Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Demanding or gracious

I know that depending on the situation I can either be demanding or gracious. Sometimes I wonder whether I can even be demandingly gracious. For so many years I exacted a demanding toll on myself. I did not cut myself or anyone else any slack.

And there are still moments when I find myself in that same role. It happens less and less, but I know that there are certain degrees of slackness that I find hard to let go.

I realize that I was trying so hard to bring order into a life that was filled with disorder. By being demanding of myself and others I thought that I could create peace. It makes me sad to think of the barriers that I created with others.

I know that I fall short of meeting my own demands. And it is obvious that others will not follow what I want. I can accept that and not use the opportunity to brow beat someone or shame them. It is a fact that I do not have the answers for others.

So when I feel the indignation of unmet demands rising in me, the question becomes "How am I going to respond?" I have choices on whether to react in self-pity or anger; retaliate and make a bad situation worse; or respond in a sincere manner in which I let others go about their business. That is the gracious part that comes in recovery. And it is by the grace of my Higher Power that I have a good life today.

"What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?" from Alcoholics Anonymous


  1. I try to let others go about their business. Until they try to manage MY business....sometimes I even cut people too much slack...when in fact, what I should be doing is setting healthy boundaries.

  2. Well said...

    I'm finding as sobriety and spritual awareness moves along I'm learning to stand directly in front of whatever I need to do and say... "Get it done"

    That way stuff doesn't pile up.

    We're learning to find new ways to communicate and avoid the cliff of resentment, which unmet demands seems to shove us toward.

    Thanks for this.

  3. For me, I have to keep expectations to a minimum. If I want something I have to open my mouth and express it and not expect others to just know it. And I don't want to expect others to behave a certain way because I will be disappointed when they show they are only human. So keeping it in perspective and remembering what others do is none of my business helps me to take care of my side of the street. I always like the way you describe the way your work your recovery.

  4. boy, oh boy can I relate, and wow did I recognize that quoted portion of the Big Book straight away.

    I had to learn that most of my problmes were of my own making and that I had to stop making demands,a nd start living lif on life's terms!

    great post Syd!

  5. Control is an issue, even for ourselves. Good thoughts here, Syd.

  6. I needed this today. Thanks, Syd.

  7. 'retaliate and make a bad situation worse; or respond in a sincere manner in which I let others go about their business.'

    Yes nicely said.
    I wish i cld live up to that every day. Its very hard to let things go, but i must give it my best shot.

    Al anons really focus on the control element. you guys are very !!! cool when it comes to control issues. very admirable when u look at the problems caused by controlling tendencies in humans. al anon do a !! great service by bring this to the attention of others. imo anyway.

  8. Quote of the Day: Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on. ~ Eckhart Tolle

    saw this and it reminded me of yr post :)

  9. Standards and expectations..."Graciously demanding" OOOh boy, the former is my family. Nowadays things are better.
    Principles before personalities.
    A lot less spoken, more demonstrated.
    Although experience, strength and hope sometimes require speech.Striving to keep it more: impartial -? less ego.

  10. It's always a fine balance, isn't it? Boundaries vs. control, I mean.

  11. It never seems to work out that wresting (to twist or turn from the proper course) brings me happiness or satisfaction.

  12. " How am I going to respond?"

    You just taught me by this one question that I need to stop and do this. I tend to be demanding when I feel threatened. I feel like I've been given a key :) thanks for the honesty of your post.

  13. Even when trying to be kind. I'm grateful for sponsorship and a fellowship that "teaches" even hard headed control freaks like me how to be graceful and accepting. :)


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