PREVIOUS: Give & Take (#1)
People GIVE – based on their state of mental health, & You can say “no thanks”. Say NO to anything which retards your Recovery, & is:
• generally harmful / abusive
• something you don’t want, ever
• useless & a waste of your time
• not what you need at the moment
• not suited to your personality, or not your taste
• mentally repetitive &/or boring
• something you’ve outgrown
• against your principles & spiritual beliefs
• not your right to have
• not suited to the state of the relationship
SAYING NO requires that we know enough about ourselves & our rights – to make the best choices.
In some cases it also depends on who’s offering & why. If the giver is a relative, a boss or important client, taking the gift may be the kindest, or wisest thing to do, regardless of our taste. We can always regift
But if it’s close family or friends who is supposed to know who we are – & they insist on giving us things that are clearly not appropriate or suited to us – then it’s legitimate to say “No thank you!”
EXP: Paula & Sharon were BFFs who lived in adjacent buildings & spent a lot of time in each other’s place. Paula was ‘earthy’ & preferred antiques, while Sharon liked everything bright, shiny & new. For their B/days (one day apart) they exchanged lovely gift BUT Paula always gave Sharon things that were her taste & totally NOT Sharon’s.
After a few years of this Sharon finally spoke up, asking to be considered accurately. The following gift yet again did not fit what Sharon wore or her decor, so with regret, she gave the gift back!
PS. Years later Sharon developed another close friendship, also with an ACoA, who admitted to not knowing how to give appropriate gifts. They solved it by exchanging a short list of what each would like, to choose from. It worked great.
Say YES to:
• offers of aid when you most need it
• kindness, respect, positive attention, appreciation….. any time
• complements about anything – looks, skills, style, accomplishments, knowledge, talents, creativity
• freely given generosity – of money, help, provisions, short-term free services, lending something you need
• something frivolous & fun – just because!
• new ideas, suggestions, other people’s experiences we can learn from
CONSIDER: Rejecting someone’s good-faith offers of time, kind words or small objects – is a way to dismiss the person as unimportant, & can un-necessarily hurt their feelings. It implies that what they are or have isn’t good enough for you
EXP: In early Recovery Sean was reminded to be appreciative whenever he was complemented, rather than negate it by explaining at length why he didn’t deserve the acknowledgement. His sponsor said: “It’s insulting to the person who is giving you a gift, by throwing it back in their face. Just say ‘thank you’ & then zip the lip.”
He remembers thinking: “OK, I’ll just say thank you, but privately I don’t have to agree with the compliment!” Oh well, Progress – not Perfection! Eventually he was able to appreciate genuine praise.
IMP: Being reciprocal means that we ACoAs are supposed to receive something in return for our efforts – it can be a Thank You, a smile, a vacation or even a house! It means we ‘allow’ others to give to us in return for something positive we have done (once or on a regular basis) – OR just because they like us! Can you imagine?
Being able to receive is a normal part of life. This is hard for many ACoAs to believe & grasp if we’ve been blindly obeying our Toxic Rules, such as “Only other people’s needs count”. Do-ing for others is all we know & taking anything makes us feel guilty! Because we don’t feel worthy of anything good, we’re not comfortable letting others give to us – even when it is done freely & with an open heart.
NEXT: Give & Take (#3)