Monday, June 28, 2010

What's wrong with Maxie, anyway?

He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.  ~Mary Manin Morrissey
It is none of my business what others think of me.
OK,  so Maxie has issues.  I admit it.  One day I will smirk at them and say "Seeya!" but meanwhile they still dog me sometimes and ruin my day.  However, I am happy to say that their effects on my life are not near as great as they used to be. And it helps me to look how recovery has improved my life.

Fear.  I was born afraid.  When I was a little girl I used to play on top of the dog house because I was afraid of the snakes in the grass.  Garter snakes.  Not pythons or cobras, but in my mind they may as well as been.  I was afraid of everything:  school, new situations, preachers, men, monsters, the dark, other kids, the phone, my mother... OK maybe I should have been afraid of my mother.  Every kid is scared, but what was abnormal is that I carried these phobias into my adulthood, which can be harrowing for a wife and mother. I was so used to worry and fear, that when I had no reason to be scared, niggling little feelings, which I call "free floating anxiety," troubled me anyway .  I let fear rob me of opportunities.  I didn't go to college until my late thirties because I was afraid to try.  One thing I have learned is that if I am paralyzed and don't take an active part in my life making my own choices, someone or something else will choose for me.  The life I want won't automatically happen, if I stay stuck in wishful thinking.  I have to be proactive!  On the positive side I have come a long way in overcoming fear.  Courage and bravery are not feelings, they are what you do in spite of the fear.  "If you're scared, just do it scared."  Living this way allows me to face the fears, and helps reduce anxiety.  I have done amazing things and will continue to do amazing things because Fear no longer has any power over me unless I entertain him. 

Insecurity is Fear's brother.   This fella tells me that I can't do it.  Or that I am not good enough.  Or that I am too fat, and that my smile is crooked; he afflicts me with a poor image of myself.  Or that I really don't know what I am doing. Or that I am about to make the wrong decision.  I met a man who said, "Be who you are."  When I heard that it struck me that I have been trying to live up impossible standards--some other people set for me, but mostly those I set for myself.  I wasn't being fact, I wasn't really sure who that was.  When I quote the mantra, "I say what I say, I do what I do and I am what I am," I am free from the Insecurity that often leads to....

Self-Loathing.  This is a demon that has tormented me much in the past, and I dealt with him aggressively and thought I had him buried, but he re-emerged in the last couple of years and I have had to go into my dragon-slaying mode. I used to say that I was so low, I could play hand-ball against the curb.   Self-loathing can lead to self-pity, martyrdom, depression and Very Dark Thoughts.  Not cool and very dangerous.  Most days I am OK, but others...

People Pleasing.  I am co-dependent "Codependency  is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.  Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns."  Wikipedia.   This definition pretty much sums me up.  This characteristic has been in place since childhood and was reinforced by a marriage to an alcoholic.  While these tendencies don't actively affect my relationships today, they still make me overly sensitive to what other people think.  If someone is cold or indifferent or snippy, it can wreck my day, even if others' actions probably more to do with their own bad day than with me.  One of my favorite quotes is the one above about what other people think about me is not my business.  On days I get that, I am free of people pleasing, and better equipped to take care of myself.

So these are the fellas I walk with sometimes, but I seek their companionship less often these days as I have the presence of Faith, Peace, Love, Joy, and Laughter in my life, which means that at rare moments there is absolutely nothing wrong with Maxie. 


  1. I think we can all identify with your "fellas" at one time or another and to different degrees. Thanks for sharing your life with us and for making us think about our own! You lay things out so beautifully!

  2. Thank you Diane. I noticed after I posted that I didn't mention anything about anger or resentment; that is because those are no longer an issue for me. I am grateful for that.

  3. Delighted to read your brave note Maxie. I have often quoted Roosevelt's expression "the only thing to fear is Fear!" Am aware that its easier said than done. Occasionally this "black dog"does bite many of us, including the likes of Churchill & Chaplin .. Deeply appreciative of each point

  4. Thank you for sharing this honest post about the fears that overtake so many of us throughout our lives. I'm also too much of a people pleaser. I find myself disappointed when I don't feel that my attention or love is reciprocated enough. My insecurity often clouds my decision making and ability to let things go that worry me. I will remember this post for a long time, Maxie. I will especially keep in mind your advice to do it even if you're scared. At 41, I like the idea that I still can get past those feelings. I'm happy to follow you here. Enjoy your day :)