By Jamie Moon
Too often we feel that they made us feel the way we do. We say things like “He hurt my feelings.” Or “She made me angry.” Is there any truth in this? People certainly say and do stupid things but are they responsible for our pain? Yes I know people say hurtful things, untrue things, things that are just wrong. Don’t we all. Doesn’t that give the world and its people dominion over us?
On the Twelve Step Retreats that I facilitate each year I often give an example when someone says something like the above. I say to them, “You are a Purple Penguin.” Inevitably they look at me and smile. I ask why they are smiling and they say, “Because that is ridicules.” I then ask “Why is that ridicules?” Then they respond, “Because I certainly am not a purple penguin.” Where I say “Exactly.”
It is not what people say to us that is the problem it is our own underlying belief in the possibility that they are right. If for example someone calls us dishonest it is simply because we have been dishonest (not necessarily in this situation) and are already angry with ourselves for being dishonest. The only cure is to fined the buttons that are being pushed within us and eliminating those buttons. Controlling our feelings does not mean stuffing them down or “Holding our mud.” As it is some times referred to.
We eliminate those faulty beliefs within us that is really the cause of our upset. I am very clear that we live in a world that has many many people that say and do stupid things. I certainly am one of them. So do I just allow every wind that blows contrary to the way I think it should, interrupt my peace of mind? Or do I make myself capable of living in such a world—in a peaceful, calm, contented, serene and well balanced way of being.
When we take responsibility for our feelings we have taken the first steps toward freedom of choice. I use to be one of those that all you had to do was look at me sideways and I would jump like a puppet. Thanks to the practice of a Daily Program presented to me via the Twelve Steps that is mostly no longer true. We become more able to be in control of the only thing we really have Power over—ourselves. Our Serenity Prayer tells us to accept the things we cannot change—others feelings, actions and beliefs. And asks for the courage to change the things we can—ourselves. This is the wisdom of the Program.