Yesterday, I gave myself an assignment. Today, I’m grading my paper with a big red crayon. And there’s a whole lot of red.
I’m attempting a month of humility:
Humility simply requires a man to think of his abilities and his actions as no greater, and no lesser, than they really are. Real humility then mandates that a man knows and is completely honest with himself.
My assignment yesterday was this: to recognize my misrepresentations of reality.
It’s really “the wisdom to know the difference” in a slightly different form, one I’m attempting to make more concrete. When I’m struggling with the wisdom, when I’m confused about what’s actual and what’s imaginary, it all ends up in the negative pile, because if it’s not clear as crystal to me, then it must have at least some bad in it.
Textbook Example: I’m upset about something. Something that would fit squarely into the “accept the things I cannot change” category. But my pride doesn’t care for that one bit. My low self-esteem is rubbed raw. And my disease is eating it up, biding its time, it being cunning, baffling, and powerful.
“Surely the serenity prayer doesn’t apply to this,” I bemoan. “These are special circumstances. This is me we’re talking about here, not some random drunk.”
My pride sits on my shoulder, whispering in my ear. And what it whispers isn’t helpful. My pride is deceitful; it says that my attempt at humility is only an attempt at fooling myself. Fear, fear, and more fear. That’s what drips down into my heart.
Based on yesterday’s homework, I was able to recognize this misrepresentation of reality. But that in no way stopped it from burrowing into my brain. I was irritable, miserable, accusatory, and deeply depressed. Nothing stayed right-sized, and I longed to escape.
And since escape is no longer an option, I hit a couple meetings. I read some literature. I repeated several positive affirmations. And, most importantly, I forgave myself to some degree for what I perceived as another failing.
My assignment for today: try again. And this time, once I recognize, I let go.