Tuesday, April 27, 2010


For many co-dependents, other people's opinions can be like a tide against which it is difficult to sustain our footing. For some of us, it's family members who push and pull at us, wanting us to behave in the way they decide we should. They make judgements about our situation and choices, and feel no compunction whatsoever about stating these, clearly, and often. Others have spouses, friends, or coworkers who do the same thing.

It can be somewhat of a balancing act to maintain our serenity while not allowing other people's opinions to affect our decisions.

How do we remember why we made a particular choice, when we are being buffeted by the opinions of others? (Others who may have a vested interest in our changing our minds.)

Write it down. Choose a time when you won't be interrupted, sit quietly, and then write down exactly why you are making this choice for yourself. Be blunt. Put it down exactly as it comes from your deepest self. Make it as direct and as uncompromising as possible, because you're going to need that clarity later on. 

Take this piece of paper and put it into a safe place. There might be a day when you truly can not remember why you made this choice, and the only person who can remind you, is you.

When you are being swayed by another person's opinion, or by pressure of any sort, whether loving or angry, you will be able to go find your piece of paper, and remind yourself - right, that's why I chose this.

If nothing has changed, you can put it away again, take a deep breath, and go on as before, secure in the knowledge that this is the best for you, and what other people think/say/feel about it, doesn't have to sway your decisions.

We can respect each other without allowing ourselves to be manipulated.

For those of us who know we are susceptible to pressure from outside ourselves, this little reminder can be incredibly helpful.

I've used this myself, and it was amazing to me how powerful it was, to read my own words stating my reasons for my life choice. I was instantly grounded: re-energised to choose the best for myself: able to withstand what as an old AA guy used to describe as "just a bit of breeze." This man had been sober for many years by the time I met him in an open AA meeting, and that was how he described other people's efforts to convince him to do something against his better judgement; he joked that he would smile, and shut his ears off, and then the air coming from their mouths was no longer words, it was "just a bit of breeze."

I loved that. I've had times in my life when I've been about to speak, and that has popped into my head, and I've decided to remain silent, because I didn't think I needed to be contributing a bit of breeze.

Write it down, put it into a safe place, and then you have it when you need it, when you are being blown about, swept back and forth in the gale winds of pressure from others.

Think of this writing as a gift you are giving to a future you.


  1. I love, love, love this idea. I am going to use it. And suggest it to others. Thank you.

  2. I remember how odd it was for me initially to be doing things for myself instead of always just doing what others wanted. We've come a long way!

  3. Great idea. I love the breeze analogy and having an anchor in the storm. Thanks for the suggestion.