Changing You: The Most Rewarding Unpaid Job You will Ever Have Part Two

MarilynDavisatTIERS By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 2nd Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3mz7qwg6/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Self-awareness

“Seeing within changes one's outer vision.” ― Joseph Chilton Pearce

Recap

Recap of Part One: Looking at ourselves and deciding what to change takes courage by fearlessly determining what within us is no longer working, what is harmful to us and to others, and accepting that we are both flawed and inspired to change.

This only happens after we overcome the natural resistance to change.

Changing Attitudes, Character Defects, Self-defeating Behaviors, and Negative Aspects

My next assignment from Grey Hawk was to use a dictionary and know what behaviors I thought were attitudes, character defects, self-defeating behaviors, or negative aspects.

Since this was 1988, there were not all of the Internet resources for finding information on Character Defects therefore it was not an easy search.

However, I was motivated to change, so I found what I needed.

Using Resources at Hand to Get Educated

I started with the 7 Deadly Sins. Although not a religious person, I knew that they could not possibly be productive.

I had gone back to school in my late thirties as a psychology major, so I had a few textbooks lying around as well. That gave me more qualities that were self-destructive and self-defeating.

I asked in a recovery support meeting if anyone could tell me where to find defects of character in our literature. Several group members starting laughing and one spoke up and said, “Oh, you know what they are.”

I politely stated that if I knew what they were, I would not be asking; then a kind woman told me we would have coffee after the meeting.

I got many ideas from her, and did not interrupt with what I knew, so I genuinely could see some progress in my arrogance and fear of not being the best student.

Look at your Predictable or Normal Reaction - The Beginning of Change

Say your normal reaction to the messy house after a tired and stressful day at work is to complain, become a martyr, lament about all you do for the family and remind them in that reproachful voice that all you ask is that the kids clean up their stuff.

Talking at them the whole time you are going to the kitchen, where you intentionally or unintentionally yank open the cabinet doors to get plates on the table.

Stop

If you take a deep breath, enlist their help with dinner in exchange for your help in picking up the homework papers on the floor, backpacks in the hall, and water bottles on the side table, it can lessen the tension, shame and get both things done.

It is a compromise; it is a new way of negotiating cooperation, and it may just demonstrate that your behaviors, actions, and thoughts are different.

An interesting thing happens in many families when one person changes their behaviors, actions, and thoughts; it removes a predictable cog from the machine, and others adjust.

If the initial changes are for the better, the family unit changes for the better by modifying their behaviors, actions, and thoughts to conform.

Adopting Better Attitudes, Admirable Qualities, Spiritual Principles and Positive Aspects

When Grey Hawk and I met the following week, he thought the negative list very inclusive, and assigned me the next part, determining what aspects were redeeming, positive and demonstrated, as he put it, good moral character.

Better Qualities are Already within Us, We Just Have to Use Them

I was genuinely surprised to find many of the qualities within myself from my list, even if I had not used them in my addiction.

I could reference a time on the playground when I had been caring and compassionate towards a little girl who other students bullied. I made a decision to play with her instead of joining the cause and bullying her.

I realized that I did have some humility when I listened to the woman after the meeting or was patient with someone just leaving detox and still foggy as they struggled to read before the meeting.

I saw that I was going to have to unlearn many of the negative aspects and character defects, however, I was not going to have to learn nearly as many “good” qualities as I had originally thought.

I was only going to have to use the ones I had and add a few more.

Learn to Mentally Flex and Change Your Behaviors, Actions, and Thoughts

Human nature is quite flexible, capable of evolving one way or another. The naturalist and biologist Stephen J. Gould has argued, “Flexibility is the hallmark of human evolution,” that in a sense we are “permanent children.” He explains that in other mammals, exploration, play, and flexibility of behavior are qualities of juveniles, only rarely of adults, but suggests that the process of natural selection has made such qualities — especially mental flexibility — “a fundamental process in our evolution.”

Choices: Apples or Oranges? Character Defects or Admirable Qualities?

If apples and oranges are both fruits, then Character Defects or Spiritual Principles are similar; both are behaviors.

You can operate from character defects and self-defeating behaviors, or you can operate from better attitudes, admirable qualities, spiritual principles, or positive aspects.

Just as the fruits are readily available, and it is your choice which you choose to eat, so it is with which aspects you choose to operate from in your life.

Resources for Help and an Interesting Book on Changing Character Defects

While geared towards individual in recovery, this information on Sobriety TV is beneficial for anyone wanting to know more about individual character defects. It is concise and informative.
Another source for specific study of character defects is Stools and Bottles: A Study of Character Defects - 31 Daily Meditations

Learning the 17 Spiritual Principles of 12 Step recovery will help anyone change and improve their lives, regardless of whether they are in recovery or not.

At the End of the Day

I review each night, which side of the fence did I come down on, the character defects or the admirable qualities. Reflection on your actions should become a working part of your day; it will help you see where you have been successful and what qualities you used to accomplish that day's goal of personal change.

• Starting a journal helps the narrative person track their progress
• A spreadsheet of behaviors and outcomes helps a task-oriented people

Likewise, if your day has not been entirely productive or you have a lot of negative reactions to your life situations, see if you are operating more from Character Defects and Self-defeating behaviors.

If on the other hand, you like your outcomes, review your attitudes, principles and aspects to see what your motivations were.

The following day, choose to stay the same or change depending on your evaluation from the night before.


For additional articles on Addiction and Recovery by Marilyn Davis:

Wikinut: Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning.

Credits:
Sun and Moon: Morgue Files
Attitudes, Qualities, Principles and Aspects: Marilyn Davis for TIERS

Tags

Adopting Spiritual Principles, Becoming A Better Person, Changing Attitudes, Changing Character Defects, Changing Self-Defeating Behaviors, Changing You, Unpaid Job, Using Positive Aspects

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Mark. Thank you for moderating this page. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Another great article. I think you and Siva are opposite sides of the same coin -- he talks a lot of big picture, while you deal in direct methods for self-awareness and change. Perhaps you are not the same coin: He is "the forest" while you are "the trees." I enjoy reading both your works.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Phyl. Thank you for the add-on about Siva; I like his writing and to be in the same area is a compliment. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

It is actually quite interesting the different writing styles and different approaches people take to things. Thanks Marilyn.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Mark. Nice to have you moderate and comment. I value your input. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Connie McKinney
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Marilyn, another interesting article. I learn something new every time I read one of your articles.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Connie. Thank you. Another Grey Hawk - give knowledge away, it makes room to learn something new - so I actually have a self-serving motive in sharing. Tonight, I'll read other's articles and learn from them. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

well done Marilyn...we all have to express our own way and you do it beautifully....

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Carolina - as do you. You have a unique style that I would find hard to replicate - thanks for sharing it. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks Marilyn for another thought provoking post. As we grow older we become quite set in our thinking and habits, even thin-skinned, so all the more reason to get them right earlier! But we have to be on the look out for warts and all that can escape us and even our dear and near ones might not point out. In a way like when one's spouse strays the husband/wife will be the last one to know!

I have learned over time to understand what makes people successful in their own fields and have tried to adapt their positive qualities, an ongoing process. It is not easy to be liked - forget about being loved! But we can go by our conscience to be useful.

I have to thank Phil for the mention but I think almost all are alike wedded to peace and want to be left alone mostly, so my posts highlight the flaws in society that make peace and coexistence slip between the cup and the lip. It is like different beliefs but merging later at the feet of the Creator. Thanks Marilyn for your kind words too, appreciated - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Siva. I think I created an illusion when communication became so open; that everyday people could bridge differences and there could be peace. Alas, that does not seem to be the case. Yet, I believe that we must continue to give people ways to change that might also involve changing prejudices, injustices, and harm to others. Thank you for your words, Siva. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

I liked this article. It gave me some ideas where I need to improve on. Thank you for sharing. :-)

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Starrleena. Thank you for commenting. I encourage you to make changes that will benefit your life. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

your heartfelt wisdoms and comments Marilyn carry much light..you are a blessing to us...

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Carolina. As do yours. To share is circulate care and concern, just as it frees us to learn more ourselves. Thank you for the kind words. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Nice post!

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Fern. Thanks! ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ian R Thorpe
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Science says we can't change, experience says we can.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Ian. It is rather like the bumble bee that is not supposed to fly. The bumble bee is perhaps more fortunate in that it cannot read reports of its inabilities. Thanks for the additional thoughts. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password