“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it”
OK…I know that it’s been a while, but hopefully, you’ve been putting the first nine steps to work in your life and seen something of a difference. Maybe you simply feel better about where your life is going and how you’re living every day. Maybe you’ve been able to find a way to fix a broken relationship that you never thought could be fixed. Maybe you can see now how your old behaviors held you back and are making progress every day to move toward better behaviors.
Or…maybe not. :-)
Regardless of where you’re at right now, step 10 is something for everyone to keep in mind. It’s not just restricted to people working the 12 steps, but rather, it’s a lesson that all people everywhere can benefit from. Simply put, keep doing the right thing.
“This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.”
-A.A. Big Book
Life isn’t a single instance or moment or “Aha!” and then we’re done. It is a journey, a walk, and daily task in which we can learn to do better than the day before. In order to be and become the absolute best person that you can, you must pursue being better every day. That’s not to say that you are working hard at it every day, but rather, that you are aware of yourself and your own behaviors all the time. Most important to the self awareness mindset is that you watch for those “bad” behaviors and change them as them appear and also to make amends for mistakes and hurts immediately.
“The emphasis on inventory is heavy only because a great many of us have never really acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal. Once this healthy practice has been groomed, it will be so interesting and profitable that the time it takes won't be missed. For these minutes and sometimes hours spent in self-examination are bound to make all the other hours of our day better and happier. And at length our inventories become a regular part of everyday living, rather than unusual or set apart.”
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
I like the fact that the 12 steps encourage us all to take time from each day to evaluate how well we did. It’s like getting a progress report every day on us. Often, every day brings struggles, challenges, good times, bad times, and times when I simply feel “blah”. By taking a bit of time at the end of my day, I’m able to put it all into perspective and “grade” my actions, thoughts, and feelings. I can resolve to do better, think nicer, and apologize when I’m wrong or reacted in a hurtful manner. I’ll be the first to admit that some days are better than others. :-)
“The Tenth Step can be a pressure relief valve. We work this step while the day's ups and downs are still fresh in our minds. We list what we have done and try not to rationalize our actions. This may be done in writing at the end of the day. The first thing we do is stop! Then we take the time to allow ourselves the privilege of thinking. We examine our actions, our reactions, and our motives. We often find that we've been "doing" better than we've been "feeling". This allows us to find out where we have gone wrong and admit fault before things get any worse. We need to avoid rationalizing. We promptly admit our faults, not explain them.
We work this step continuously. This is a prevention, and the more we do it, the less we will need the corrective part of this step. This is really a great tool. It gives us a way of avoiding grief before we bring it on ourselves. We monitor our feelings, our emotions, our fantasies, and our actions. By constantly looking at these things we may be able to avoid repeating the actions that make us feel bad.”
- Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text
This is my life and it’s the only one that I get. There are no retakes, no do-overs, and no restarts. I want to make the most of every moment that I’m granted and be a blessing, not a burden, to everyone brought into my life. I know that I’m not perfect, and really that’s a good thing. Step 10 helps me to keep daily perspective of myself, but it also helps me in dealing with everyone else. I can listen and understand, empathize and console, dance and sing with everyone that I meet.
So, keep on keepin’ on and know that whatever grade you get today, tomorrow is another day. :-)