Vulnerability vs Humility

I recently watched a bunch of videos by Brene Brown on the power of Vulnerability.  I was fascinated!  It seemed like the answer to all of my problems.  It seemed like the magic wand.  Her research showed that the people who were Vulnerable were much happier and more successful than other people.

Once I got over my self change frenzy, I calmed down and weighed it against what I know in the gospel and how it lines up with my beliefs.  I realized that Ms Brown’s definition of Vulnerability is close to what I call Humility with a few differences.

Vulnerability

  • Admit that you are weak
  • Believe that in exposing your weaknesses you will actually be stronger and more authentic
  • Have the faith and courage to do this because Brene suggested it and you believe what she says

Humility

  • Admit that you are weak and need God’s help
  • Be willing to work on your weaknesses
  • Understand that God gave you weakness so that if you come to him, he will make your weaknesses become your strengths
  • Be willing to believe that Jesus Christ has a plan for you and that by having faith in him and following his plan which includes praying for help and obeying his commandments, that he will give you the power to overcome your weaknesses.

To me Humility is so much more warm and helpful.  It incorporates God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost who are united in their purpose to help you.  I respect Brene Brown and enjoy her insights into life but will be pursuing the path of Humility rather than Vulnerability.

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The Silent Rescue

I have found out that you can rescue even when you think that you aren’t.  My husband is the busiest person on the planet and has wanted to be a CASA for a long time.  I have strongly opposed this in the past because it would take away from family time.  My new, non-controlling self stood back and let him become one, even though I was skeptical that he could squeeze anything more into his life.

Well…..he has gotten his first case and is now feeling the pain.  It isn’t a theoretical exercise anymore.  It is real with real people and these people act in disturbing ways.  He is depressed and unhappy about what he is doing.  Now I am silently fuming and congratulating myself on being right.  Yup – I am still in a rescue.  I am feeling discomfort with his dilemma, urgency to do something, saintliness, and extreme responsibility for him.  I am viewing him as helpless and unable to make good decisions about time management.

I need to step back, step away, and allow whatever is going to happen to happen.  I am off to a neighbor’s to consult about Genealogy, which is my favorite thing to do.

Praying in the Moment of Temptation

I have been thinking about how strong my willingness is to pray to God for help instead of yielding to addiction in the moment of temptation.  It is something worth considering and working on.

I tend to escape into working on Family History.  It is a “good activity” but I take it too far: I stay up too late; get headaches from working on the computer too much; and sometimes work on it instead of spending time with my family.   Whatever my current addictive behavior is, whether it is using some sort of substance or engaging in some sort of activity, it is all about numbing painful feelings and me not having very good boundaries.

Tonight at 9pm, if I am not able to step away from the computer, I will pray for help to stop.

Dealing with Anger

Dealing with anger is so big that it can only be dealt with in little chunks at a time.  I have some myths about anger such as

  • It is not ok to feel angry
  • If other people are angry with me then I made them feel that way and I am responsible for fixing their feelings

I was overcome with anger and fear yesterday after some troubling parent/child interactions and I prayed for help.  When I went out to interact with the family I was able to eventually start behaving normally instead of having a frozen face and I was able to know what to do in order to be present with the child in the evening and have some low key interactions.  It seems like magic because I was not acting the way that I normally do – which would have been stressed out, resentful, and withdrawn.  The Lord really did help me through this difficult situation.

The preparation that I did before I went out to interact with the family is that I allowed myself to feel the anger and then I started writing.  After I finished venting I identified my unreasonable expectation which was that I am not qualified to be a parent because I am flawed.  I am terrified that I will permanently harm my children because of my weaknesses and my codependent traits and have these ideas that there is the perfect “Authoritative” parent out there, which is not me, and that I do not measure up.

My reasonable expectations are:

All parents are flawed.  Kids are going to suffer from the weaknesses of their parents but they are given ample opportunities to heal.   Keep trying – you don’t have to be a great parent, just a good one.

Hiding in My Room

What keeps you from “crying mightily” to God for deliverance according to His Will? LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery Program, Step 3

Laziness, pride in my own abilities, forgetfulness.  I am going through some major emotional turmoil as we are trying to implement some new rules in the family that have been met with anger and opposition.  Normally I would just withdraw, overeat and oversleep but I tried praying for help this time. I felt the love of God for me and some relief from the stress but I seem to just keep grabbing it back and refusing to let it go.

I am currently hiding in my room so I am still withdrawing but I haven’t binged out on chocolate chip cookies and haven’t taken a really long nap.  I not only feel really uncomfortable with my own emotions but I am terrified of other people’s negative emotions, especially if they are directed at me.

I am trying to deal with my emotions appropriately by giving myself and the other person permission to feel angry, actually feeling the emotion, and then trying to identify the underlying thoughts and beliefs.

The Moment of Temptation

ARP Step 3 “Consider the importance of praying in the moment of temptation, and write about how prayer will strengthen your humility and faith in Christ.”  I think that praying right when I start to notice that my feelings are escalating, is a good idea. It will turn my thoughts back to Christ and I will acknowledge that I need help.  Faith is believing that Christ can and will help you.

I was thinking that abstinence from an addiction such as codependence means choosing not to over react, control, obsess or repress emotions.  It means that if I do start to have a negative reaction, that I work to overcome it.

This weekend I really tried hard to not take rejection so personally.  I have had a bunch of people not respond to my emails and texts and that is hurtful and feels like rejection.  I have had to go through each of the people who didn’t respond to me and imagine what hardships are going on in their own lives and how them not responding to me is a reflection of them and not me.  I have had to acknowledge the pain and anger that I feel when it seems like someone is rejecting me and actually stay with the feeling until the emotional energy passes.  It is foreign to actually feel emotions.  I have repressed them or used some sort of substance or behavior to escape from them for so long that the actual feeling of negative emotions is excruciating.

Dealing with Rejection

Addiction Work

ARP Step 3 “Helaman 3:35 – They did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.”

” How can fasting strengthen your ability to yield your heart to God and abstain from addiction?”  Fasting definitely increases my humility as I come up against the wall of my own physical strength and desires.  In less than 24 hours without food or water, I become shaky, fragile, and a bit obsessed with food.

God has given me a lot of power when I fast, extra strength to overcome challenges or gain strength in an area of weakness.  This would apply again to fasting specifically for help to be able to better yield my heart to God and abstain from codependent behavior.

Next Fast Sunday I am going to specifically ask for help to become more submissive to the will of God and for help to overcome my codependent behavior.

Codependence Work

Triggers are some kind of stimulation that creates a response.  Yesterday I was triggered when Sofia decided to not participate in Family Zumba at the YMCA.  I struggle with feelings of rejection when she doesn’t participate.

Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. Chapter 4 ‘Don’t be Blown about by Every Wind’.  “We don’t have to take rejection as a reflection of our self-worth.  If somebody who is important (or even someone unimportant) to you rejects you or your choices,you are still real, and you are still worth every bit as much as you would be if you had not been rejected.  Feel any feelings that go with rejection; talk about your thoughts; but don’t forfeit your self esteem to another’s disapproval or rejection of who you are or what you have done.  Even if the most important person in your world reject you, you are still real, and you are still okay.  If you you have done something inappropriate or you need to solve a problem or change a behavior, then take appropriate steps to take care of yourself.  But don’t reject yourself, and don’t give so much power to other people’s rejection of you.  It isn’t necessary.”

I am terrified of rejection and read anything as a hint of rejection

“We don’t have to take little things personally either.  If someone has a bad day or gets angry, don’t assume it has something to do with you.  It may or may not have something to do with you.  If it does you’ll find out.  Usually things have far less to do with us than we think.”  Codependent No More.

I decided not to react to Sofia not participating in Family Zumba but rather reading her book in the corner of the gym.  I went and had fun and tried to distract myself from her and her gloomy mood.  I don’t know what is really going on with her but it most likely doesn’t have anything to do with me.  She recovered after we got home and she had something to eat and we had family movie night.

“An interruption, someone else’s bad mood, sharp tongue, bad day, negative thoughts, problems, or active [compulsive behavior] does not have to run or ruin our lives, our day, or even an hour of our day.  If people don’t want to be with us or act healthy, it is not a reflection on our self-worth.  It reflects on their present circumstances.  By practicing detachment we can lessen our destructive reaction to the world around us…Who areyou to say that the interruption, mood, word, bad day, thought or problem is not an important and necessary part of life?  Who are you to say that this problem won’t ultimately be beneficial to you or someone else?”

Today I am going to not take other people’s moods or lack of support personally.  I am going to allow them to be responsible for their present circumstances and will take care of myself and be happy.