Not accepting my limitations and the limitations of others is something that has caused me great pains, and I know that I am not unique in that. I have found that working on acceptance of myself - and all of my flaws - has allowed me to more easily accept the flaws of others. I'll say it again because I have to remind myself of how backwards I had it for years. I HAVE TO ACCEPT MYSELF BEFORE I CAN TRULY ACCEPT OTHERS. This is just how it works for me.
Several years ago, at 4 years sober, I was in the midst of agonizing non-acceptance. My job was stressful to the point of causing me physical and mental illness which landed me twice in the hospital. The first time, the health care professionals said I needed to change my lifestyle to fit my limitations and my reply was, "No, I need to change my physical and mental capabilities to fit the lifestyle I want" (or thought I "needed"). Needless to say, this attitude is why I ended up in the hospital the second time, six months later.
Since then I have not been able to work which leads me to a discussion on tradition 7 (self-supporting through my own contributions.) I spent three years berating myself for not being capable of working because of my illnesses. Rather than being grateful, I felt guilty for the help I received financially, and angry at myself because I was not able to be "self-supportive."
Upon honest appraisal, pride and self-pity (which is pride is reverse according the one of our books) were the real reasons for my misery. I will write more about this in a subsequent post.
I am just coming off of a year-long step 4 and 5 journey (a searching and fearless moral inventory and many step 5 sessions with my sponsor and counselor.) As a result, I am slowly beginning to accept my limitations as well as my character defects.
The first frees me from the chains of pride and egoism while the second frees me from the torture of attempting perfectionism. I work steps 6 and 7 on my character defects, and I work on acceptance of my physical and mental limitations.
How to tell the difference between the two used to stress me out. The Serenity Prayer (Grant me the serenity to acceptance what I can't change, courage to change what I can and the wisdom to know the difference) was very applicable during these times, but I found out that wisdom to know the difference isn't just given to me because I ask for it - I had to do the work in steps 4 and 5 to gain that wisdom. It was SO hard but well worth it.
What do you have difficulty accepting? What actions have helped you come to accept things in your life that you used to fight against?