Pain causes our addictive behavior. One quick way to eliminate some of the pain is by facing reality. For that, this is my favorite tool: 15 Minute Solution of Step 10.
Question 1: Which emotion am I experiencing? The helps for that are covered in Tips For Healing Part 1.
Question 2: What specifically happened? In a phrase or two just write out something that you experienced which triggered the problematic emotion. In my case, my fear was caused by the weeks leading up to and following the 2016 election. Another example could be that a trusted person in your life made an unfavorable comment about you or compared you to someone else. Critical comments are great stress inducers!
Question 3: What does this affect? Stick to the form if possible because it works. There are obviously any number of possibilities but this is the method that has produced amazing results for millions! Choose one or more from these which come from the AA textbook:
- Personal Relationships
- Sexual Relationship
In the election example I discovered during Question 3 that my security was threatened. New political directions could adversely affect my life. Along with that, my personal relationships with friends and family were likely to become strained if I didn’t keep my opinions to myself.
In the situation of critical comments, self-esteem is threatened, especially if it’s based on someone else’s opinions. Also, personal relationships are affected. The value of knowing what is threatened is that we then can face reality. Is my self-esteem still fragile? Is this relationship worth so much of my emotional investment? It’s good information.
Question 4: How did I contribute to the problem? (What I said, did or didn‘t do, or thought – including my expectations.) Everytime I have worked this form, I find something that I’ve done. When it boils down to my responsibility in the issue, then there’s so much that I can hope for. I know I can change. I’m willing to! So the situation is relatively easy to resolve. Try changing anyone else and you have just created a huge impossibility and lost all hope!
I find that most of the time my contribution to the problem lies in my expectations. I expect people to behave in a manner consistent with my own values, not theirs. I want them to behave just like me. When they don’t and I’m adversely affected, it’s because I really don’t want them to be who they are. Talk about arrogance!
I have had to face the hard fact that no one else is me. (This fact is greatly appreciated and applauded by other people, but it’s still sometimes a shock to me.) When I’m being insightful, I realize the problem with my thinking; but when I’m emotionally knocked off center, I need to regroup and go through this worksheet to come to that conclusion.
One of two things is usually happening. I either pretend people are not who they are, or I expect people to change their basic character while I’m not looking. Neither one is happening! And, of course, I have the audacity to be blaming them for that. Sigh.
Although this is helpful and looking at our own behavior is accepting a big chunk of reality, we have two more questions before we have any real resolution. The next post will continue the tips for this worksheet.