Self or God – letting go of selfishness

Selfishness–self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. AA Big Book Chapter 5 – How it works

 

I keep thinking I’m ready to start a 4th step, but then I keep not doing it for various reasons.  Instead I dabble at it.  So, today, I thought I would read more about it in the AA Big Book.  Alcohol isn’t my substance of choice, but the pattern of disease/disorder is the same, and since The Big Book is the first writing for working the 12 Steps, it is a primary resource for all of the other 12 Step fellowships that I’ve encountered. So, I clicked on the link to read more about the 4th step in the Big Book and got taken to this chapter, How It Works.  As I skimmed through, looking for step 4, I began reading through the section about STEP 3.

While reading this, I realized that Step 3 is something that you can’t just skim over and think it’s done.  There are so many layers to my self centered thinking and selfish motivations.  Maybe realizing the depth of my selfishness and self-centeredness is part of my moral inventory and for now, I just need to sit with the knowledge that I’m not the kind, considerate, patient, and tolerant person I am because I’m motivated by God, but because I think that me being that way is what will make my life easier because if I’m that way, others will fall into line with their words, actions, and choices.  This realization brings out the fact that the root of my bitterness and resentments are because I haven’t been able to get THEM to behave in kind and considerate ways toward me and they should have based on how I act.  So, in reality, I’m still egocentrically trying to be God in my life and the lives of others.  Not a proud realization, quite humbling really.

For today, God, please show me when I’m letting self drive me and help me to let go of selfish motivations and thoughts.  Help me to not seek to change others or even my self, but to allow You to do Your work and Your will in my life and through me.  Help me to give my self and others over to You and to let go of my need to be in control and in charge, releasing resentment, bitterness, anger, and fear.

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3 comments

  1. For me one of the most difficult things to learn –finally, really, truly get it through my head — is that nothing I think, say, do or pray will change anyone else!! No one, not even God because He set into motion free-will from the beginning, can change someone except that person themselves!! THEN to stop behaving in those ways I always used in the past to try to change others I found even more difficult!! I had no idea how much of a manipulator and controller of other people I tried to be!! I had been taught that there are certain wrongs and certain rights and that’s that. Then I got out into the REAL world and discovered most people don’t believe that way and don’t act that way. Since I was “taught” this, I thought it my duty, due to other things I was taught, to “educate” them, thinking they’d be appreciative of this newfound knowledge and this would change their lives for the better. I was always willing to listen to someone I trusted or respected who would come to gently and privately and tell me I was doing something wrong or using words in the wrong way or something that I was unaware of and that would help me learn, grow and become a better person. Therefore, I thought others would appreciate my help as well. Boy howdy, was I ever wrong!! Most people want you to leave them alone and it ticks them off if you try to gently educate them because they think you think you’re better than they are — something that never even entered my mind!! I was shocked by their anger and their reactions!! Then my feelings would be hurt because they misunderstood me and went around telling everyone awful things about me and then I’d get ticked off!!

    I remember a saying, but not who said it and I may not quote it exactly, that means more to me now than ever and which I never understood the first several times I came across it: “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It only aggravates the pig and it wastes your time.” I need to find that on a giant poster and place it on a wall where I can see it and read it every single day for the rest of my life!! Maybe I’ll Google it and see if I can buy one!!

    As always whenever I read what someone has written with which I can identify, I’m so grateful for the post and so thankful to not be the only one who experiences these things!!
    –Kathy

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  2. Thank you for this. It’s a great reminder. The 3rd & 4th steps are so powerful and truly changed my life– both times I did them! I’m wanting to go through the steps again this year and this blog motivates me to do so.

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    1. You’re welcome, I have never been able to complete a 4th step, but I’m learning to let HP direct my recovery process instead of trying to dictate the shoulds and should nots of it. I’m discovering that there are many ways to do this, as long as I focus on HP and the steps, I’m progressing.

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