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It isn't always something wrong with you

In recovery we hear that if a person is causing us to feel irritated or angry, it is a reflection of ourselves. There is something wrong with us that we need to work on. While this is frequently the case, it is not always true. As we grow each day, we become healthier, more spiritual beings and we recognize certain behaviors and words as potentially harmful to our spirits. So rather than doing the insidiously shame-based thing, let's examine this from another possibility.

We will use a work place example, since just about every work site has an individual who is controlling, bossy and rude. Now if this is not who you are or if you have been diligently living a recovery life, and this is not who you are today, this individual has the potential to irritate you. Similar to a mosquito bite irritating your skin, controlling, rude people irritate your spirit. Since we are spiritual beings having a human experience, no matter how spiritually fit we are, there will be times when this person replaces our serenity with anger.

Anger is a normal human emotion. There is nothing wrong with it. It's what we do with anger that has the potential to cause problems. Fortunately for those of us in recovery, we have a great big box filled with many tools. The first tool to pick up is non-judgmental acknowledgement. We admit we are angry or irritated and let ourselves feel it without causing harm to anyone. We take deep breaths and regain our center. The next tool we immediately pick up is acceptance. We accept that this person is who he/she is and we can't change that. We will pick this tool up and use it a million times in our life. Then we pick up a warm, fuzzy tool called gratitude and feel grateful that we are not behaving or speaking in controlling, rude ways today. We feel grateful that we have learned a sense of respect for ourselves and others.

Another tool we may choose to use is open, honest communication. We talk to this individual about our concerns in an assertive, respectful manner. We know this isn't to change the person but to change us back to our serenity. We then pick up the tool of prayer. This is where many of us groan. We don't want to pray for this person! But we do it anyway. We ask a Higher Power to please grant this person love and joy and all the happiness he/she could possibly want.

Depending on how closely we have to work with this person, we may find ourselves using these tools...A LOT. That's ok. It's what they are there for. Most of us are never going to be Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama but none of us have to be douche bags either. We can be sober, serene beings walking a helpful path.

So the next time someone really gets under your skin, strap on your tool belt and go to work. You will feel grateful you did.


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