Determining What Went Wrong
If we kept track of how much time we spent thinking about various things, we would probably find that we spend most of our time thinking about a small collection of problems we've rehearsed all our lives.
What can we do to be rid of our problems?
What we think is subject to scrutiny. Feel free to doubt yourself! No matter how well we brainstorm or problem solve, it is only an idea, or a dream until we take a closer look at what we're really thinking.
If we've been scheming to deal with an injury or offense, we may set out to do harm. And, if we do, we'll only make matters worse. As soon as we start out with a bad intention, we begin to live in conflict and loose the joy of living in harmony with one another.
For many of us, that negativity results in reliance upon alcohol or other substances that may result in addiction, and prevents us from dealing with the real problems we're confronted by. We avoid those we come into conflict with, and fail to adapt to the challenges life has given us to solve.
So how do these grievances begin?
Grievances, complaints and resentments start with what we believe to be an injury caused by others, and the sorry state of the victims we've become.
From Alcoholics Anonymous
"The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore. Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. But the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got. As in war, the victor only seemed to win. Our moments of triumph were short-lived."
How can we be rid of our resentments?
Its so simple you'd laugh. We write it down!
You'll find guides to that task here:
As we write our problems down, things become clear. We begin to see that there might be holes in our stories. That what we've been telling ourselves doesn't always really ring true. For example, you might find when we read what we've written down, and review what we've been saying to ourselves, some aspects of the story point to our own behavior rather than the behavior of others.
And even if we still believe we have a legitimate case, and can get others to believe it, and how awful it is - to prove what big victims we've become....does that help? Try keeping a log. You might find that what you thought was a valid grievance at first, might not be so good after a good nights sleep, or a few weeks of calm reflection upon our circumstance. Usually its not an intention to be harmful, or deceptive that harms us, its just a failure to see how efforts to get what we want in life affects others.
So how do we resolve these conflicts?
We learn to align our will with the will of God, so we are aligned with good will.
And if we focus on our own behavior, we are much more likely to see that what we don't like about others, is really what we don't like about ourselves. That's how we learn to tolerate ourselves. It does no good to focus on the behavior of others. If we don't recognize what we don't like as manifestation of our own defects of character, we can't do anything about it, and we get burned up. What we can do, is identify what we don't like about ourselves, and recognize it in others. We know its true because we've seen it in ourselves. If we didn't know it in ourselves, we wouldn't be convinced of how wrong it is in others. It is what we know and don't like about ourselves that really troubles us, precisely because we know it to be true in ourselves. And if we've done what we can to be rid of these defects of character, then we won't be troubled by it in others.
We can still help ourselves by being useful to others. By being helpful, we feel better about ourselves, and as we meet their needs, we meet our own. Self interest is not the same as selfishness: to seek for oneself without regard for others.
We know that in every case where there is anger, there is also fear. To identify the fears that really trouble us, use the phrase: "What am I afraid of loosing, or failing to get." These fears are not really about spiders and snakes, or ghosts and the boogie man. The fears we are talking about are the fears that have motivated much of our conflict and disfunction. Fears born of being found out, or betrayal and doubts about who we really are, or our ability to get what we need for ourselves, and deal with the difficulties we have in life.