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I Know You Know...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

One evening, I picked a paragraph from the stories in the back of the book (Big Book of AA) that talks about acceptance and how lack of acceptance is what causes us so much torment. I thought this was so true (and still do). However, being the complex beings that we are (as you state), the meeting grew heated! People said:

If you accept it, you don't have to change it.
It's in the back of the book so it doesn't count.
Accepting it means you approve of it.
Accepting it means you are stuck with it.

And I thought, how can you move if you don't know where you are? Here I am. I am where I am. It's not good or bad. I accept my body as it is right now. That doesn't mean I am no longer responsible for it. I am acknowledging where I am. How ironic! My meeting topic of Acceptance was Unacceptable!

Other words for acceptance could be, make peace with it.

Oh no, I can't make peace with it. It is disgusting.

What are we saying? That we must fight it? That we must be not okay until we look the way we want to look? Body, go away and come back when you look the way I want you to look? Well, that won't work. Must we be miserable? Does that help us lose weight? A new diet: Misery makes you thin! Actually, misery makes me eat! So, why not make peace with it? I am where I am. Is that not the truth?

A number of years ago (I've never forgotten this), I looked at the money I had received from the person who had assisted me at the bank. I usually didn't check it. I just stuffed it in my purse and carried on. Like you, this one time I (for no reason that I can think of) looked at the money and at the receipt. I had been given ten dollars too much! For a split second, I contemplated my new-found wealth! This was a long, long time ago and ten bucks...well, anyway, my second thought took me back to the bank and I gave the ten dollars to that person.

You would have thought I had returned ten times ten dollars. That person was so grateful. She was so happy, so pleased, so relieved. She said they had a small amount they could be over/under each day and that my returning this money would make a huge difference when she closed her station. It was obvious that there were occasions when someone had made a different choice than I did.

It was just ten dollars--not as much as your food, Wispy, but it has the same root and we had the same thought process.

If this overpayment had happened when I was a kid, my mom and I would have celebrated it as if it was mana from heaven! I feel disloyal making that statement. Nonetheless, because my mom might have rationalized keeping the money, and her mom might have rationalized keeping the money, I feel blessed that I got to experience the relief of returning the money. It has taken me years and years to get over the idea that I am being disloyal if I do what I think is the right thing--not the thing that you think, or she thinks is the right thing--but the thing I think is the right thing--that is not disloyalty. In fact, that is the only loyalty that really matters.

And, just like your protecting your children, I, too, know what that means. Had anyone so much as looked at my children with an evil intent, they would have faced the wrath of someone who had left her normal social restraints back at home! I was so shy. But when I became a mom, a new part of Karen made itself known.

For approximately 50 of my 62 years, I judged myself lacking. I judged myself on what I did. I was a human doer, not a human being. I didn't know how to "be" very well. I don't know how to articulate it but, at some recent point, with frailties intact, I accepted myself as being worthy because I am. That's all. Not for what I do. But because I am. We are complex beings, says Wispy. And, she's right. And, yes, in our case, self-acceptance has been a hard-won thing. I feel myself filling up with joy as I write this.

Just maybe this life is to be enjoyed, relished, treated as an adventure. Perhaps, if we let ourselves make peace with where we are and know that we are doing what we can and where we are is just fine because, ta da, it is where we are, we can let go of the idea that our okayness depends on a number on a scale. Maybe we are okay anyway. If I get to do what I think is right (and where is the rule that says that is wrong?), then why not pick another song to sing and think of rainbows and babies and let things just continue to work out? It's worth a try, I think.




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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 12/15/2010 5:13PM

    I think you are right. Acceptance of where we are frees us to move forward from there. I hope everything is going great for you and you are having a wonderful December.
Cyndi

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KSGROTHE 12/2/2010 6:58PM

    This is a very interesting blog, Karen! I found the part about the reaction at your meeting to the subject of acceptance especially thought-provoking. I struggle a lot with self-acceptance, and I'm coming to believe that it may stem, in part, from a feeling that I was never really accepted by my parents for who I am. Or if they accepted me, I never felt like they (my dad in particular) thought I was good enough. As an example, when I brought home almost all As on my report card, my dad would question all the subjects I didn't get an A in (usually citizenship and handwriting). When I was getting all As in high school, he would ask me why I got some A-'s. I didn't get praise for the good things I did, I got "Why didn't you do even better?" No wonder I have so much problems thinking I'm good enough! Even now, I feel like he resents that I choose to continue living so far away from him (and only visit about twice a year) even though I'm the only one of his grown children who does not ask him for financial support and for help with my kids.

And so, I work on accepting myself, on being a more positive person, on being OK with imperfection. I don't have as much confidence in myself as I probably should have. But I'm slowly getting better at accepting myself.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

- Karen

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/2/2010 4:21PM

    I enjoyed your blog. Everyone is a unique special individual and should be embraced as such.

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JURI62 12/2/2010 5:17AM

    Karen-this is a great blog that evoked lots of feelings!
Acceptance is letting go of the hope for a better past!
That's what I focused on yesterday , my daughters 21st birthday...
lots of mistakes were made, regrets are there, but I did the best I could,
and I always did it with love...
I am enough, I have enough, I do enough!
and as a bankteller, I've got to say "Thank you" for returning that
money, you saved that teller time and anguish and possibly a bad
mark on her record! Kudos to you!

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