The Big Red Stop Sign

I used to lash out at others even though such behavior only alienated them. I used to think that ruminating over something I could not change, like a bad call in a tennis match, was somehow going to improve a lost outcome. But all it did was distract me and make me resentful. I used to think that trying to be perfect was an asset, but all it did was make me feel worse when I inevitably was not perfect. I used to think that worrying would somehow help me, but all it did was make me more fearful. I used to think selfishness, impatience, dishonesty and other character defects actually helped me. But all they did was make me anxious, depressed and then drunk. Part of my problem was my mistaken belief that these character defects (angry outbursts, ruminating, worrying. perfectionism, etc.) had some value in getting my way. The beginning of change for me was realizing that they are NEVER effective in any way. 


Today I will remember that character defects don't help me or anyone else. I will be aware of my feelings, and if a feeling is threatening to make me "act out" in a self-defeating way, I will remember that "acting out" is a character defect, and my character defects do not have any redeeming value. I will then envision a RED STOP SIGN, take three deep breaths, and enjoy the freedom that results from not turning a challenging feeling into a character defect.