“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” –Madonna
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” –Ernest Hemingway
Do you know who you REALLY are? Do you know who you WANT to be? Perhaps you are tired of seeing yourself through the eyes of others whose vision may be distorting what they see when they look at you. Maybe you feel imprisoned by other people’s perceptions of you becoming your definition, your image, and the way you feel about yourself. If we live our lives attempting to live up to the expectations of others we will be constrained by a bar set too high, by unachievable standards of unrealistic perfection. We must live by our own truth.
If we try some new and exploratory thinking with open-mindedness, we may gain some indispensable confidence and courage in our ability to change. We will begin a gradual transformation of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
Have you ever aspired to be an artist? Let’s try it. Let’s envision a newly created picture of our self. Imagine a clean, white, flawless canvas. Starting with today, as a woman in Recovery, fill in the background with all of your past experiences, relationships, your journey of life so far. This is what makes you unique; it has molded you into who you are today so it has to be your backdrop. Now gently wash over it to remove any guilt, shame, and remorse. The past is in the past and you cannot change it. There is no purpose in continuing to relive it, you are only hurting yourself. You are forgiven, and today is a new beginning. With willingness, motivation, and determination, you will create a new picture of your self emerging in sobriety. Consider the positive adjectives like: CLEAN AND SOBER, beautiful inside and out, strong, intelligent, loving, kind, patient, funny, considerate, tolerant, spiritual, devoted, understanding, creative, talented, gifted, dependable, mindful, colorful, stylish, respectful, and magnificent! As your picture becomes more clear, do you like what you see? Have you felt in the past as though the people in your life have trapped you in a rigid box and there was no way out? Did it become a self-fulfilling prophecy, a negative downward spiral? If we continuously hear negative things about ourselves, we come to believe them. “Everyone says I am a useless and hopeless drunk or drug addict, so I may as well be that because that’s what I am!!”
These changes are not going to happen overnight. But, as in every aspect of recovery, we start with baby steps. Dare to stick your toe outside the boundary of the box, just a little bit to “test the waters”, try something new and different. Remind yourself that though it might be a little uncomfortable and unnatural, it won’t be fatal. You will experience the exhilaration of successfully accomplishing something different. You will realize your power to break through your habitual behavior. And having accomplished this, you will become more comfortable with life outside of your self-imposed limits and you will venture further the next time. Before you know it, you will be taking leaps beyond where you have been stuck, for a long time, in desperation.
Mal Duane is a Best Selling Author and Personal Life and Recovery Coach who has overcome life challenges using the steps in the Alpha Chick Process. Her personal mission is to help women excel in all areas of their lives from business to personal relationships. Mal has been featured with Fox 25 Boston Morning Show, CBS Radio, Aspire Magazine, Healthy Living and Metrowest Daily News. She has also been a featured guest on over one hundred Blogtalk Radio shows discussing recovery and personal transformation.
Mal’s book, Alpha Chick, Five Steps for Moving from Pain to Power, is a best selling book and is available on Amazon.com.