Friday, April 20, 2007

Honesty and the Moral Inventory

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I have been on a quest to improve myself, to fix some of the character flaws that have plagued me for years. It only makes sense that such an endeavor begins with identifying my flaws, determining what has held me back and where I need work.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. The process begins with a thorough moral inventory, where I can identify some of these flaws. Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve become very good at hiding these flaws from myself, so identifying them is not so easy. I must get honest with myself, and face aspects of my life more comfortably hidden.

When I began this process, I was told that many of these defects were actually useful tools when I employed them, enabling me to survive until this point. Even so, I retain a fair amount of shame and embarrassment over these defects of character, so facing them is a tough task.

But now, survival, and thrival, depends upon identifying these defects of character. The process can be painful. I am examining moments from my past which I prefer to ignore, times that I mercifully avoided for years. Some of these events were not my fault where others were; sometimes I played a huge role in my own misery, and sometimes situations were completely beyond my control; but all these events made me who I am today.

Improving myself requires working through the feelings associated with these events. And any real improvement depends upon rigorous honesty, upon looking myself in the mirror (which is not so easy to begin with) and seeing who I really am, what I really believe, and what I am responsible for. Anything less than rigorous honesty and I’m doing myself a huge disservice, as I’ll never get better.

The question is, how do you find the truth when you’ve lied to yourself for so long?

The answer is far more astonishing: the truth just feels right. When I find the truth, there is a certain sense of relief at finding it. Yes, there is a great deal of pain associated with the truth, but there is also the definite feeling of unburdening a great load carried for a great deal of time.

Oddly enough, slowly but surely I’m seeing some of my greatest defects slip away. My anger is subsiding, and I feel myself becoming a better friend to those around me and to myself. Plus, it’s only the beginning; I can only imagine that working to resolve these issues will continue to make me a better person.

It all starts with honest. Being honest with myself is paramount. As I grow more honest with myself, I grow more honest with the people around me. I am only at the beginning of this path, but I’m excited by where it will lead me. And to walk this path, all I need is the courage to face myself, and the honesty to see it clearly. I chose the path; I chose honesty.

Posted by Scottage at 1:19 AM / | |