Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Learning humility

"Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility...a word often misunderstood. To those who have made progress in AA, it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be. Therefore, our first practical move toward humility must consist of recognizing our deficiencies. No defect can be corrected unless we clearly see what it is. But we shall have to do more than see. The objective look at ourselves we achieved in Step Four was, after all, only a look. All of us saw, for example, that we lacked honesty and tolerance, that we were beset at times by attacks of self-pity or delusions of personal grandeur. But while this was a humiliating experience, it didn't necessarily mean that we had yet acquired much actual humility. Though now recognized, our defects were still there. Something had to be done about them. And we soon found that we could not wish or will them away by ourselves." (Twelve and Twelve, Step Five, pg. 58)

Humility was the subject of both of my daily readings today. I like the concept that humility is a "clear recognition of who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be."

I have been so busy in life trying to be what I thought would make other people like and accept me, that I have had very little idea of who I truly am. Any concept of who I am was met with the idea that I surely wasn't enough -- I wasn't good enough, not polished enough, not comfortable enough, not attractive enough -- just simply not enough.

Today I recognize that I am an imperfect part of the universe and that what I am is not all I can be, but it is enough today to love myself and share love with others.

My character defects, as is suggested in the 12&12 reading above, don't just go away because I want them to. Despite doing my step work, I sometimes am dishonest and have the propensity to "hide" because I am concerned about what others think of me. That's not humility. Humility is accepting who I am and being willing to share that authentic self with others as a means of practicing healthy, honest behavior. Still, I am afraid of being weak and vulnerable, and the truth is that by my own willpower, I cannot give up that fear. I have to do the action of the 12 steps to help me work through those fears and then let go of the outcome. I may still cling to isolation and dishonesty 10 years from now. If that is the case, there is still more work to do and the defect is still serving me in some way.

I am grateful today to be learning about humility and its true definition.


Shoshana said...

Thank you for posting this. I haven't gotten to steps four and five yet--and, to be honest, they terrify me! Maybe if I come to understand this definiation of humility, and try to live it, it'll help me be less afraid of my faults.

Camel said...

Things are so connected and common. Just last night in my mens SA therapy group our therapist read aloud a powerful reading which reviewed the concept of perfection, real or not, and the impacts on human beings. Thank you for your post Rae.