It’s human nature to criticise others for their mistakes and failures. It’s much harder to stop and take a long hard look in the mirror.
It takes courage and humility (i.e. balls) to admit when you were wrong.
I made a cock up this afternoon. I spoke harshly to someone close to me. I said several things I really should not have.
Immediately I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I’d let myself get carried away with my emotions.
Now I’m off my antidepressants, I’m often getting surges of emotion, particularly anger and irritation. These surges seem to come from nowhere. And I’m still trying to adjust to them, whilst also trying not to say or do anything too stupid.
I’m not trying to make excuses (OK, maybe I am a little bit). I still shouldn’t have said what I said today.
The temptation is to protect our egos: to think of all the reasons we were justified in behaving the way we did. But we need to move beyond this.
I gave myself a couple of hours to calm down and reflect, then I swallowed my pride. I phoned the person I’d wronged and I apologised.
(Aren’t I just the perfect human being?!)
Steps 4 to 9
The process I’ve described above is actually a huge part of the 12 Steps. Though if you ask me, they needlessly over-complicate it.
Really, it’s as simple as this:
- Think about a situation that’s bothering you.
- Notice who you’re feeling resentful towards.
- Choose to let go of that resentment.
- Work out what part you played in the situation. Where were you wrong? What mistakes did you make? What fears and false beliefs underlie the way you behaved?
- Apologise and make amends, as long as doing so won’t make things worse.
Doing the above isn’t particularly comfortable. But it helps me feel proud of myself. It helps me feel like I’m taking responsibility for my life.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if each of us decided, on our own and without any coercion, to look in the mirror and apologise for our mistakes.