From "One Day At A Time In Al-Anon" page 155:
"A program of self-recognition and self-change "reads easy and does hard."
I spoke with a sponsee yesterday, and she mentioned how difficult it is to work our program, because of the challenge of being honest with ourselves. Honesty with self is a necessity and a prerequisite, if we are to get anywhere in this journey to wholeness and serenity, but the very human difficulty in seeing ourselves with any level of perceptibility means that we will invariably reach a point of being stuck, and unable to progress.
When that point is reached, I've learned not to tell myself stories about what I'm doing, but instead realise that I've gone as far as I can with objective clarity, and when I can't get any further, ask for input from my sponsor and other program friends. I need to choose people who won't reassure me with people-pleasing, but will instead be direct and if necessary, blunt, in their take on my situation.
I don't offend easily anymore, and when I ask for help, I'm willing to hear whatever that person has to say. I don't have to agree, and I don't have to like it. But respect and experience has taught me to listen and give the words the weight they deserve. I've asked for them, this person has taken the time and effort to give me their take on it; I need to sit quietly and listen, and perhaps I'll need to sit in the feelings stirred up by their reply, if the issue is a particularly thorny one.
I've learned over the years to recognise a certain type of irritated feeling which will rise in my chest as a desire to defend, argue, or debate. Nowadays, when I feel that particular feeling, I know to pay close attention to what is being said to me, because I've learned that I only ever get that feeling when I'm hearing the truth about myself. The truth resonates with a power that something which doesn't apply can't reach. So I know to "sit down, shut up, and pay attention." Don't sit with a smile on my face, while arguing internally, don't ignore what's being said in favour of my own take, don't let this chance to learn pass by unremarked.
Other people are a conduit for our Higher Power, respect them!