Before recovery, I thought all my relationships required equal amounts of energy and effort. I tried to be all things to all people in my life. I didn't know that I could focus on creating one or two really great relationships, the most important ones, and that it was OK for other relationships to be just acquaintances, friends, activity-partners, etc. But most of all, I didn't know that I didn't have to become enmeshed into, or even worse, the self-proclaimed answer to, the problems of the people I knew.
I like this quote, written by Dag HammarskjÃ¶ld:
"It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses."
For me, this principle was life changing. I was slowly driving myself crazy attending to all the issues of all the people that surrounded me. I thought I had to fix their problems. I thought if I didn't fix them, no one else would. I thought this was showing love, care, and concern. And when they didn't take my advice, I was offended and resentful for having wasted valuable emotional energy.
After alienating just about everybody from my life, I finally woke up and began looking at myself. I decided to fix my own problems, resolve my own issues, live my own life, and let others be. If they asked for my advice (and seldom does this happen—then or now), then I'd give it—but if not, I'd keep my own counsel, keep my mouth shut, and just listen.
What a relief to free myself from the burden of being the world's savior! That job description has already been filled—by Someone eminently more qualified than I am.
I now have more energy to devote to the truly special relationships in my life. I also have more time to focus on the quality of those relationships and more time to invest in discovering ways of enhancing and developing them. I'm careful, too, about who receives my time and attention. I'm not afraid to say, "no" if I can't accommodate the needs or demands of a specific relationship (e.g., someone recently asked me to be their CoDA sponsor and I declined).
I do want all of my relationships to be healthy; but it's OK to concentrate my best efforts and my best energy on the people who are most important to me.
Thank You God, for showing me how to focus my emotional energy into creating a few truly fantastic relationships.
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Staff, H. (2009, January 14). Single-Minded Focus, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/serendipity/single-minded-focus