In the first post on step 10, AA Step Ten - Continued to Take Personal Inventory, I had pulled out few lines from the Twelve Steps and Twelve traditions that really resonated with me and that I believe are crucial to our growth as human beings. So in this post I'd like to focus on the actual personal inventory.
It's a good idea to do the inventory at the end of the day, but really you can do it at any time of the day. It's meant to be a spot check inventory which would help us keep our side of the street clean and begin a journey to a closer connection with our Higher Power.
When starting the personal inventory we foremost must watch out for our old friend - justification - which sweeps in and attempts to give us a legitimate reason for our conduct which was really wrong. Maybe we have "constructively" criticized someone who needed it but in fact we did it to feel superior. Or we appeared helpful just to prosper from the gain ourselves. Maybe our fear has put us against someone who was trying to help us and we saw it as an attack. In these instances only the closest scrutiny will reveal our true motives.
To help us with our inventory we ask ourselves the following questions listed in Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book (pp. 84-86):
Was I resentful? Selfish? Dishonest? Afraid?
Do I owe an apology?
Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once?
Was I kind and loving toward all?
What could I have done better?
Was I thinking of myself most of the time?
Or was I thinking of what I could do for others, what I could pack into the mainstream of life?
It's truly important to also remember all the good that we have done during the day, for using this inventory as a pity party would only turn to be more harmful than helpful. Here we need to take the inventory to help us grow and become better people. To abandon self and focus on helping others. "Love and tolerance of others is our code." We can reach out to those that we dislike and practice courtesy and kindness and even begin to understand them and help them when needed.
Such a radical change in our outlook will take time, maybe a lot of time. Not many people can truly assert that they love everybody. Twelve Steps and twelve Traditions, Step Ten, pg. 92.This is meant to be a lifetime journey. At all times we continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. And as always we are reminded:
An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek. - Twelve Steps and twelve Traditions, Step Ten, pg. 95.