Love And Tolerance
Love And Tolerance
Today I came to the hard realization that I have not been showing love and tolerance in my daily affairs. Especially in regards to a certain person that goes to the same meetings as I do. I’ve been badmouthing this person, behind their back, to my sponsor. When I see them at meetings I avoid them at all costs. And when they do speak to me, like last night, I am cold and definitely not nice. Looking back on my behavior, just from this past week, I am ashamed of myself.
One of the Principles of the Fellowship is love and tolerance. A principle that I’ve tried to practice in my daily affairs, and up to this point thought I had been doing. But I was wrong.
I’ve learned over time that the only person I can control is myself. I can control my reaction to someone or something. I can control what I say and do. I can control whom I talk to or don’t talk to. But that’s it. I cannot control what someone else says or does. I cannot control who talks to me or who does not.
In this situation, what I cannot do is tell this person to go fuck themselves. I cannot say “Quit bitching and playing the victim”. That would be harmful instead of helpful. What I can do instead is try to help.
As it says in the book Alcoholics Anonymous:
“We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.”
Even though I do not like what this person says, I have to realize that I cannot change them. The only thing I can change is myself and how I react. The way I can do that is look at what I am bothered by. When I am disturbed by what someone says or does, it is usually a mirror image of something I say or do. In this case, playing the victim.
Why does that bother me? It bothers me on the surface because I feel like they are sucking the life out of me. But, when I dig deeper, I find I am bothered because this person is in pain, and I’m feeling that pain. I don’t like to feel pain. I don’t like to be uncomfortable. This person is making me feel pain, is making me feel uncomfortable, and therefore I react with anger, and aggression.
Now that I realize that bit of information, I can start the process of changing the way I react to this person. But I have to tell you that this is not second nature for me. The only way I can change is if I look at myself first. I have to look at my own behavior. And, I have to continue to strive to be a better person than I was yesterday. That’s the only way I will grow.
This process didn’t happen overnight. It has taken time, effort, and continually working the Steps to come to this point. Also, I have to remember that I am never “done” with this process. There’s always room to grow, as long as I stay teachable.
Originally published November 23, 2016 – medium.com