In the 12 step world the word “God” is in many of the 12 steps. The term is meant to mean- anything one can turn to that is, at that moment, “Greater than self.” That can mean anything from a good friend, nature, the sacred Grandmothers, one’s Higher self, to a formal God or Buddha. However, just like in any other area of one’s life, there is always someone that is more than happy to define what God means to them and think that is the same HP as you “should” have. I put “should” in quotes because putting that word on self and other is a way of sending shame. I am about healing shame, so please erase “should”. It can always be replaced with “could” or the sentence and message can just plain be released.
It can be extremely helpful in healing shame to have some form of a “higher power- HP”. If I am immersed in shame and talk to someone safe, I can often find my way out of the shame lie and into peace. So, that person, for that experience, could be called a “higher power.” Another time when spiraling in shame it could help to get out and work in the garden and ground into nature. It may help release shame. In that moment, nature is the “HP”. If you love music, you can play some music and find your way out of shame. The music is your “HP”.
The point is: We all have the right to define our own “Higher Power.” I encourage people who are in a 12 step program to know that right so that if they run up against someone who is pushing a certain God, they can just claim their right to define their own HP. Just claiming a right can be so helpful.
We all deserve respect for our beliefs. This respect means, non-judgment. So whether you believe in a formal God or not, you deserve respect. You don’t need to defend your belief. If we get into defensiveness we are most likely already triggered into a shame cycle. Just claim your right to define your own higher power. This can be done out loud or in your head.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE MY OWN HIGHER POWER!