Friday, May 30, 2014

Perfectionist, Planner, Pleaser, Pretender: The Masks that Misrepresent Me

I had the great fortune to spend last week at a convention focused on recovery. I wrote the following during a writing workshop. I didn't share it until last night, when I was asked to post this on THL. Perhaps I undervalued the insight that I had. If that is the case, I will consider my pattern of minimizing my thoughts and experiences, as it is always my wish to share whatever HP has given me for not only my learning but for others’.

“Dear Recovery Family,

I am once again honored to be your delegate and to witness such amazing recovery and to have the opportunity for my own growth and healing. This recovery experience is like none other and I so wish you were here with me. As you know, I am here as a delegate, an attendee, and serving on the Convention Committee. I have been planning for, working on, and in anticipation of this weekend since leaving the Convention last May.

What has become surprisingly apparent to me at this year’s Convention is that the agenda I had is far different than what my Higher Power has in mind. I say this a lot – my service work is my recovery work. This is especially evident this weekend.

The perfectionist in me has really been at odds with the recovery me. The planner in me has had to take a back seat to the unexpected needs of convention work. The pleaser in me has had to let go of others’ thoughts; it’s none of my business what they think anyway. The pretender in me has had to give way to authenticity and vulnerability.

And this is all VERY, VERY, good! The perfectionist, planner, pleaser, and pretender are parts of me that hide who I am. The real Sara, the authentic me, is imperfectly perfect! She knows that it is progress not perfection and that doing her best, giving her best – this is enough! Recovery Sara knows that whatever plans she has doesn't really matter;  it is Higher Power’s agenda that matters. Humble Sara knows that she is accepted, worthy, and loved by God. She can be pleasing without needing to be approved by others. And the healthy, whole Sara no longer hides behind her insecurities or her attempts to overachieve. She is free to be who God has made her to be.”

As I type and reflect this morning, I am once again humbled by the ways that I’m gently course corrected. I have had some challenges re-entering into my daily life, post-convention. Those same masks want to reappear, and yet there are more masks that have surfaced. I face a new powerlessness: living alone. There are new physical and emotional challenges that I’m dealing with. The mask that I put on is pitier. This really didn't strike a chord in me until writing this post. The pity is for myself to add insult to injury, and this  mask is in direct competition with the overcomer in me. I fight wanting to hide behind the circumstances and pain. That is not who I am, though. I have proven to myself over and over again that I come to my own rescue even as I lean in and own my behaviors. I use the recovery tools that I have, and I will continue down The Healing Lane. This is the real Sara; the one who doesn't need masks, embraces life, and knows her worthiness while humbly asking God to lift her shortcomings. I like her, by the way. 

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