Lately, I’ve been more aware of my character defect of self-sufficiency. One of the way this manifests itself is I try to get through my tough times alone. I don’t reach out for help or support during my struggles. I’m much more inclined to share with you AFTER I’ve “made it through” and tell you what I’ve learned. But, to share where I’m at, to be transparent about what’s really going on at the time, to take off the mask and let you see my pain when I’m in the middle of it, is not one of natural reactions.
This, I’ve known for awhile. I’ve become more aware of it recently as I’ve been through some dark times. So, I’ve also been trying to share more – in the midst of my challenges.
But, I recently realized how clear of a role my ego plays in this inability to be honest – with myself and with others. In some of my regular 12-step meetings, I’ve found myself being hesitant to share what I’m going through. But this week, I ventured out to a new meeting, just to try something different. As I sat waiting for the meeting to start, I realized I didn’t know anyone in the room. As I reflected on what I might want to share about my week, as part of my increased transparency, I realized something was missing from my gut. No fear. No shame. No concern of what people might think. No “reputation” to protect.
No ego. No conflict of interest.
I understood this in theory on one level – but it really struck me that evening as I sat there, how much my ego plays into my ability to be honest, transparent. I worry about what people will think of me – how how I might be judged. And the sad irony is, I’m more willing to open up with total strangers, than I am with those who know me, who are close to me. Very sad.
Part of this is human nature. Part of this is my addictive nature. Part of this comes from years of keeping others at a distance. Part of this comes from years of anonymous online chatting. I understand all of that.
Yet I know I’m robbing myself of so much. I know I can’t do this on my own. I know I need others. I also know people don’t think about me as much as I think they do.
So hopefully, the next time I hesitate to share in one of my regular meetings, or with friends and family outside of the rooms of recovery — hopefully, I’ll move past my ego, drop the mask, and share what’s really going on at the time, even without the answer or solution. Who knows what I might gain… And just for today, I know that I’m losing when I don’t.