I was angry, judgemental, self-orientated (not just selfish but I thought the world should and did revolve around ME), rude, arrogant, co-dependant, resentful, sullen, surely, dishonest (A liar), cold, detached, distrustful, disinterested...and more. And most of the time even the people closest to me didn't have a clue that I was any of those things. I was also an actor...and a damn good one too. Funny the game you can run on people who WANT to believe you.
Overcoming these traits and others has been the hardest part of my daily recovery...because I have to be diligent about it every single waking moment of my life. But for me to have a chance at recovery I absolutely had to do something to change my behaviour and little by little I have. It has not been easy or fool proof..sometimes I back slide and act like a jerk. The important thing then is to have the humility to see my mistake and rectify it immediately. It really goes back to what I wrote in an earlier post today: It all starts with LOVE.
Acceptance, forgivingness, compassion, understanding, caring, listening, relating, helping...it all starts with LOVE. Without it you don't have a chance. I certainly don't.
On my own I am judgemental. I used to spend countless hours thinking about what was wrong with the other person, why the trouble we were having was all their fault and how it couldn't possibly be ME. I was so full of sh*t, so arrogant in thinking I knew what was best for everyone else. What I've learned today is I knew nothing then. It wasn't until I started honestly looking at myself that I realized what a faker, what a pretender, what a joke of a human being I was. Here I thought I knew what was best for everyone else and I didn't truly have a clue what to do about myself. I was lost and too proud, stubborn and arrogant to ask for help... so I floundered and nearly drowned in my own Sh*t before I stopped fighting it and surrendered.
One of the most difficult situations that I can face in my life today is when I run into people who tend to act like I did back then. It is so hard for me to deal with people who come across as arrogant, stubborn and self-righteous as I was. Always finding fault with others, never looking at themselves. I can relate...that is what makes it so hard because they are acting just like I did. But I can't say that to them...they'd never listen. All I can do today in those situations is listen, share my story and Love 'em as much as possible.
But it's hard, especially if I happen to care about them.
My natural reaction to constructive criticism is anger...naturally! But I have found that it achieves absolutely NOTHING...except to perhaps make other folks even angrier than they already are. The people I struggle with most in my life today are those very people who share those very same character defects...part of it is because it's like looking into a mirror at myself. And the other part is they are just difficult to deal with, they avoid talking about it so nothing ever gets resolved. Often, they are convinced that they know what's right...truth is they typically don't have a clue. They tend to jump to conclusions, based on their own assumptions and never want to actually confront a situation or talk about it. That is exactly the way I handled things back then because I didn't want to be bothered, I truly felt I knew the answer and it would be a waste of time to talk about it.
Looking back on my behaviour then...Wow, was I ever wrong. I never listened to what anyone had to say, I made up my mind what kind of a person I thought they were (usually a less then flattering opinion) and judged them on that immediate impression.
I was a complete and utter idiot for thinking that way. I've learned today that nobody is perfect of course and though a person may have issues, may be annoying and drive me crazy. But now I know that every single one of them has value as a human being. Not judging people has been the hardest thing for me to learn. It truly just occurred to me one day totally out of the blue: "What makes me so great?" I couldn't really answer other then to say "nothing". I was no better then anyone else. I made mistakes just like they did (except I was really good at hiding them and making myself look good, but it was still living a lie!)
So that is a focus of mine today and everyday. I cannot let my selfish, self-centred ways take over my life. I have to keep my eyes on higher ideals, keep my eyes on TRUTH. I've learned the hard way that my way is the wrong way. When I listen with all my heart to God's will (and it isn't an easy thing for this guy to do) and follow it, I have found a freedom in doing that I have never, ever known before in my life! I can't explain it, it just is what it is. But I sure am grateful for it...