Recovery, Unclutter Your Life

How Honest Are You?

 The “Just for Today” reading this morning was about growing honest.  Think about how honest  you really are.  Do you return extra change to the cashier? Would you admit if you hit a parked car? 

Now, how about being honest with yourself.  Do you honor the person you are on the inside by honestly sharing with those are around you?  Maybe you are like me and don’t always know who the person is on the inside.  Maybe you have “white lied” or left out parts for so long, you have honestly lost the person inside….

We all say we want “the truth” but are we always ready to hear the “truth”???

I remember telling Belinda when she was growing up  “if she was honest with me, she wouldn’t get in trouble.”  I know you are probably thinking  “she’s CRAZY”, right?  Who is crazy enough to tell a child they wouldn’t get punished?  Was I scared of what she would tell me?  YES!  I wanted her to know I would always be there for her.   I stuck to my guns. When she did something wrong or thought I wouldn’t approve of some thing, she told me and she didn’t get punished.  I’m not foolish enough to think she admitted everything but I do know there were times when she did and I was grateful.  I think it helped us in building a strong relationship.

My first time in recovery, I was honest to myself.  I wanted the values I was learning (re-learning from my childhood) to be instilled in my daughter.  Sadly, as I made my way down the spiral to a relapse, those things were lost.  My “white lies” or not whole truths kept me from being the honest person I wanted to be.  It sent mixed messages when there should have been complete trust.  I chose pride over honesty until things were such a mess, I had not choice but to get “honest” with myself and others.

As I entered recovery for the second time, the phrase “honesty is the best policy” haunted me.  Doubt and fear had me convinced those I loved would walk away, never speaking to me again.  They trusted me.  They believed what they saw on the outside while I was trying to close the door on the inner gremlins seeking to get out on the inside.  How could I be honest with them?  I feared the pain I would cause.  I feared the outcome.  I feared the losing the people I cared about the most.  But we are only as sick as our secrets.  It was time to get honest and take the good with the bad….

With 22+ months clean, I am learning honesty is more about having faith.  It is trusting my Higher Power will be there to guide and protect me.  Do I still struggle with being honest about my feelings?  YUP!  I play through how I think the other person will react.  I play through all of the “what ifs”.  Then I turn it over (or at least try to) and trust in the process.

After losing a sponsor, I looked for another.  I valued this person’s honesty at meetings. In a conversation, they told me “you worry too much about what the result will be, just share your feelings.  Be honest because it is about YOU getting better”.  I tried their suggestion and it backfired. Because when stating my feelings, I lost all compassion for the person I was speaking to. I realized their honesty was often self-centered, without a caring and compassionate concern for others. NOT the person I wanted to be.  I learned compassion and honesty had to work hand in hand for me.  I’m learning there is a time and a place to be honest.  What I mean is maybe sharing my feelings is NOT appropriate at this moment and may be better done at another time….the feelings still get shared BUT it is done with compassion towards the other person.

”Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.”~Mary Kay Ash

This quote was in an early blog I wrote about honesty in business.  It can be applied to any aspect of your life.  Do we have self-confidence when we tell those “little lies” to hide our feelings?  Do we let doubt and fear take hold, so honesty goes out the door?  If you are lacking confidence, maybe you should look at how honest you are being to yourself and others.

For some honesty is the only way they have lived.  For others, being honest is something they have to re-learn because of past experiences.  How often have we thought we were being honest yet we were not sharing “everything”.  

When we are NOT 100% honest, we weave a tangled web.  We are being deceptive.  Believe it or not, after awhile we start to believe our own tales.  One small tale leads to another sort of like digging a ditch (one shovel full at a time).  Before long you are confused and lost in your own stories.  Reflecting, every time I lied or left out details (the times I remember) I was usually convincing myself I wasn’t good enough.  I was afraid of not living up to the expectations of others (which probably wasn’t there to begin with) or I just wanted to fit in.

Honesty cuts through the red tape, the distractions, the frustration and the indecision. Honesty gets you where you want to go faster because you live how you really feel. Believe it or not your intuition will give you a feel for what is in harmony with your heart.

Start by being honest with yourself. Be honest about your thoughts, words, actions and wants. Then think about your interaction with others and your personal relationships. Do people know your true self? If not, what are you afraid of?  Tough as it may be, own your feelings when you talk.  Don’t blame others!  I will admit this takes some practice.  I’m still learning!  Isn’t our immediate response to defend when we are hurt or angry?  I know mine is.  I easily react to something someone says instead of expressing my feelings honestly and openly.

Be honest with your friends, family and co-workers.  If you mess up – ADMIT it!  They will appreciate the honesty.  If we are viewed as “perfect”, others may hesitate to approach us.  The way you present yourself to others, being true to yourself and your values will shine through.

Honesty can lead to better health….. “Telling the truth when tempted to lie can significantly improve a person’s mental and physical health, according to a “Science of Honesty” study.  Makes sense, right?  Less stress.

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

What Matters Right Now?

For some reason this year, the holidays have me STUCK!  We have all been there from time to time, right?  I’m an emotional mess.  There is a multitude of reasons (or maybe excuses) I could give but the truth is I am stuck and struggling to reach goals – personally, professionally and financially.

Whether it’s a relationship problem,  a work challenge, a financial habit (good or bad) or a health dilemma……inevitably on the path to our goals, something gets in our way.  It is weird how this has hit me during the holidays.  As I reflect on the past year which was filled with LOTS of challenges and look forward to the new year, I am trying to put things in perspective.

I’m trying to get unstuck AGAIN!  Yup, unfortunately it happens more than once year for me and I’m sure for others too.  My focus gets pulled in a million directions.  My goals start to look unobtainable.  My emotions get jumbled and I am an emotional mess.  I often want to blame it on the MS but the truth is, I used to get like this BEFORE the diagnosis came along.  Time to take responsibility and face the fact I let everything and everyone influence me which causes me to lose my focus.  I play the comparison game despite my best efforts to squash those inner gremlins.  Comparison will not only steal your JOY but it will also have you wondering about “what really matters most?”.

I know, why am I rambling on about this, right?  The truth is there is ONE powerful question which always helps me.  When I find myself overwhelmed, distracted or bombarded with requests or life’s chaos, I stop and ask myself a simple question.  It usually helps me to regain my focus and use your time better:

What really matters right now?

It sounds so simple, right?  It is not as easy as it seems.  This simple, but perspective-shifting question can help you to get unstuck in the most common challenges of everyday life. There are times when the noise in my head is so great, even this one question is difficult to answer. During those times I stop and repeat the Serenity Prayer.   It has saved me more than once over the years when life became unglued.  It helps to focus my thoughts and THEN I can ask the question of “what really matters right now?”.  Staying focused in the present has actually been a blessing to me reaching my goals.

You may need to set a reminder on your phone – once an hour, twice a day or whatever works for you (or however often you need it).   Get into the habit of pausing and choosing what really matters right now. When you do, you’ll find your days more productive, your stress lowered and your time used well.  And in the end, you will find you have reached the goals you have set for yourself – short and long term.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life, Weigh to Goal

Drawing Lines in the Sand

Every once in awhile I get stuck, okay maybe more often then I care to admit.  Stuck on what to write about, stuck in my weightless journey, stuck in the comparison game – you get the picture, right?  What about you, are you stuck?

I was on a roll, the scale was steadily going down then something happened it STOPPED. When it stops (or creeps up), I get obsessed with getting on the scale every morning.  When the scale doesn’t move at home, the inner gremlins have a field day.

My business was on a roll (still is just not as crazy busy) and the inner gremlins started to creep in then the comparison game started.

So, for all of you who are with me, today is the day we draw a line in the sand… This is the day we SERIOUSLY hit the reset button and move forward.  

I often talk about setting the RESET button but truth be told, it tends to be just words. Am I committing to it or am I just going through the motions?  OUCH!  I have been going to weekly Weight Watcher meetings (I love my Thursday morning family) because it has been a BIG part of my weight loss journey and hitting goal.  Lately, I have been there in body but not in mind.  Focused on the number on the scale and missing the message.  Letting the inner gremlins talk about “wasting the money” since I am not at goal (just 8 pounds to go). You know what I mean, right?  You are there, half listening but the message doesn’t really sink in.  Or, you are listening and at the same time checking emails or scrolling through Facebook?  I have been a meeting person in some form since NA and found  it has always been my mental health therapy for the week when I am present!

So, let’s turn this around – whether you are stuck in your business, in your weightless journey, your job or_______________(you fill in the blank).  Join me in drawing a line in the sand and moving forward.  Step over the line and out of your comfort zone

Here are some inspirational thoughts which might help you:

  • “I’m not perfect, I am HUMAN”.  A cliche saying for some but it is a reminder I need – a dim light bulb moment.  It may not rock your world but it may remind you how often you compare yourself to others.  Time to get rid of the ANTs!  No, I don’t mean the little annoying critters, I mean the “automatic negative thinking”.  Did your light bulb go from DIM to BRIGHT.  I have ANTS!  I am not perfect but no one is.
  • This is a journey without a finish line!  Thank you Lynn for reminding me of this fact every week.  I am always looking for the finish line and it keeps moving.  My weight loss has been a LONG journey.  Losing 120 pounds took an eternity but it is okay because I did it.  The journey will continue even after I reach my goal weight.  A light at the end of the tunnel – NO!  It will just mean no more monthly payments to Weight Watchers but this time, I will not stop going to meetings.  Once I reach my goal weight, my goal will change to MAINTAINing it.
  • OWN your journey!  This means squashing all of those inner gremlins who like to play games.  This is your journey, not anyone else’s.  You need to focus on what matter’s most to you.  When we play the comparison game, we lose perspective on what is important to us and try to live in someone else’s shoes.  The woulda, shoulda, and coulda becomes a way of life instead of being present in YOUR moment.  Be present in your journey.
  • Lastly, Enjoy the journey – thank you AnneMarie.   You always inspire me.  Your positive attitude helps me to put things in perspective.  I need to slow down and enjoy this journey.   It is a roller coaster ride and I am NOT a fan of roller coasters but I need to enjoy it.  We are always rushing to something or somewhere when we need to “stop and smell the roses”.

I am again drawing a line in the sand.  I have again found the strength I sometimes think is not there.  Thank you to my Weight Watcher family for these weekly reminders and lessons.  I have been applying them to my business as well as working my weightless journey.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Weigh to Goal

Holiday Weight or Wait

The New Year is quickly approaching along with a list of resolutions…tops on the list is usually “to lose weight”.  All through the holidays, I have heard people say “wait till after the holidays to lose weight”.  For me, that is not an option.  See, if I WAIT till then, the scale will have headed up and I will be disappointed in myself for giving up some of the weight (all 107 pounds) that I have already lost.

I have not been to Weight Watchers since the beginning of November… did I give up?  NO!  Life got in the way with work – vendor shows, craft shows, WaWa, home parties… the list of reasons goes on.  I actually gave up my membership for financial reasons as I head into the new year.  I know what I need to do so tracking is still a BIG part of my life.  The tracker sits on my counter and YES, I do track good or bad the points.  I faltered a little for about 10 days just before Christmas with all of the temptations.  I justified things – I haven’t had this in a long time, it looks so good, just a taste, I am loosing inches now not pounds… choose the justification that works best for you.  Justifications worked in my head but played havoc on the scale.  Okay, so a 4 pound gain may not seem like a lot of some people but to me it was a step on the road that would take me on a trip to a place I said “never again”.  Yes, that word NEVER is deadly.  I remember hearing in the rooms of NA (Narcotics Anonymous) never say never.  WOW!  The truth is that I need to live that way even when it comes to my weight.

Does your New Year’s resolution include “lose weight”?  If so,  why not consider Today’s thought from Devotions for Dieters: The past is fast fading away. I’m headed for a trimmer me!  How about trying that list of 50 things in 500 days to change some habits that can be life long instead of just the weight lose resolution?  I would love to hear your thoughts…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Personal Causes, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Trust and Believe

Happy Saturday!  Hopefully you have survived the unbearable heat that has embraced the Jersey Shore over the last several days.  Now, it is time to enjoy the weekend (despite the shoobies).

Lately I have been thinking about my life’s journey once I entered recovery in 1990.  I am not exactly sure why all of those memories have been flooding back except that it was a time of growth, trials, tears and a unbreakable faith in my Higher Power that everything was going to be okay.  Maybe that is the lesson for me – trust and believe!

red-ribbon1In the beginning at South Jersey AIDS Alliance, I was a volunteer looking to do community service and get on with my life.  I wasn’t looking for a job (though I was on unemployment) especially one in the non-profit world.  What I found changed my life.  The first few months with SJAA, we were working on World AIDS Day – December 1st.  I sat in the office doing anything and everything to help out.  Meeting people who arrived at our doors battered, bruised and seeking acceptance.  Their addiction and bad choices had left them with an incurable disease that would ultimately lead to their death. What I found was a caring, loving group of men and women who accepted me with all of my faults for who I was for I was blessed not to have suffered the same results of my back choices.  When a job became available in the Cumberland County office of SJAA, I was encouraged by Dave Schall (the Case Manager) to apply.  To say the least, I was not their first choice.  I mean what did I know about social work other than being a volunteer.  The Board President at the time, Bob Rougeau,  didn’t think I could handle the job – I had only been clean for about 9 months.  For those of you who know Bridgeton, Cumberland County – it is not exactly the best place to plop an addict with a little bit of clean time.  Thankfully, Matt McCrossen (a client and an HIV/AIDS advocate) along with other staff helped me secure that position.  Instead of relapsing, the could be results of my addiction were kept fresh for me – I dealt with heroin addicts, homeless, moms, kids and anyone else who walked through our doors.  The clients would come to call the little house (our office) on Irving Avenue HOPE’S HOUSE.  No it wasn’t the official title but it was a way for clients to share their HIV/AIDS status without actually saying the words.  It was a safe haven.

I know, you are wondering what yet ANOTHER personal story has to do with being successful in business, right?  The SJAA office was a safe zone for those who were struggling while my safe zone was my faith even when I didn’t know it.  A strange statement – having faith and not knowing it, right?  I trusted that my Higher Power would take care of me while I was on the rough streets of Bridgeton.  I trusted that my Higher Power would protect me when I entered a new client’s home for the first time.   I believed that anyone who truly wanted to change their bad behaviors could.

So, as life tosses me some challenges, when everything is not perfect – I need to go back to a time when I trusted in my Higher Power.  Are you struggling today with a personal or professional problem?  Do you think there is no light at the end of the tunnel?  STOP!  There is a plan for each of us regardless of your beliefs, we just have to trust and BELIEVE.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.