Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect But…

Although I’ve made a lot progress in not doing things that make me feel bad, there are still times when I behave in ways I don’t like myself for.  I realize, however, that I’m not perfect and that these types behavior can actually help me get back on the road to happiness.

For example; without the wrongs I’ve done in the past and the unhappiness they brought, I wouldn’t know how wonderful it feels when I do something good in my life.  Also, without the negative behaviors I sometimes still display, I wouldn’t know how great it feels when I act in more positive and loving ways.

Without the negative we can’t experience the positive, but we can limit the negative by trying to be a better a person than we were before. I do this by practicing love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others, and more importantly, toward myself on days when I’m not being the best me.

I may not be perfect, but when I practice these things as best I can, I feel happier in life and make others happier too.

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Common Bonds

It can be hard for passionate types like myself not to get into a debate when my beliefs are challenged, but when I do, I at least try to understand the other person’s side and find a common bond with them.

I first learned how to do this early in my sobriety when I would hear someone at an AA meeting share something about recovery that I didn’t agree with.  Sometimes they had different spiritual beliefs than me and I simply couldn’t relate to what they were saying, but I was able to realize something very important. They, like me, found a way to stop drinking and find greater happiness in life.

There were actually quite a few times when I had to remind myself at meetings that it didn’t matter if someone’s beliefs were different from mine, I will at least know we shared a common bond strengthened by hope, empathy, mutual respect, and love.

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Our True Self-Worth

Self-esteem is defined as — a confidence in ones own worth or abilities; self-respect.  I’ve found that practicing love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance towards others can help raise our self-esteem, but we also need to practice those things toward ourselves.

There will be times when we fail doing the things I mentioned; it can take time to believe in ourselves. However, if we keep trying to be a better person than we before, we cannot fail to become one.

We will know in our hearts that we’re a good person, and be able to forgive ourselves on the days when we’re not.

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Where Does Happiness Come From?

Whenever I think about the question posed in the title of this post, two answers always come to mind; at least for me. Happiness comes from trying to be a better person than we were before. And from loving ourselves.

Now I admit it took time for me to become a better person than I was before, and I’ll confess that I’m not always the best person I can be. However, I try not to beat myself about it. I know it’s not who I am and not only do I love myself today, but I do so unconditionally—a strong foundation for feeling good ourselves.

How can you not feel good about yourself when you try as best you can to be a more loving person than you were before? And how can you not feel good about yourself if you try to show more kindness toward others than before? Also, how can you not feel good about yourself if you try  to be more understanding of people who behave in ways that upset you, or at least try to practice tolerance towards them?

Being happy was all I ever wanted to be in life, and I found out that by simply practicing love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance towards others and myself, I was able to achieve this. However, what I didn’t know was that it would someday lead to being happy with who I was.

One more thing comes to mind as to where happiness comes from; at least for me. Trying to believe that something created life and the universe for a reason.

Something that gave us the ability to create our own happiness by learning how to be happy with who we are.

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Insecurities

It’s wonderful to finally feel good about yourself when for most of your life you lacked self-confidence, and at times, felt inferior to some people.  Although I tried to cover up my insecurities by pretending to be something I wasn’t and drinking, inside I knew the truth, and as a result I was never happy with who I was.

It took a lot of different experiences throughout my sobriety to achieve the level of confidence I have today, and although there are some situations in which my insecurities still surface, I am able to use the inner strength I’ve built to tell myself that everything will be all right. I also remind myself how it was actually unwanted and adverse circumstances that helped me become a stronger person in the first place.

So where did this self-confidence I’m talking about come from? Well first let me say that true self-confidence doesn’t come from worldly achievements. Although people try to use things like job titles, fame, and wealth to give them a sense of self-confidence and self-worth, many still remain insecure in their lives and some have glaring self-esteem issues.

On the other hand, when someone tries to practice a few spiritual principles like love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others, they end up feeling a confidence and satisfaction in themselves that they never felt before. Even people who have made strides in personal growth can be happier in life by giving spirituality a try.

Spirituality doesn’t mean we have to believe in God and religion. However, although I often failed at it, as I continued to practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance, it helped fuel an ever-growing belief that something rather than nothing created life and the universe for a reason.

This simple and basic belief is the foundation for the spiritual and personal growth I still strive for today, and these two types of growth combined give me confidence and satisfaction in myself.  Today I don’t feel inferior to anyone, and I am finally happy with who I am.

 

 

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Fears

Fears began in my childhood, grew in my teenage years, and stayed with me throughout my adult life. Thankfully, through the twelve and a half years I’ve been sober I have become better at understanding my fears and coping with them until I am able to overcome them.  As far as any new fears I experience, I know they are really just old ones that have resurfaced. However, because I’m aware they’re old fears it’s easier for me to quickly move past them.

Really when I think about it, the only new fears I seem to experience anymore come from doubts I sometimes have. My biggest doubt created fear today is whether I will become successful in my endeavor to go out and help others at the level I want to.

Fortunately, as I said, I’ve learned how to cope with my fears, but there are days when I need help in overcoming them. On those days, I pray to whatever created life and the Universe to give me guidance and reassurance, and I thank it for everything in my life. Then despite my fears, I tell myself everything will be all right and go about my day waiting for the guidance and reassurance I need.  I do this by looking for what some people call a sign. I began calling these signs “non coincidences” several years ago, and not only do they help me believe that I’m on the right track in life, but they also give me hope that there’s a God of some kind.

Sometimes this happens through a song I haven’t heard in a long while that holds some special meaning to me. Or a magazine article that I feel I was meant to read. And other times it happens through an informative TV show of some type. However, more often than not, these “non coincidences” come about through a chance meeting with someone who in conversation says something that gives me the guidance and reassurance I asked for.

Prayer, people, hope and self-talk have kept me sober and greatly contributed to the happiness I cherish so much today. Without these tools, I don’t know what I would have done when the doubts and fears I felt throughout my sobriety, especially early on, almost overcame me.

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