Monday, May 5, 2014

Learning to Come From a Place of Yes

I used to be a real piece of work--a real bear to be around.  I was right about everything, but mostly I was right about stupid stuff--stupid conflicts, conjured dilemmas or imagined scenarios I'd made up in my head.  I didn't enjoy discord but it was oxygen to my demon's flame.  It was one of the few ways I felt alive
as the adrenaline rushed through my body to win an argument, to prove a point, to eviscerate my target with words.

I had loads of hangups and rules and God help you if you disrupted a ritual.  I liked things the way I liked them and that was just that.....or so I thought.  Once I got used to something and it was reliable and functioning well, I did NOT want to change it.

My husband has no problem with and to some extent enjoys change.  He'll change phones, phone companies, vehicles, service providers, gaming consoles--you name it, if it's bigger and better, and most definitely if it's cheaper, he's okay with changing it.

Along with everything else that had to go my way, I did not and still do not like to fix things that ain't broke.  He would get zero cooperation from me when it came to jumping from AT&T to Sprint, from an iphone to an android or whatever else he was of a mind to do.  I couldn't ever just say, "Ok."  I had lists of reasons--great reasons and none of his mattered.

Over time he grew bitter and resented me for always insisting that things go my way, for never caring about what he wanted, for never just doing things his way.  And then I got sober.

For the first time I had enough self control to actually HEAR what my husband was saying.

This new found access to my empathy stash allowed me to CARE about how he was feeling.

My growing desire to be godly demanded that I THINK more highly of others than I do myself (Philippians 2:3-4).....

......so, I committed to, as Bethenny Frankel would say, start coming from a place of yes.  As many of you know, I've been sober for three years now.  Little did I know that coming from a place of yes was about to facilitate some major healing--a healing of a deep wound that had taken years to create and ultimately three years to heal.

My Skip has been a New Orleans Saints fan since 1978.  Last football season was tough for him.  He could rarely catch a game here on Long Island.  Several weeks ago he said to me, "Remember that business card you kept for me when that guy from Optimum came through the neighborhood?"

That had been my first mistake--err uh, attempt to come from a place of yes.  I'd given Skip the card back in February knowing that he really wanted to watch his games when I should have--err uh, could have just thrown it away.  Alright, I said to myself.  It's time to put on my big girl panties and do this for my man.

Just like every other time we'd made these types of changes I began to feel pressure, like someone was sitting on my chest.  I felt nervous and wary.  I fought back feelings of anger and resentment.  Every realization of a new, negative aspect of the change hit me like a splash of cold water in the face.  I hated that workers would be coming to the house.  Uugh.  I HATED how long the changeover was going to take.  They're always at the house for so LONG!

Once the change had been made the real nightmare began.  I have one, handwritten page worth of shows that I DVR throughout the year--the new DVR did not work for three days.  I probably didn't miss much but I was livid on principle.  Everything about Optimum is backward, in my opinion.  The system and the remote drive me absolutely mad (pun intended.)

I was frustrated and communicated such, but didn't lash out at my husband.  I was at the end of my rope, but managed to not demand that we return to Verizon Fios.   I tucked my chin and I was gonna get through this for my man--this was the new me!

Finally, I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes, half thinking-half praying to myself wondering what my deal was!  I was a wreck!  I was nervous, antsy, full of dread......and I said to myself what many of you have already said--this is not normal.  All these years I never correlated my deep aversion for certain types of change with my broken brain.

In an instant, everything made sense.  My way of watching television is highly ritualized.  It was woven into my almost daily pattern as a way to decompress, to turn off, to check out, or at times to even reward myself.  I could manipulate the Fios remote like nobody's business.  I could fly through the guide, the DVR, go forward, backward, program--all that, half asleep and with my eyes shut.

I realized that I self-sooth by engaging in thoughtless rituals that produce favorable results.  I already knew I did that with food--I love to binge, but never considered the many other types of ways I self-soothe.

I've been having more good days than bad for several months now, but when a bad one comes along, I'll sometimes press pause on life and soothe myself with my television rituals.  Now that one of my safety blankets was gone, (some the others include my iPhone and my personal space/privacy,) my system was in a state of panic.

I found this discovery to be fascinating and this new knowledge life changing.  I found that level of dependence on any thing or ritual to be disturbing and unhealthy.  It's my story today, but my goal is to one day be dependent on nothing but God for my comfort & respite.  I want His words and promises alone to soothe me and keep me steady.

But, here's the piece that somebody out there needs to know.  All I've ever wanted was for my husband to care deeply about my feelings, to handle me with kid gloves and treat me like a gentle flower--never mind that I often behaved like a rabid bull.  I finally got what I wanted when I put his needs higher than my own, even though mine turned out to be much more valid than even I realized.

My husband is a war veteran and the war has left its scars.  I said to him, "You know how uncomfortable you feel at parades to the point that you would rather not go?  That's the level of discomfort I feel when we change certain things in our lives."  He got it for the first time in 7 years and he felt so bad.  "All this time," he told me, "I just thought you were selfish.  I'm so sorry."

What a moment that was.  I finally quieted the bull enough for my husband to notice my gentle flower.  He noticed it.  He was so careful with it.  He promised to protect it and that's all I ever wanted.

I'm really starting to enjoy the mysterious scavenger hunt of it all.  On one hand I have a set of people or circumstances I'd love to change and no idea how to change it.  Then in the other hand I have God's word.  And, what's really cool is each time I act in obedience to God's word, I look back over into my hand of wants and invariably there's a new check in one of the boxes.

You never know what awesome ripple effect your obedience is going to have in your life and the surprises just keep getting better and better.

If you could see my flower today, Holla Back!! "Sweet garden, Nyla!" in the comments.  Y'all be good.  Until next time--all my love.

Please contact the lovely
Mrs. Bette Womack
for all your Mary Kay needs!