Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Gift of Introspection – Taking a Self –Inventory

The Gift of Introspection – Taking a Self –Inventory

One of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself is the self – inventory I made while working the 12 Steps of Al Anon.

Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I took my time making my self-inventory. When I was ready I used a journal and wrote pages and pages of fears, resentments, guilt, weaknesses, doubts, questions, sins, failures, and regrets from my earliest memories to the present. Part of the process involved identifying my actions or reactions and why I had responded to certain situations as I had. I also had to practice self-compassion and give myself a break and forgive myself for my perceived failures. I learned that in most instances I did the best I could with the tools I had in my toolbox at the time. Instead of failing, I made a decision and survived.

And there were two sides to the inventory. It wasn’t just focusing on my challenges. It also involved an inventory of my assets. I found that nearly every human characteristic has a positive facet and a negative facet. The negatives were essentially a characteristic taken to one extreme. I found I also had within me an amazing array of positive characteristics. My path to self-improvement required me to know myself and learn to cultivate the positive side of any characteristic rather than wallow in the negative. We all have within us two sides to every trait.  For me to live a healthy life with a positive focus I have to work on the right side of the coin. It means avoiding the extremes.

Working on my-self inventory was a voyage of discovery and appreciating the road I’d traveled. I learned that I had to follow the path I had followed to reach where I am today. And I discovered that I am where I am supposed to be today.

One of the gifts of this self discovery is accepting that what has happened has happened and cannot be changed and that the choices I’ve made brought me to where I am. And I have achieved a modicum of peace, serenity, contentment, joy and happiness.  I know that I can appreciate the blessings in my life today because of the challenges I’ve faced in the past. I know that every step I’ve taken has brought me to who I am and where I am today. And I am grateful.

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