Introspection can truly be a dangerous thing.
When I say introspection can be dangerous, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t take a look at ourselves. We need to. We have to look at ourselves, our actions, motivations, triggers and so many things to gain a better understanding of who we are and why we respond to the world in the way we do. We have to be willing to take that risk of looking at ourselves if we want to be healthier…both for ourselves and for others. As I wrote yesterday about finding my serenity again, introspection is going to be a big part of achieving that.
How each person handles this is different. A big part of how they deal with what they find depends on how emotionally healthy they are to begin with…as well as what kind of support they have in the process.
After my post yesterday, I received a really sweet message from a friend of mine. After reading my post, she took a moment to encourage me and remind me that I can, and will, find my stable place…my serenity…again. She also took a moment to commend me on not just recognizing that I needed to address things but also on working on a plan to address those areas I can control. The message came out of nowhere and meant so much because I was really struggling yesterday, and have been for a few days, with everything going through my head.
As I have thought more about her message, I have been reminded of what happened the first time I was working through my 12 steps when I was active in Al-Anon. I was reminded of the fear at certain points. I was reminded of how easily it was to tear myself apart when working those steps. I was also reminded of my sponsor, an amazing man who grew up in a very similar background to me, who helped keep me to both stay on track with my steps and also reshaped my view of the process at each point along the journey.
Step 4 in the 12 steps is very scary. It’s one that truly focuses on introspection. What step 4 requires is that we “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” For most people working the 12 steps, we have a very distorted view of ourselves. Most of us honestly don’t believe we are good people. We believe we are fundamentally flawed beyond repair and for people doing this step for the first time, it is seen as the opportunity to acknowledge how truly screwed up we are.
I was truly fortunate with the sponsor I had the first time I worked my steps. As I sat down to begin working on my moral inventory, my sponsor took a moment to talk with me. His words to me, he would not consider my 4th step complete unless I included more positive things about myself than negative. Before he said that, I figured it was all going to be an easy, no brainer. I honestly though it was just going to be a list of how screwed up and how bad a person Tiffany was. When he told me I had to include more positives than negatives about myself…it suddenly became very had to complete this step. I just couldn’t see myself in a positive light then.
I learned a great deal through this step. The biggest lesson that I learned was that the majority of my flaws in life were positive traits about myself being taken too far. It was things like…I wanted to help others in need was a positive trait. However, letting myself being taken advantage of by others was a negative trait…and was basically wanting to help others being taken too far. The whole experience was very eye opening for me.
As I think about how to find my peace again, I am sitting down to do these steps again. I am planning to sit down and truly look at what I am doing, right and wrong, at this point with everything going on. And after I do that, I plan to work the next two steps too…which involves both making amends to others…as well as forgiving those who have wronged me. Of course, one thing I have to remember as I do this…
I have to make sure to both forgive myself and make amends with myself.
Sometimes, that is the hardest part…forgiving ourselves…
See it on Flickr.
Le Poppycock – Space Out
pilea peper plant
potted rubber tree
Merlot Wine Glass
Grey Tabby Cat Lying – Mesh – Full Perm
Soho Build -no snow-
Backyard Stool Brown