September 7, 2010

Self-Acceptance and My Emotions

The writer of September 5th's reading in Courage to Change shares that the list of shortcomings they had compiled in Step Four included an exhaustive list of emotions that hindered them.

So, it would make sense to think that Step Seven was the chance to ask God "to remove [all] anger, fear, and guilt."

This is a common misunderstanding that people may have, prior to sojourning in Al-anon and Emotions Anonymous programs: that their emotions are something to rid themselves of.
I have witnessed program participants in EA who did indeed feel anger was a defect of character. While we could have a healthy discussion of that, it must wait for another time.

In Emotions Anonymous, our Step One is in admitting powerlessness over these emotions. For me, this also means I refrain from judging my emotions, and considering them shortcomings or character defects. I find my problems arise, when I am unwilling to simply admit my feelings, accept them and let them go.

Today's CTC author puts this into words that make complete sense to me: "I have very little power over what feelings arise, but what I choose to do about them is my responsibility."

What creates peace in my life today is that I have learned to create space around my emotions, through acceptance of what I am feeling. When I simply have compassion, I am free to share about my emotions with others, rather than reacting or protecting myself.

Program gives us this concept,"Feelings are not facts." This can be helpful. I have learned, however, that my feelings have a reason for arising. My spiritual connection helps me see the cause, and react less to the emotion. Letting go of the emotion is part of the process, too.

My emotions show me I am alive--they will never be removed! "[I]nstead, I have been relieved of the shortcomings tha blocked my self-acceptance."

Today's Reminder

The Seventh Step does not require me to understand perfectly the nature of my shortcomings. It only requires my willingness to let God help me accept myself.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I need to feel things, even anger, fear and despair. But I don't have to dwell and live in those feelings. I can move past them.


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