Thinking some more about “character defects” as being the same as dysfunctional behaviors learned in childhood, I saw that the most damaging one is my inability to take in positive feedback — either what people say to me, or some sense of satisfaction from what I accomplish. I can say “I washed the dishes, good for me!” and I don’t feel anything, but I’m hoping if I keep doing it long enough that it will make a difference. I thought about the long difficult process of buying the car, and how I was able, after I bought the Prius, to reassure myself that I had done OK, because if I had spent a lot more time and energy trying to find a better deal, whatever money it saved me would not be worth the time and energy and emotional drain. But I never really felt any satisfaction either.
[Update from May 16. I just checked the miles per gallon, and for the last 444 miles I got 56 mpg. Felt a lot of satisfaction!!]
I can see that I need to change that, but have no idea what to do. “Not knowing what to do” is a serious trigger for me, because it was the one survival skill I had in my childhood. Using my intellect was my only source of praise and support, which came from my teachers at school and not from Mom & Dad. Actually, I do know what to do, just keep practicing noticing and acknowledging my “successes,” and feeling compassion for myself. That looks like it will take forever, and I don’t have that many years left. It did occur to me that seeing that I can’t really do this myself reminds me of the Twelve Steps and asking for the help of “God as I understand God.”
It’s reassuring somehow that it takes three steps to accomplish this process, after the initial one of the “searching and fearless moral inventory.”
Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step Seven: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
I haven’t completed Step Five, so I will read my “character defects” to Erica today. Yes, I am “entirely willing.” So I will start asking Divine Process to please help me change this.