Step Four, Resentments, and Life-long Patterns

Harboring resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us. -Steve Maraboli

I have officially taken pen to paper and begun my official fourth step, which is making a searching a fearless moral inventory of myself.  My instructions for this week are to complete the worksheets on my resentments.  How it works:  first, write down everyone in my life toward which I have or have had a resentment (overwhelmed yet?).  Next, describe the resentment, and check off the listed categories in which the resentment affected me, and finally (and most importantly) describe the role I played in the resentment.

Yes, to answer your unspoken question, my mind is spinning, right about now.

This is only one part of the inventory; there are several more pages, each as in-depth as what I just described.  So I am nowhere near the completion of this step, and yet I feel like I have already climbed a mountain.

This work is particularly difficult for me because I have always been of the strong belief that what has happened in my childhood, or even things in the more recent past, don’t matter much today, simply because I am an adult, and thus liable for my own actions.  Truly, no matter how upset, or angry, I feel towards what I perceive as wrongdoing against me, at the end of the day I am responsible for my own actions.  I have encountered people who have a vastly different viewpoint from this one, one in which they feel they are a victim of life’s injustices, and I tend to view that belief with contempt.

I still feel that I am responsible for my own actions, but even this early on, I am aware of a critical misstep… by never honestly looking back at the difficulties (for lack of a better word) in my life, I have not been able to see clear patterns in my behavior.  Here is one example:  in the category “the role I played,” I have written about 30 different times “failed to voice my concern,” or something to that effect.  Now, if I have already had to write that 30 times, do you think that might be something I have to look at?  I’m guessing yes, and I’m guessing my inability to develop the courage to speak my mind has played a crucial role in my development as a person.

There is so much more insight to be gained from this inventory, and I am not just looking back, but forward as well, because I have children of my own, and in reviewing my childhood I can’t help but wonder how I am affecting them.  I would say that this exercise, while time-consuming, difficult, and painful, is a worthwhile one for just about anybody.  I’ll let you know more as I delve deeper.

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Posted on September 19, 2012, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love what you say here about starting to think more about how you’re affecting your children’s lives. Around the time I started step 4 is when I really started thinking about that too. At first it was fear based but now feels more solution based. The steps are amazing. Thanks for reminding me of this.

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