I have been reading a book recently by Allen Berger, Ph.D. '12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone'. It was helpful to read on page 125, 'A note on comforting others'. These are Berger's thoughts re the oft touted suggestion to 'get out of yourself ', a strategy based, it seems, on the prayer of St Francis. I felt this (initially rather baffling) soundbite was thrown in my face just once too many by some AA members. Though valuable, Berger talks about comforting ourselves too, and not merely comforting others - which can simply become a way of avoiding dealing with our own pain.
The reason I used to get so sick of that 'suggestion' was that sometimes I would drag myself to a meeting after having cared for a very dear ill friend who had cancer throughout the day, at the same time coping with my own physical illness with its own limitations and care needs, I would arrive, exhausted. To have some 'numpty' glibly suggest (when I did shed a tear out of exhaustion and/or frustration) that I needed to 'get out of myself' was devastating and just added to the pain. I wanted to scream. (Oh! AND put my hands around their throat!!!!) And no!!!! I wasn't being a Martyr either!!!! I was simply trying to do the best I could in very difficult circumstances.
Thankfully there are many more wiser AA members who show the kind of compassion and understanding that Bill wrote of often.
My thoughts have also recently turned to how people can treat each other online.
Though online message boards can help many people 'connect'with and support each other, I do feel that the anonymity gives license to some to freely attack others.
I do also feel that extra caution is needed when posting on such boards. Some people seem so quick to post a reply (almost quickfire) that they haven't thought about whether or not the reply is sensitive in its structure for online purposes. Some people come across very differently online to how they are in reality. (My own dearest mother being a case in point!!) I find some places do more harm than good. I visit them less and less...and with caution.
Recently a friend was bemoaning the upset she felt at having a disagreement with somebody on an online message board. It was really affecting her. The solution? - Ignore the person or Don't Go There!!!! I pointed out that she has a choice. I pointed out to her that that particular message board could close tomorrow anyhow. What then? Was that message board her Higher Power?
On a personal level, it has occurred to me that having online access can cause me to isolate from 'real' people! NOT good! Being an inherently shy soul I need to guard against such things! I love spending time alone (with my Higher Power) but I need to watch it doesn't cross that boundary into isolating unhealthily! I need to keep in touch and remain able to relate and function in the 'real' world! Gets scary if not for me!
Oh yes! That's just reminded me! I was once 'helpfully' told in AA re my shyness that I needed to 'get out of self'. Mmm. Blessings! Snowie.