“You were delivered to the wrong address.” You were intended to be delivered into a perfect world where you didn’t have to work, where all was provided for you and you experienced no pain. Unfortunately, that’s not the world you’re living in, though.
Instead, you’re living in a world where you lose a job, your spouse screams, a little one writhes in pain. You weren’t designed to be in that situation, to hear those screams, or to see that little one in pain. So, your stomach tightens, your head aches, and your heart pounds. All that happens because like Henry Cloud says, “you were delivered to the wrong address.”
You were delivered to the world of imperfection.
The question that remains is “what do we do with that?”
The answer: Name our feelings and share our pain about how being delivered to the wrong address affects us. If we don’t, then sometimes our responses mess things up, and then we have to deal with the guilt of being imperfect ourselves. Part of the reason we focus on being able to name our emotions and the context is because that’s a critical tool. When we name our emotions and explain why we are feeling that way, we allow ourselves to own the pain and pronounce the source.
But what does that do? Naming our feelings and sharing our pain allows us to release the truth about how being delivered to the wrong address affects us. As a result of doing this, our pain doesn’t get poured onto innocent victims. Instead, it can stay with its original source, and we can move on to enjoy moments that might even feel pretty close to perfection–a loving kiss, a warm embrace, a laugh with a friend, a concert, a walk in the woods.
So don’t forget this important part of healthy living — naming emotions and providing context. Lately, I have been working on checking in on all my core emotions, not just the predominant ones. What made me sad today? Angry? Scared? Happy? Excited? Tender?
By checking in on all these core emotions, it helps me do a better inventory of myself and guess what? In any given day, I am able to identify at least one moment for each of the core emotions. I bet you could, too.
And because I’m a helper by nature, I like to fix anything I deem negative. For some reason helping myself and others centers me. All too often, I can’t just fix, fix, fix. When I can’t, I start to experience feelings that don’t help me live in the address I’ve been delivered to.
So, then what? I’ve found that The Serenity Prayer helps the fixer in me.
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things that I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
I have come to say this prayer a lot. This prayer helps quiet the perceived need to try to help all these situations that are beyond my control–acceptance.
It also helps me with the courage to change the things that I can, and it helps me to know the difference.
By Tony Bradburn
Tony completed his initial weekend in June of 2008 and is a graduate of our two-year transformational program. Tony hails from the idyllic shades found in Crystal Lake, IL. After being adopted from the Dominican Republic at the age of 6 months into a family in Elgin with two biological children, going through school, getting sober, becoming a teacher and a football coach, getting married, going to more schooling to get a few Master’s degrees, having four beautiful children, moving into educational administration, getting divorced, and now having principalship duties, it’s safe to say that Tony’s path has never been a straight one.
Photo Credit: Trillium Design ~ Caroline via Creative Commons.