Sunday, April 11, 2010

Do I Think Like a Cat?

Our neighbour's cat somehow found an entry into their attic, and crawled out into their soffits, which had to be dismantled to let her out. I was chatting to our neighbour about the fact that cats, once having gotten themselves into this sort of situation, never seem willing to retrace their steps - panic drives them to a mindset where they are only willing to on, they utterly refuse to go back. This is why we gets cats stuck in trees, I'm sure of it.

They get to a point in the tree, decide they've gone too high for their comfort level, and instead of deciding to climb down, feel compelled to climb further up - it's a cat rule.

I was thinking about this tonight, My ex had a "might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb" rationalisation; it wasn't until I was exposed to program, that I began to question the thinking. I heard that phrase all the time growing up - it seemed to suggest that once one had made a small mistake, all was lost, so why not deliberately continue to a major screwup, and have the pleasure of it?

From today's viewpoint, that's pretty wierd. It's that black and white thinking again - I'm either perfect, or I'm a disaster - no ground in between. Once my perfection is shaken, I am nothing.

My spouse is one of the first people I ever heard say, "It was just a mistake," when I'd be berating myself aloud.

Just a mistake? That seemed awfully...accepting. I wasn't sure how one could go about qualifying life, if we took mistakes in stride as a part of daily routine. Why, standards would collapse! Who would we blame?

From the ODAT, page 102:

"If we can recognise and admit our own shortcomings with increasing honesty, it opens the door to a new world for us..."

I still find it miraculous that Al-Anon makes this possible. Mistakes without shame. Confession without blame.
Patience,
Tolerance,
Love.

7 comments:

  1. Love this Cheryl. A wonderful illustration.

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  2. I have been like that cat. I am glad Alanon offered me an exit! I love this.

    ♥namaste♥

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  3. Miraculous indeed! I've never heard that expression, but I'm a little too familiar with the thinking. Thanks.

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  4. If we keep doing the same thing, we'll get the same results. Hopefully, our program helps us to do better in that regard than our pets!

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  5. Great post...a balm to perfectionists everywhere! Loved the last line :) :)

    R.

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  6. When Love Is Not EnoughApril 12, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    What a great analogy, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing! I'm not sure if you've seen anything about the movie about Lois Wilson, co-founder of Al-Anon. Hallmark Hall of Fame will feature it on April 25, but there is a Facebook page if you're interested in seeing behind-the-scenes footage - or even sharing your insights like this one to the Facebook group. Here's a link to the page: http://bit.ly/df16ED.

    Thanks again for the great post!

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  7. I agree with your husband that it is just a mistake. I understand that now and don't beat myself nearly as much as I used to or for as long. I recognize my humanness.

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