Day Ten: Fear of Success

Day Ten: Fear of Success

Since starting a new job, I have discovered a character defect that has followed me through school,  jobs, and probably relationships: fear of success. Fear of success is a sabotaging of a relationship, idea, project, or responsibility that could bring you happiness, success, or accolades.

This has played out in my life in so many ways I could write a 3 set volume on it. I believe it harms me because the fear does not allow me to see my full potential. I have a lot of dreams about my potential but reality has been pretty disappointing in comparison.

I’ve done some awesome things in life: travel, get my bachelors and masters, work for a church, dance with Bruce Springsteen; date (because dating is totally awesome…). But was I really present? Fear of success is harmful because it keeps us from seeing who we truly are.

When I think about the things I have done, I can remember the overlying obsession I had with a fantasy that wasn’t coming to pass and the procrastination that held me back from my best. After being in recovery for almost two years now, I can see clearly the difference between being in reality versus a fantasy.

Dreaming was safer because it meant I couldn’t fail. So, I guess along with a fear of success comes a fear of failure. I have always done just enough to get by and stay out of trouble. I do have regrets because of that but I understand everything happens for a reason. God wouldn’t let me stay in the dream. Thankfully, He has brought me to reality and it is an adventure!

In reality, I pursue my dreams to see if there’s any credibility to them. I work hard every day and ask God for strength and energy when I don’t have it. I process my gross emotions and work through them faster than I ever thought possible.

Living below your potential because of fear robs others of truly getting to know you and benefitting from the gifts God has given you. It’s easy in this broken world to shy away from our strengths and live in the wonderful land of “one day.”

Living life in reality is hard because you have to face the desire to run from your potential, but God is here to remove the fear and replace it with courage and excitement. It’s time to walk away from the fantasy.

Day “Four”: Helplessness

Day “Four”: Helplessness

As my “ten day” challenge to myself progresses, it’s apparent that my definition of a day is not the 24-hour term, but more like a day in regards to a long period of time… which is great. So, here we go:

Helplessness! Here’s a great one: “Overwhelming others with your needs and wants.”

This one is for all the love addicts out there. Helplessness is not as obvious as it sounds (to the helpless one). If someone had told me I was acting out of helplessness, I would have denied it. Consciously, I’ve always defined myself as independent. I believed that if I had a need, I would take it straight to God and trust that He would take care of it.

Subconsciously, I was a big, melting blob of helplessness. When no one was looking and I could shed all the walls and defenses of the day, I would collapse into woe-is-me mode. I would beg God to fix my life, fix me, get me out of situations; help me. When I felt that He wasn’t doing a good or fast enough job,  I would dump all of that on the guy I was dating. Not upfront, but in nonverbal, in between the lines expectations.

Any time life got uncomfortable, I would expect my boyfriend to set things right. I needed his calm assurance, advise, prayer; time. If he didn’t text me properly, give me the right affection, or read my mind and show up at my house when needed, I took that as him not caring about me. If he did, somehow, come through for me, I was on top of the world. Life was perfect and hope-filled.

I know this sounds dramatic, and it was, but not outright. I could hold my crazy in pretty well. However, the roller coaster of the dating game was miserable. The continuous expectation that some guy could read my mind and fix all my problems was absurd… yet plausible at the time.

Pia Mellody writes that helplessness sabotages your life because others, “…may experience inadequacy and guilt at not being able to meet your needs,” “…may need to back off and escape such a huge responsibility,” and “…may experience pain when you react with resentment because they are not meeting all your needs.” What a heavy burden to carry for your significant other, friend, or family member! How can someone experience intimacy with a person that is always in heavy dependency?

The answer is: they can’t.

If people can’t help you in your helplessness, who can? What if I told you that there is someone who not only knows your dependent, but unconditionally loves you for it?

Dr. Glenn Kreider wrote in his book, God With Us, that God knew you would always be dependent on Him from the beginning, but He created you anyway. God is the only one you can be completely dependent on and also intimate with. He can handle your resentments, calm your crazy, and fill you with a companionship unlike any other. When you are filled with love and intimacy with God, you can have healthy relationships where you pour into instead of constantly drain.

I’ve been working through this character defect for a while and it has cleared away the miserable chaos from my life. Take your needs to God, ask Him to remove the gross feelings and replace them with His good character traits, and ask Him for forgiveness for not trusting Him. God is good and He wants you to be dependent on Him. So do it. 🙂

“Tomorrow”: Financial Problems… Ew.

 

Day Two: Perfectionism

Day Two: Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is that compulsive drive to do things perfectly, leaving no detail imperfect.” – Pia Mellody, Breaking Free

If I were in a meeting where we were ‘fessing up to being perfectionists, I’m not sure I could 100% raise my hand. I can see my parents throwing their heads back in laughter at the idea of me being a perfectionist… my roommates in college would probably have a good laugh, as well.

I believe my tendency towards perfectionism came when I got into a demanding job and felt out of control. In the chaos, it became crucial that my bed was made, room clean, and living areas neat. After working at that job, I developed a sensitivity to making mistakes. If I mess up, I try and fix it on my own before anyone finds out. If someone confronts me on a mistake, I have extreme emotions to their discovery.

This is harmful because it keeps me from allowing myself to be truly known by others. I have found that with my people-pleasing and perfectionism combined, I feel the need to hide certain parts of myself from people. This affects others because they cannot fully connect with me.

I would really love to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and allow God to show me what a freer life looks like.

Up next: Striving for Power. Man, am I a control freak or what?

Day One: People-Pleasing

Day One: People-Pleasing

I’m an hour away from not meeting the deadline for the first day of my challenge. But! I have an hour, so here’s to day one!

According to the Breaking Free workbook, people-pleasing produces three results: dishonesty, unnecessary arguments, and resentment. This character defect creates a sick cycle where you cater to others and expect them to reciprocate your generous neutrality. You’ve done your roommate’s dishes three times in a row now, so why won’t they do yours when you’ve had a busy day?

The problem is we do things with or for another person without giving them all the information. We don’t fill them in on the fact that we don’t like certain things but we’re doing them because we care for the other person. They assume that we enjoy everything they do and have an open schedule to help them any time they ask.

When we withhold how we really feel from people, we don’t allow them to truly know us. We create expectations for them that they can never meet.

The questions that each character defect covers are as follows:

How does people-pleasing harm you and keep you from being in recovery?
How does it affect others adversely and block intimacy?
Are you ready to have [God] remove this defect and learn to live without it?
If not, what are you gaining by holding on to it?

I think people-pleasing has harmed me and affected others because they don’t have a clear view of who I am. However, it has only been this past year that I have started the recovery process to clearly see my identity. I’m ready for God to remove this defect and I’m curious as to how that will look in my life. People-pleasing is so engrained into my daily that I’m not even sure about when I’m doing it. It provides comfort because neutrality or saying ‘yes’ to everything prevents awkward conflict. I’m not sure I’m gaining much but a packed planner and resentment toward obligations.

I’d like to see myself living freely in my identity and letting people connect with me. I want to communicate the necessary information with others and not leave them guessing as to why I’m upset or acting a certain way. I hope that as I process through this defect in my life, I’m able to say I can find no benefit to people-pleasing in this unhealthy fashion.

Tomorrow! Perfectionism – another way to hold me back and keep me on edge. A good processing will be taking place tomorrow afternoon…

For the Love Addicts…

How did it start with you?

A glance?
A walk?
A study sesh?
A cup of coffee?

For me, it’s been a plethora: Witty arguments about the Flash over Superman, whether cheese is originally a solid or a liquid; whether Springsteen is the Boss or not (and, trust me, he is). It leads to walks. Cups of coffee (that you end up never paying for). Lots of texts. Intimate talks of family, fears, weaknesses, and dreams… followed by dreaming of the future together.

Secrets are whispered into the late night with hope they will never end, because when they do, it’s known they should’ve never carried on that late in the first place. His voice becomes familiar, his smell, his subtle mannerisms… and I love them. Absolutely love them.

He’s my goodnight and good morning. He’s that encouragement that walks with me through the day. Thoughts of inside jokes creep my mouth into a smile as I tend to daily responsibilities and deal with unpleasant people. He prays with me and I think I’ve never heard such lovely prayers in all my life. When he prays for me, I know everything is going to be fine. God listened to that one for sure.

He’s in my daydreams. I immerse myself in the warmth of the memories of how I first met him. That magical destiny that brought us together and would be recounted at my wedding. The wedding will be a simple one. Unnecessary wedding expenses will be cut, but my dress is going to have pockets, damn it (my chapstick has to go somewhere…). It will be sharp and alive, yet a blur because we’ll be so focused on one another and the journey we’re about to take through life.

Our kids will be fantastic. And he’ll be a great father, of course. Handyman. I already know he can change the oil in his car, so he’ll definitely be able to reach those high shelves, lift mattresses, and kill roaches.

Oh, and then just about the time I realize he’s the one… he leaves… and then he’s back [insert excited, party gif here]. Then he’s gone again [insert lonely nights of crying wondering why no one loves me and how I need to change my wardrobe]. Aaaand, then he’s back. And I’m thinking, what the hell? And just about the time I’m warming up to the idea that maybe he is the one, and that past year of him being distant was just a fluke in the long timeline that is my life… he tells me he doesn’t actually have feelings for me. But hey! I have been one of the best friends he’s ever had. So I cut all my hair off to get a fresh start.

And that’s hell. And that was my life. My name is Meagan Butler. And I’m a recovering love addict.