Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fighting Other People's Character Defects....

...instead of our own, is the way to ensure that we will continue to live in frustrated despondency, for years to come.

Sound bleak? That's the outcome to which we sentence ourselves, when we are unwilling to examine our own characters. We can take another person's inventory,  itemise each time they trespass against us, decency and the world, but at the end of our (probably extensive) list, we will be no further ahead.

I can't change other people.
I can't manipulate them into changing, I can't talk them into changing; they are beyond my control. That leaves me with myself. Before I can be willing to attempt change in myself, I need to discover the ways in which I have gone wrong. This is what the Fourth Step is all about - figuring out what motivates us, and why we do the things we do.

If I cannot or will not accept that I too, have made mistakes, chosen to behave badly instead of well in some instances, then I'm not being honest with myself, and that lack of honesty will continue to trip me up. It may be satisfying to enumerate another person's character defects when we're annoyed, hurt, or frustrated, but where does that get me? My experience has been that whatever I concentrate upon tends to intensify - if I focus upon another person's character defects, soon that's all I can see or hear when I'm in or out of their company - what's wrong with them.

Meanwhile, I can be excusing the selfsame behavior on my part, by giving it a different label, or pretending that I'm not really doing what I'm doing, no, I'm doing something else completely, see?

I once heard an AA speaker, say something which has stayed with me:"You know how to distinguish mature people from those who are just adult? By their willingness to admit, make amends, and work for change."

I pray for maturity.

1 comment:

  1. So very true. I do not feel the frustration much anymore.