One piece of learning from today is that I need to remember to be authentic and to speak from the heart.
I realise that I sometimes want to tell a good story. Either because it makes sense and holds some wisdom or because it puts me in a good light, but that’s not what really connects us to others. I feel most connected to people when I’m speaking from the heart about what’s going on for me in the moment. The top trump is when, in the moment, what I’m speaking about, from the heart, makes sense, includes wisdom and also puts me in a good light, but these aren’t the prerequisites.
The prerequisite is to share the moment and sometimes that means being vulnerable and admitting that I have no idea what’s going on for me. I don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes it’s good to share my confusion with a recovery buddy and have them provide some feedback and an alternate perspective on REALiTY.
This is what I love so much about being in the rooms and having 12 Step recovery buddies, because our default position is to be open, honest and vulnerable. When I’m working a good program it’s really easy for me to open up and share, because I’m connected to myself, but sometimes I get lost in EGO. When that happens I start to want to explain everything and this is where the story begins to develop. I move away from my heart and the feelings that I’m experiencing and into my head.
For someone who suffers from mental illness, spending too much time inside my head can be dangerous.
Today I realised that this is why I struggle to interact with people who aren’t in recovery. Generally, people are quite guarded, which means not opening up about what’s really going on inside, until we get to know the other person. This seems to be a societal “norm”. Our culture makes us believe that everything should be “amazing” and if you’re struggling, there is something wrong with you. Consumerism is partly based on perfectionism. The idea that LiFE “should” be perfect and if it isn’t, it’s because you aren’t consuming enough, which typically then boils down to not having enough and not being enough..
One of the key lessons that I’ve learnt in recovery is that my external REALiTY isn’t as important as my internal REALiTY.
When I come into contact with people who have yet to find recovery, I tend to clam up. I become fearful that my stories aren’t as entertaining as everyone else’s or that my stories are too extreme for general consumption. Either way, I don’t really want to tell a story that isn’t particularly relevant to what’s going on with me right now. These days I instinctively feel uncomfortable when I enter into EGO mode.
I spoke to a recovery buddy today and I realised that building relationships is a bit like going to the gym. I generally don’t want to go to the gym because it takes effort, can be challenging and sometime results in pain, but after I’ve done a good workout, I feel good. It also takes time to see the fruits of my labour.
In recovery, the time it takes for me to connect with fellow travellers can be pretty quick, as we are both automatically on the same wavelength, but non-recovery fellows need time to open up. I realise that this is what I’m bringing as my part to any relationship. I can be just as guarded as the next person.
I have a preconceived idea of what people who aren’t in recovery are going to be like, but essentially we are all one singular (((SHARE)D) CONSCiOUSNESS) surrounded by an EGO. I get that it’s not always appropriate to over share, but is it ever appropriate not to be authentic and honest about what’s going on? LiFE is about CONSCiOUS connections, not EGOiC projection.
What I think I’m eluding to, is that when it comes to being vulnerable, someone needs to go first. My experience in recovery provides me with the confidence to be that person. Rather than waiting for the next person to “be the change”, I need to be the change. I get that there is a fine line and sometimes, particularly in a work environment, people don’t always want connection, they just want to get on with their day, but when the opportunities present itself I’m going to start taking more leaps of faith and connecting with people.