There was a long span of time in my life where I hated the word hope. I didn’t believe in hope. I didn’t understand or identify with people who used the word hope. I thought of hope as a feeling of possibility. Hope allows us to feel positive but there was a time when I and my life felt hopeless.
I’m talking about shame. Not guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, but that I want to be invisible, just blend in and not be seen, that I don’t want anyone to know feeling and the only way to heal is to make a human connection by sharing that complete and total fear with someone trustworthy who will connect with you.
My Dad had expectations of the kind of job he would have, the kind of money he would be making, the kind of marriage he would have and when those expectations did not come to fruition, my Dad took the anger about his own life and directed it at a six year old child.
It seems to me there are two ways of thinking. I can see what I believe or I can believe what I see. In terms of Al-Anon that means I can continue to look at things through the eyes of the past or I can look at things in the eyes of the present. I can continue to hear the negative words that were said about me and feel the negativity of those events or I can think maybe that was just one person’s opinion.
I have been working hard over the last couple weeks to change my way of doing things. Or add the next layer of change to my life. And I can tell you work is hard and change is hard. Peeling off the next layer of the Al-Anon onion is hard.
But then again, not changing was hard. Continuing to repeat the same mistakes is hard. Continuing to fail at my own wishes and dreams was hard. Continuing the insanity of not changing was hard.
The last four decades, I wanted to believe I have no part in my own unhappiness because believing the lie seemed easier. I believed the lie that if he just stopped drinking I would be happier. If he just got a job I would be happier. If he would just do things my way I would be happier. If he would just see things my way I would be happier. If he would just put me first I would be happier. If he told me he loved me then I would be happier. Somehow “he” became me and I no longer existed.
Change requires effort. Our old way of thinking is engrained, it comes out of habit and it doesn’t require effort. Change requires an effort to think and do something different. It is an illusion that my old way is easier.