Astonishingly enough, some things that I find terribly charming about myself can cause uncomfortable irritability and outright hatred in others. I’ve heard it said that one in ten people will dislike you based on nothing more than your look. No interaction; just you standing there will cause a negative reaction with 10% of the population.
I say this now without a hint of pride: during my active alcoholic life, with the right people and the right environment, I was able to push that percentage far above fifty.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Here’s what I’ve learned about people. You can’t be nice to them 99% of the time, and then three times a year blow up and rip down all their surroundings. They tend to remember that.
So when taking my inventory, I must be honest, but not exaggerated. As always, remain right-sized. Simply going over the first ten of the almost endless list of flaws and defects can take an afternoon; drifting back, looking for occasions where said tics flourish.
One of the scariest things I’ve found is when I hone in on a trait that annoys me to no end in another person, only to realize that I hate it so much because it’s one of mine. It’s straight from my playbook. I just assumed everyone enjoyed themselves when I did it.
These are the moments when the notion of knowing oneself, let alone anyone else, seems hopeless, and that the black hole is right behind your left shoulder. It’s more than a little freaky to realize there are unconscious things I do that cause tremendous pain in others.
For today: be awake and open to others. It’s actually somewhat easy to interact and notice the signs, once the fog has cleared and I get out of my own head.