I am amazed that it the end of July already! I just wanted to leave this month and step behind with some wise things I have heard around the table on the subject of letting go of character defects. The first one is “choose guilt over resentment, it is the saner choice” ~ Anon. This resonates well for me because guilt and shame never motivated me to change. In fact, I used to be a very angry drunk when these were employed. What did help me was to let go of my resentments and my expectations (which are really just planned resentments). So, when I let go of others’ expectations of me and say no to irrational requests, it feels less uneven and very empowering.
The next one I have heard is “humility is an action, not an emotion“. ~ Jan W, 2014. How we respond to those around us says a whole lot more about our mental well-being and compassion for them than all the feelings we have toward them ever will.
What would a loving person do/say? ~ Anon. I need to ask myself this daily and especially when I do not know how to respond. My mom used to say, “if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” I am pretty quiet most days! Ha ha.
“Being human is not a character defect” ~ Sue I, 2000. Forgiveness and acceptance of self comes well ahead of forgiveness and acceptance of others in my book. Hurt people; hurt people. When I came to accept that even I had limits, self-defeating behaviors, and sore spots; I learned that so does everyone else. This old world needs more hugs and less blame. Step #7 offers this promise: Freedom from blame. I hope today is blame free for each of us.
I would be willing to bet that you cannot list 10 assets that you possess. The one question most prospective employers ask is, “what are your best qualities?” Most people will just sit there in silence and try to think of at least one good thing that they can report and not risk sounding like a braggart. In step #6, we read that “as a result of working the 12 steps, our character defects will be transformed into our assets”. In my opinion, defects and assets are just the two facets of the same double edged sword.
If you were to tell me that you were a procrastinator, I would counter that you probably are a very careful, methodical worker. If you were to tell me that you were such a people-pleaser. I would challenge you to think in terms of being someone who is careful with the feelings of others. None of us is all bad or all good. Our job in step #6 is to become willing to apply the better parts of ourselves in each of our relationships. If we are not willing, then we pray to be willing to be willing. A small change is greater than no change at all. Shoot for the middle of the road. Carry on. There are no mistakes in AA; just learning opportunities.
My daily reader mentioned that “as a result of working the steps, our defects will be transformed into our assets”. Today’s questions were: How are my shortcomings transformed into assets? And, can I list the assets into which HP might transform my character defects? Here is a list from AA literature that some sponsors use. I prefer one that offers a list of corresponding assets on the opposite side of the paper. http://www.barefootsworld.net/aaonsteps4567.html
That way, people can visualize what they are shooting for. Personally, I shoot for the middle, and try my best to stay on that balance beam, or in the right lane of the road. If I stay in my lane and use the boundaries or parameters of social situations, and try to just be enough and not too much of either good or bad; the pressure is off, and the end result is no crisis or mess to cleanup. That seems to work for me. We are all just a work in progress. Easy does it, but do it.