Being Wrong

Being Wrong

 

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,

But the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

~ Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)

 

 

I am much better at admitting I’m wrong than I used to be. I can admit I’m wrong and not get nearly as bunched up on the inside as I did before. Working my recovery program has really helped with this. Quite specifically, working Step 10 and the corresponding principle have worked immensely.

  1. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.[1]

 

 

Sometimes now when I’m in front of my students and they catch me making a mistake, I admit it and kind of shrug. I’m human. I’m not perfect. It’s okay to admit I’m wrong. It does not make me weak. It makes me human. Being able to admit I’m wrong reveals my humility and that’s a good thing. Thank you, God!

 

Now sometimes I’ll admit I’m wrong with someone and the situation will not work out the way that I wanted. A perfect example of this is the incident that occurred with my student Connie that I described in “Keeping My Eyes on Christ.” I went and confessed my sins to this girl, so to speak. I apologized and tried to make amends. What I wanted was for her to forgive me and come back to viola class again permanently as a student. That didn’t happen. There was no forgiveness there on her part, at least in a form expressed directly to me.

 

Now the old Juliet may have thought to herself, Why did I bother embarrassing myself in front of this student when nothing good came out of it? She still quit! She’s still mad at me. I failed. I’m wrong and have made a permanent error. This is the Juliet that gets caught up in “all or nothing” catastrophic thinking.

 

I would have practiced the following Juliet’s Codependency Patterns:

  • I am not conscious of my own moods. I am conscious of your moods.
  • Your moods and actions are my fault.[2]

 

I would have been engaged in the following Juliet’s Feelings Patterns:

  • They are right. I’m wrong.
  • I don’t deserve good things.
  • I am less than.
  • I am ashamed.
  • I’m bad and now everyone knows it. I’ll be alone forever.[3]

 

This does me no good.

 

My new teaching mantras fit perfectly here as a recovery tool:

  • Don’t take it personally: Her feelings and decisions are about her, not me. Her decision to quit has nothing to do with me.
  • Don’t react: I will just observe her behavior and the situation. I will not act until I’m sure if I should take any action and what that should be.
  • Stick to business and just teach music: Every child in this class is there to learn music and that’s what I need to teach them. Focus on the children that are here and the subject matter at hand, which is music.
  • Think before you speak: I will not say anything unless I’m sure it is the right thing to say.
  • This too shall pass: This situation will not last forever. I will move on and so will the student.
  • Let it go: I will give it to God and keep doing what I need to do. God has it handled.

 

First of all, the recovery Juliet feels better just knowing that she has done the right thing by practicing Step 10. I promptly admitted I was wrong with Connie. I cleaned my side of the street. It seems like it helped me more than it helped her. So what! That’s the point, isn’t it? This is my life, my program, my recovery.  Doing a Step 10 about this incident took the burden of guilt off my shoulders. The fact that she chose not to attend class with me anymore is her loss, not mine. I did the best I could. That’s recovery.

 

But sometimes pride keeps me from admitting when I’m wrong. When I was growing up, we were punished and love was taken away if we were anything less than perfect. In order to more easily admit I’m wrong, I have to admit, accept, and believe that it’s okay to make mistakes. Today I know it’s okay to make mistakes. God will not love me any less. Now it even easier for me to admit my mistakes in front of my students. I know it’s okay with God. It seems to be okay with my students too.

 

Admitting I’m wrong helps me to practice humility. There’s a God, it’s not me. Only God is perfect.

Positive Affirmations:

  • It’s okay for me to make mistakes every day.
  • I do the best I can in everything I do and that’s enough. I’m a good person.
  • I do the best I can to teach these children and that’s all I can do.
  • I do my best to teach and then I let go. I give it to God before and after.
  • It’s okay that I’m not perfect.
  • Today I’m God’s brand new creation.
  • Today everything God intends to accomplish in and through me shall be done.

 

It’s okay for me to be wrong. It’s okay for me to make mistakes. As I persevere in my quest to become closer to God and the person he wants me to be, I shed the shame I feel for this defect because I know that mistakes, trials, and suffering are part of the process. Recovery is a process, not a destination. It involves getting up, dusting myself off, and trying again. It’s worth it.

 

Additional practices that help me when I’m struggling with being wrong: 

  • The 12 Steps: Reading the 12 Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous every day out loud really helps me to get back in balance because it reminds me that God is in charge, not me. I don’t have to figure everything out and I don’t have to be perfect.
  • Attend meetings: Going to a CoDA meeting is one of the best ways for me to recover from a bout of the CoDA crazies when I’m beating myself up for being wrong about something. Sharing with others and learning from their shares really helps me to realize that I’m okay just the way I am, mistakes and all.
  • Submission: I put my face to the floor and give it all to God. This is about what He wants, not about what I want. He’s doing work in me and I have to do my part to listen and follow Him.
  • Worship: I pray to God. I walk into His healing arms. I tell Him what is bothering me and ask for help. I ask Him through prayer to take this cup of guilt and shame about being wrong from me. I listen to Him through meditation.
  • Constant God connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day, listen for His guidance, and try to do His will as I think He has told me. Just knowing that I’m trying to do His will and follow Him helps me to feel better about myself. If I’m listening to and following God, there must be good in me.
  • Step work: I work the steps on whatever it is I think I’ve done wrong. This helps me separate myself from my behaviors, which is very, very helpful. I am not my behaviors.
  • Music: I listen to and/or play etudes, Handel’s Messiah, and Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas on my violin, or sing and play my own music on my guitar when I’m feeling bad about myself. Being able to play music helps me to forgive myself and let go.
  • Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to feel better about myself.
  • Gratitude list: Reading my gratitude list helps bring me back to a place where I realize how wonderful my life is, how much I have, and how much I’ve accomplished. This helps me to realize that I count and matter in this world.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Co-Dependents Anonymous. Co-Dependents Anonymous. Dallas, TX: CoDA Resource Publishing, 2009, p. iv.

[2] Adapted from the Family of Origin packet materials provided by the Sequoia Recovery Center.

[3] Ibid.

One Comment

  1. Hi Juliet,

    Another useful post. Alice and I would love to be at Mayfest, however this is unlikely to happen. Break a leg. We look forward to getting together with you this summer.

    In the Light
    John & Alice

    Reply
    1

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