“It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about “justifiable” anger? If somebody cheats us, aren’t we entitled to be mad? Can’t we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us of A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.” The Big Book, Step Ten
Ever since I have adopted the practice of first recognizing my own role in a conflict, I have experienced so much more peace than I ever thought possible. The old me used to have arguments in my own head with the people I was angry with. In my head, I had iron-clad perspectives – I was never wrong. If I could only craft the perfect explanation for why I was right, I could convince the other of their wrongness, and my right self would prevail! But most of these debates never happened in real life, and those that did went south fast! Of course they did – because I was never truly as right as I thought I was.
When I finally started to figure out my own role in the disagreement, and when I finally started to work on fixing me (and not them), my relationships surprisingly got better. I felt a peace within me as I strengthen my own attitudes and behaviors, and left the strengthening of others’ attitudes and behaviors to them.
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.