Parent Caregivers – 12 Steps, Step 7: Humility. Support, Families, Parents

12 Step Program – Step 7

Parent Caregivers – 12 Step Program Step 7: Humility

This series Parent Caregivers 12 Step Program is adapting the “Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” to caregiving from the book Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach. In last week’s post we discussed being ready for God to take over our flaws. This week we hone in on humility.

Simple Is Not Easy

While it might seem simple to ask God to remove our shortcomings, it isn’t always easy.  We might start to doubt whether we are worthy or not. We might wonder if we are even able to ask that so many things are changed. After all, we are asking for a transformation of who we are and who we have been.

We often find ourselves impatient; we want to have this tremendous transformation on our own schedule. All of our shortcomings have been written down and we have asked for them to be taken away. Do not become frustrated and impatient, saying “these are not fixed yet.” Think of all that we are asking of God.  

” Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings” ====>

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The Transformation You Are Seeking

We are asking a lot of our higher power. We are asking for the removal of anger, impatience, resentment, unworthiness, etc. It took us time to develop these feelings and the behaviors that go with them. One of the key words we have to consider is that we are HUMBLY asking. We are not demanding our God to remove these difficult things, we are giving these things to God and asking him to HUMBLE us and help us transform. 

” We are not demanding our God to remove these difficult things, we are giving these things to God…” ====> Tweet This

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Exercise

A lot of the 12 Step Program is essentially changing ourselves. We are making concentrated effort to change the things about ourselves that are limiting our ability to show up as our authentic and desired self. The author’s of the Self-Care for Caregivers book provide a guided meditation that you can consider if you purchased the book. However, I would like you to consider a different visualization exercise.

If you are willing, take a seat in a comfortable chair or in any posture you are comfortable for meditation or prayer. When your body is in no way uncomfortable or in any pain, close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and then let it out. Do this until you feel relaxed. Focus on nothing but the sound of your breath going in and out of your body. 

Visualize Life Transformed

You may only be able to do the first part the first time you try the exercise, and that is okay; you were able to get into a relaxed state. Now, visualize for yourself what it is like to be humble. Sometimes the idea of being humble is in itself what holds us back. We feel that being humble is weak or that we are not worthy of being humble. Visualize what an acceptable state of humility is for you. How would you answer questions intended to make you angry?  

Once you have done this exercise, and you are being a humble person in your visualization, begin to slowly add in what you would be like if you removed your shortcomings. What would a humble and patient person act like? What would they say when confronted with something that caused you to lose your patience? Continue to visual your desired state. You can only achieve a goal that you can see, hear, feel, and understand. You can let God take the shortcomings, but you must fill those spaces with something new, or the empty hole will refill with what was there before.

Make sure to find time for yourself daily to humbly ask God to remove your shortcomings and then visualize what that new person is like. You can design your new self, especially with God on your side. 

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How This Affected Me

The 12 Step Program is not for wimps, that is for sure. Trying to become a better person is a process of breaking down old patterns and forming new and more healthy patterns, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Honestly, one of the biggest struggles for me was wanting to have someone to blame for all that was going on. Often, to my embarrassment, I blamed God. So to give God my shortcomings, when I felt he was falling short, took some time. I think, like many of you, some days I feel that I am making progress and I am improving, while others I am still a work in progress.

The most important change for me, or the shift that seemed to help me the most, was to be humble from a position of strength and not weakness. My version of humility was always the old story of Jesus turning the other cheek. I was tired of turning the other cheek. I felt a bit like a punching bag for the universe at times. Yet, when I allowed myself to be humble from a position of strength instead of weakness, and when I re-framed my thoughts that perhaps God didn’t have shortcomings but that I was not yet ready to see his path – most days it made all the difference.

I hope you find value in visualizing, and in knowing you are not alone.

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