When I was attending Al-Anon I learned a concept that has stuck with me throughout the years- placing Principles above Personalities.
At the beginning of each meeting we would read what those principles were and what they represented. We would allow the people in the meeting to share their story in a safe non-judgmental environment and we all had something in common- we were struggling with our life. So we would come together and share our secrets, our weaknesses, our feelings and together we would encourage each other despite where we were in our journey in recovery. At the end of each meeting would stand up and hold hands in a circle and chant the Serenity Prayer-
These meetings were my air, my food, and my soul when life was incredibly difficult and confusing. Over and over again I was reminded that the circle was how we needed to view our relationships with our fellow human beings. You see, I use to view relationships as a ladder- either you were above me or below me. This narcissitic way of thinking gave me a superior or inferior complex. The reality was that we are brothers and sisters in a circle, and in the center of that circle is our higher power- as we understand who or what that higher power was.
I admit I sometimes go back to that old way of thinking when I am around people. Depending on education, economic class, and personalities. So I have to go back to the teachings of Al-Anon and remember that no one is above me or below me. We are all equal–just different. We are all loved– even if we don’t feel it. We are in fact brothers and sisters.
Speaking of brothers and sisters we all are familiar with the sibling rivalry. Brothers and Sisters fight. Conflict is a part of relationships. Sometimes we do and say stuff to cause disagreements, misunderstandings, and then before we know it a rift has been created and families are broken a part.
It’s no secret that my husband and his brother are in no speaking terms. It’s going on four years of no communication, no get togethers and now we have to celebrate big days separately with our friends and family. It’s hard. It’s heartbreaking.
I’m not going to give the details as to what happened for the rift to occur- what matters is that so much time has been lost.
So when I feel down and confused about situations like this- I say the Serenity Prayer, and remember that WE ALL do stuff that requires forgiveness, and forgiveness that is not freely given is to say that we are not children in a circle of equality, but children who are measured by the ladder.
What is most difficult about this whole situation is that when life happens we can’t be there to help. We can’t celebrate Big Moments- like Birthdays and Holidays.
Friends, I write this story because it’s hard and my heart aches. I write this because maybe, just maybe, you too are going through something similar. Hang in there. Share your story- you are not alone!
Life goes on.
If only we could stop fighting with each other and just practice forgiveness and placing principles above personalities. Maybe we need to admit when we are wrong and maybe we need to forgive.
And when that doesn’t happen:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change The courage to change the things I can And the wisdom to know the difference.