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July 15 • Seven Rules

Day 737

As I was preparing to write today, I received a poster from my counselor that just jumped into me and made me want to process it with a keyboard. Let's see where this goes...

The 7 Rules of Life:

1. Make peace with your past... so it won't disturb your future.

Easy for you to say. My heart is still filled with shame for my behaviors. I know that's not helping, but I've not figured out the magic formula for making peace. I do like what this says about the future. My re-write would suggest that the more I hold on to my past, the more it will be with me in the future. Is that what I want? Of course not. I don't remember thinking about it in that context before. Dropping the load is more than just letting go of it all at once; if I start leaving it here, it won't be such a burden when I get there.

2. What other people think of you... is none of your business.

Stop right there. Whatever comes next will crush my toes because of the awful things I've done in the name of appeasing others, even if they didn't want me to... Wait, the second line is different... What they think of me is none of my business?? Telling myself that it's stupid to worry about others' opinions hasn't helped me release this paranoia, so maybe I can shift that to a privacy issue and let others carry their own damn weight.

3. The only person in charge... of your happiness is you.

This one I get in my head, but not in my soul. Everything in me says I have an obligation to make others happy (even though I can really suck at it), and if they love me, they'll make me happy, too. Frankly, I justified a lot of my acting out by telling myself I was finally doing things just for me, and I don't want to go back to that egocentric thinking. I do not believe that that is the message; I'm just confessing that I do not understand anything about this, outside of a textbook or intellectual concept.

4. Don't compare your life... to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.

I think I'm okay on this one, although I may be coming from the wrong direction. If it's telling me not to be envious of the Joneses, no worries. If it's telling me that thinking I'm not worthy of comparisons to most people I know... I can see where that would be a joy stealer.

5. Time heals almost everything... Give it time.

With apologies to the semantics police, I don't think time heals anything; it just allows us the opportunities to acquire the tools to better deal with our pain, if we choose to do that.

6. STOP thinking so much... It's alright not to know all the answers.

That's why I was spending so much time inebriated during the last several months of my acting out. It was glorious when I could stop logically thinking about illogical shit. I just haven't found a way to do that without the assistance of America's favorite liquid chemicals. And since I haven't had a drink in 647 days, thinking less has not been a thing.

7. SMILE... You don't own all the problems in the world.

There are a billion and a half Chinese that don't give a flying flip if I ever make it through recovery, and that makes me smile and remember a former boss who would yell at me all day, then always help me with perspective right before a deadline by reminding me that I was feeling a lot of pressure for such an insignificant blip on a map. I do work hard at presenting a positive countenance, but I'm pretty awful at it, according to an awful lot of people. I'll keep trying.

I'm not sure who wrote these seven rules; the poster says it was some guy named "Arthur Unknown." However, I find them very similar to another list I discovered once upon a time in a Steven Covey book; I hope I can understand and embrace them more this time than I did that time.




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