“We who had won so handsomely in a walk turned into all-time losers.”
– Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step Two, page 30.
Once school was over for good, once my superiority could no longer be quantified through grades and percentiles, and I was released into the real world along with everyone else, my natural advantages disappeared. I no longer held sway as the smartest one in the room – I was just another person, surrounded by people who each believed that they were the smartest people in the room.
Well, someone’s lying. Or misunderstood. I always felt sorry for these folks; these interlopers who, until this point in their life, managed to avoid interaction with a clearly superior human being.
Step Two: came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Not that I was grandiose about it; I wasn’t. I had enough sense to let them realize what they were up against, and gave them a chance to accept my position as the alpha all-being. That way they could save face. This philosophy held true for my boss, new acquaintances, neighbors, strangers on an elevator, whatever.
However, what I didn’t count on was that the measurements used to determine a life well-lived are fluid at best, and do not rely on standardized testing. That unfair realization caused more and more resentment to be focused on those who seemed to be above me in wealth and power and stature, and I’d spend decades trying to pull them back down to my level, making excuses for both their successes and my failures. In my mind, everyone had a softer, easier way. But not me. I was doing it the right way, whatever “it” was, without help or luck or networking.
It’s this total self-reliance, marinated in self-pity and martyrdom, that I’m banking on as the way to go. My theory being, I guess, that God will pull me out of the crowd up in heaven and point out that, “what Paul was doing down there – that’s what you all should have been doing. Let’s give Paul a warm round of applause, and feel free to apologize to him at your leisure.”
Which is insane, because if I’m truly living God’s will, why am I constantly miserable?
Because I’m clinging. Because I’m jealous. Because I’m forever painting myself into mental corners that forces me to come out firing.
Today: Understand that self-reliance has its place, and that it falls far below God’s will.