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Get Up, Stand Up: Stand Up For Your Rights!

A man without decision can never be said to belong to himself. -John Watson Foster

a

Yesterday was the Philadelphia’s Fighting for Air Climb, an event where individuals and teams race up 1,088 steps as quickly as they can.  Since 2010, my husband has participated with a team in this “vertical race” in an effort to raise money for the American Lung Association.  For the past 2 years, my children have joined his team, and climbed fast enough to received trophies.    Very cool experience, and very rewarding for all involved, including spectators such as myself.  The picture above is this year’s team, which is the largest ever in the climb’s history, nation-wide.  Great job, Team Stab!

This year’s event  has taught me a valuable lesson in decision-making, and, more importantly, in standing up for my decisions.  I can’t remember what, if any, pressure was placed upon me to participate in this event prior to this year, and since I can’t remember, I’m guessing, not a lot.  This year, however, I had received entreaties from several different participants:  2013 is the year I should join this worthy cause.

Here’s how the decision-making process went for me:

  1. ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, NO (EXPLETIVE OMITTED) WAY
  2. Alright, you should at least consider it… then, repeat #1
  3. As various people would attempt to talk me into it… well, maybe…
  4. But I really, really don’t want to do this, so no way
  5. But, maybe this is one of those things I should be pushing myself to do, and think of all the benefits…

… and so on.  I went back and forth with this process for days on end.  I shared about it at meetings, and with people close to me, but at the end of the day I realized only one person could make this decision, and that was me.  So I took some time, sat down, and did my best to quiet my mind, and see what God thought about this quandary.  I kid you not, within minutes I was able to focus, not on what other people thought was good for me, or how I would be making this one or that one proud of me, but how I would feel about actually doing it.  Long story short, I felt calm and confident that this was not an event in which I would enjoy participating, and any other choice I would be making for someone else.

So that is that, right?  I waited a few days (this was over a month ago, I had to make the decision early because I would have needed to train for it), then shared the decision with my husband.  His immediate reply:  please reconsider.  I gave my reasons why I did not wish to participate, and he argued against most of them, but finally conceded that it was my decision to make.  Good enough.

Same conversation, different person, several more times before the event.  And each time, I am fighting getting annoyed.  Finally, the event day comes, and everyone does really well, and it was awesome (as always) to be a spectator, they have cameras set up as everyone passes the “finish line,” or reaches the 50th floor, so I got to see everyone as they completed.  As people are leaving the event, no short of 4 different people say as they are leaving, “so you are in for next year, riiight???”

So, as I mentioned, two lessons.  The first was the decision-making process, which taught me to weed out the expectations, demands, and even wishes of others, and get to the heart of the issue, which is what is good for me, and what works for me.  The second is having the conviction and confidence to stand up for my decision, and this was the much harder lesson.  I really struggled yesterday with not making a sharp comment, not getting defensive, and not going overboard explaining myself to every person present.   For the most part, I succeeded (although my husband had to hear about it, God bless him for listening!), and I think that the whole experience will get easier each subsequent time.  At least, I really, really hope so!

Today’s Miracle:

The perfect Sunday:  sleep in a bit, wonderful conversation over coffee, just a little bit of shopping, and back home to putter around on the computer.  It just doesn’t get any better!

Becoming “Right Sized”

rightsize[ˈraɪtˌsaɪz]

vb

(Business / Commerce) to restructure (an organization) to cut costs and improve effectiveness without ruthlessly downsizing
The expression “becoming right sized” is one I hear a lot in the rooms of AA.  In earlier months, when I heard it, I didn’t think it necessarily applied to me, because it was used in the context of bringing yourself down to right size, which implies thinking too much of yourself, and I tend to think of myself as somewhat “less than” when it comes to almost anything.
This week, I have had the opportunity to get a clearer understanding of this expression, and use it in what I believe is its proper context.  As I have written about in numerous previous posts, I have consequences from my active addiction that I need to pay.  My program started this week, and there have been many surprise directives, and interactions that require the full amount of humility I have gained in the past 248 days.  Since life is about progress and not perfection, there have been quite a few moments of “are you kidding me?!?” and “I have to do WHAT?!?”  and “there is no way…”
These thoughts led to the inevitable pity party, which, thankfully, did not last more than a few hours (it should be noted that the old me would have attended this pity party for a lot longer, so I do feel proud of cutting that time by the amount I did).  When I finally snapped out of my funk, I recalled the promises I have made numerous times in the past 8 months with respect to these consequences… “if I have to stand on my head for the next year, I will do that, and will be grateful to do so.” I said those words, I meant them, and I am going to do what I need to do with the correct attitude… I made a mistake, I am paying the price for it, and I will grow from any and all experiences in the meantime.
So back to that cryptic definition I found for the expression “rightsize.”  That applies to personality as well as it does to business, and here’s how:  it’s important for me to restructure my own thought processes, and to eliminate the negative beliefs and the old ways of thinking, while maintaining and developing the newer beliefs, and the ones that are working in my life.  Rightsizing is a challenge in times of stress, but it can be done!
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