Idiot Teenager Inventory
"God, help me to see those things that block me from You and Others."
Dumb, entitled, ingrate teenagers who threw trash out of the window while driving by my house.
a. Threw trash out of the window while driving by my house. Plus one of the kids' hats was on sideways and elevated. That doesn’t help.
P/A, SE (because I take it personally)
*Self-Seeking: I'm a tough guy. No one throws trash outside my house. Good thing they didn't stop. And besides being a tough guy, I'm also way too smart to do something that stupid.
*Selfish: I want others to act and think the way I do. Even more, I want these kids to feel ashamed for their stupidity (to indulge pride etc.).
*Dishonest: I take it personally not necessarily because I care so much about Mother Earth but because I don’t want to see the trash on the ground outside of my house. I don’t like the way it looks.
*Fear: I fear not being seen or noticed by others (for what I perceive to be good or superior qualities in myself).
Let's look at this because it is a great example of how we alone cause our resentment, not the person or people we'd like to blame.
Dumping garbage out of my window is not something I resent in myself because this really is something I would never do. I used to consider myself almost a different species from someone who would voluntarily throw shit out of their windows, including cigarettes. I found it vile. I was shocked and angered that these kids (the future) feel neither embarrassment, nor do they feel any reason to NOT throw crap on the ground. If I did something like that, even by accident, I'd be glowing with embarrassment.
So then, how was I self-seeking?
Originally, I figured it was that I wanted to be seen as smart and advanced, but when looking deeper, the truth is that it pissed me off because I took it personally. How dare anybody drive by my house and throw trash on the street, especially a bunch of teenage ingrates with no purpose to their existence other than aspiring to look incarcerated? At any rate, I wanted to rip the one who threw the trash out of the car and inflict shame and punishment on him. Why? The bottom line is that it affected my pride. I wanted to be seen as a tough guy. So it had less to do with the idiocy of throwing trash out of one's window and more to do with the fact that they did it in front of me. If they had been on another street and I didn't witness it, would it have pissed me off just the same? Nope.
So it's more honest to say that I wanted to be seen as a tough guy than as someone who is too smart to throw trash on the ground. I've left both answers so you can see that there is more than one, but the trick is to find the deepest truth, to discover what is really going on.
As far as selfish goes, I originally thought it was that I wanted others to be like me - to think, speak, dress and act the way I do. But when looking deeper, the truth is that I want these kids to know how ignorant they are and feel ashamed of it. Yup, sorry. I want the kid who threw the trash to feel shame, to suffer some kind of emotional consequence. Instead, they sped by laughing and screaming and blasting music... and that is what caused the resentment. It wasn't that they are different from me but that they did not suffer any consequence.
Why do I care so much that they suffer for what they did? Am I some justice man? Nope. Again, it's simply because I took it personally because they did it outside of my house. It makes me feel like some loser who gets trash thrown on his lawn, even though they don't know me from a hole in the wall. In this way it affects my self-esteem and how I see myself. Am I some schmuck that even dumb teenagers can walk all over? The truth is it had nothing to do with me, but you can see how I made it about me and this is what caused the resentment.
I was dishonest because I was lying to myself. That is, instead of being some righteous individual who doesn't ever litter, the truth is I took it personally. Avoiding that truth helped fuel the resentment. In my new book, "Anybody Can Take Steps" (due out this fall), the 4th Step chapter on our written moral inventory is very extensive, so hopefully it will help.
Finally, what was I afraid of? What did I fear? Originally I thought that I was afraid to love others, afraid to love these children despite our differences, but the truth is that I want recognition for those differences. These kids remind me that I'm not showing off who I am, my goodness, what I'm capable of, my talent. I'm afraid nobody will notice me. I know it sounds a little ridiculous to get all of this from a bunch of kids throwing a McDonald's bag out of the window (which is also annoying that is was McDonald's), but when we dig deep, get honest and see things clearly, we discover that our resentment is born, fueled and maintained within.
Everybody should go through this process when they cop resentments, or at least addicts and alcoholics. Why? Because it prevents us from wrongly judging others and from accumulating the poison of resentment within, which brings us down and can affect all aspects of our lives.