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Because you are loved (2)

The only person we have a chance at changing is ourselves.      
First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye. Jesus

We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc. from Tony A.: The 14 Traits of an Adult Child

Pleasing others is a default many clergy have learned through years of serving others. However, tying my emotional well-being to the approval of others is something I learned at a young age.

In families impacted by addiction, alcoholism, or dysfunction, a survival trait often acquired to survive is people-pleasing and  we live by the illusion of fixing others. We may have tried valiantly to change our troubled and toxic family into a loving and supportive one. And we continue that fruitless effort with those closest to us in the present.

Like the children in the movie, Boyhood, every day is lived walking on emotional egg shells. That means that hyper vigilance is the baseline reality for our bodies. Stress hormones running overtime, in fight or flight default. 
That's the physical cost of people-pleasing and the futility of controlling what we cannot, in the end, manage: the behavior and choices and addictions of others. The emotional focus also becomes other- centered, in a toxic way. Jesus spoke to this persistent focus on others, a trait shared by many, but especially apart of the adult child's experience.
How sad and ironic that "Christians" may think we are given the privilege and necessity of judging others in the name of Jesus, that the Christ himself somehow gives us that right because we go to church. Read the words: according to Jesus, one of the chief signs of  healthy spirituality is self-examination, not focusing on others.
When we release ourselves from the responsibility for others, a new freedom to be ourselves is possible. By learning to keep the focus on ourselves in the here and now, taking responsibility for our own life, we can be free from focusing on others in emotional dependence, blame, or judgment.   

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