Baby Stepping Fourth: Fears Part 4, Column 5

Assignment for Part 4 of the Fears Inventory: List the Character Defects involved.
I need to keep things simple. The character defects that I find in the AA textbook when it refers to the Step 4 Inventory are: Selfish, Self-Seeking, Dishonest and Fearful. Just a bit later, Inconsiderate is referenced. So, I’ve decided to use those, just like the Old Timers did.  There are unlimited weaknesses, defects, sins, faults, wrongs or whatever that are implicit in those umbrella terms, but why complicate it? If I’m selfish and self-seeking there are a whole bunch of ways I can act it out. No sense in going into all that. It would just bog me down and by the time I thought I had it perfect, I’d have other defects involved — perfectionism, being one.
In fact, if you like, just lump Selfish and Self-Seeking into one concept. We don’t need to be wordsmiths to do the inventory. If you do love words and want to differentiate, here’s one take:
  • Selfish – grab what makes me happy: greedy, possessive, stingy (think 2-year-old); generosity is the opposite.
  • Self-seeking – shrinking world of the mirror, seeking only to further self, often at another’s expense (think narcissist or single child); humility is the opposite trait.

Most people I work with have the greatest difficulty with discerning how they might be dishonest when it comes to facing reality.  Note that fear feeds on this dishonesty so they will often be linked.

For example, if I need to end an abusive relationship (I’ve had practice at this) the self-talk sounds like the following:

  • No one else will help this fella so I”m responsible for him (dishonesty, fear)
  • I will never find anyone to take his place in my life and I can’t survive the loneliness of being alone (fear, selfish, self-seeking)
  • If I fix this person, I will feel better about myself (self-seeking, dishonest)
  • I can’t face what other people will say when they find out that I’ve failed in yet another relationship (fear, dishonesty)
  • We can be happy if he will just listen to my wisdom (dishonest, selfish, self-seeking)
  • I made a commitment and God (or others) will never forgive me for leaving (fear, dishonesty)

You get the idea. False beliefs keep us bound in the fear, even if we are convinced we need to change. Once we start to write it down, the lies we tell ourselves are undeniable and we are astounded that we ever believed them, let alone let our lives be shaped by them.

Choose to stay in the fear — or not. If not, then finish the 4th Step Not So Scary Worksheet on Fears. You can print it from the top menu bar of any post, or use a notebook of your choosing and make your own columns.

God is doing the inventory work, through us. Don’t belabor getting this ‘right’. Just jot down what He reveals at first. When we stop to THINK too much, ego takes over and we’re listening to self again. 

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