Practicing Resurrection: Working the Steps– Step 10, Part 2

Step 10:  We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

    Following the news, I was reminded once again of something Dr. James Hollis mentioned in a class at the Jung Center several years ago.  It was a wisdom that struck home with me, a commentary on our current state of affairs today.  Thoughtfully, he asked something close to this:   “How could things be different in our culture if each person could take personal responsibility for the violence, the dysfunction or the pain that is within him?”

   I pondered his question all the way home and have recalled it many times since.  Remembering his words about how each of us tends to deal with that with which we don’t want to face or cannot see with denial, avoidance or projection.  Whatever we can do, it seems, we humans are highly skilled at either turning a blind eye to that which is within us or we project whatever is in us out onto others.   Sometimes, even, we do great harm to others by taking out our own fears, insecurities, anger or hate onto another — and that “other” is often innocent, but made to bear what someone can’t acknowledge in herself.

 “Oh would some Power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”

   This line from Scottish poet Robert Burns always comes to mind when I think about Dr. Hollis’ question.  I take it seriously, and his question and Robert Burns’ homespun truth are closely connected to my efforts to keep my commitment to that daily personal inventory.

Yes, it is hard to see myself as others see me.

Yes, it is hard to do that daily inventory.

Which reminds me of a line in A League of Their Own:  Of course it is hard.  If it weren’t more people would be doing it.

* * * * * *

   Now and then, someone attempts to take my inventory for me.

My reaction ranges from mild annoyance to hurt at having my weaknesses, flaws or mistakes pointed out by someone else.

Now and then, I am shocked that I hadn’t seen my own flaws and later — often much later — I am grateful to have had someone point out what I could not see in myself.

And sometimes, instead of going into a shame spiral, I examine myself and discover that the person wanting to do my inventory for me is projecting their stuff onto me.

What I do with others’ projections, criticisms and judgements says at least as much about me as it does my critic.  Sometimes people are right, and sometimes they aren’t, but how I respond or react is a part of recovering my equilibrium and staying emotionally stable, sober and in peace.

* * * * * *

   When someone feels called upon to do my inventory for me, I work on trying to remember to remind myself to take a few deep breaths before I respond.

Time was when I instantly bought what another was selling, seeing myself always as the one at fault, the one to blame, the one who was wrong.