STEP SIX CONTINUED: Take inventory of ourselves to discover any way in which we have hurt, disappointed, or abused anyone by our religious beliefs.
Instruction: Consider disappointments.
I recall times when I disappointed people in my life, because I said or did something that was less than kind, and, in fact, may have been cruel. Sometimes it was in the name of religious belief, but at other times, it was simply my human imperfection coming out. At first, we might overlook the ways in which we disappointed others, and perhaps we don’t need to spend a great deal of time going back over too many of these incidents. The eventual goal is to heal ourselves from religious abuses, hurts, and disappointments, so we don’t want to overlook something that might still cause us pain. When it comes to disappointments, our inventory might be only those incidents that come to our immediate attention. Scouring our memories to try to discover every single incident seems out of balance. We will know which ones to consider, because when they come into our memory, there will still be pain associated with them.
Perhaps not all of life is religious, but because we are spiritual beings, all of life is spiritual. Therefore, when we disappoint someone, there is a spiritual wound, even if it be ever so slight, which recognizes our need to forgive ourselves for being less than what we had hoped to be. A word of caution seems appropriate here in that we need not be overly aggressive with this Step or else discouragement and more disappointment might come as a result. We are looking at our past in order to heal, so we can live fully in the present. We don’t want to get stuck in the past. Forgiveness and setting aside the past incidents is our eventual goal, and that doesn’t require self-loathing, depression, and disgrace. We consider the ways in which we have disappointed others, but then we release them, move on, and accept the forgiveness, love, and peace that is waiting for us.
In today’s assignment, we ask that you take time to review your past and allow times of disappointment to come to your mind. A thorough search is not needed. As each incident surfaces, forgive yourself. If you feel you must offer an apology or restitution, you can follow up on those promptings. But, most of the time when we have disappointed other people has been overlooked or forgiven by them, and we are the only ones carrying that weight. Release the past. Live fully in the present.
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