For me, all my character defects fall in the area of EGO. I strive daily to stay out of that neighborhood, but of course I often take a wrong turn and there I am again, usually ending up angry, resentful or hurt. The following sentence from Step 10 in AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions has been very helpful: “It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.”
So whenever I am disturbed, I have a three-step inventory that I do. I write the answers to the following questions: (1) What is “my stuff,” my part, my character defects in this situation? (2) What is this person or situation trying to teach me? (3)…and this is the killer…What am I grateful to this person or situation for?
By the time I have answered those three questions, I am no longer in the same frame of mind, no longer disturbed or as disturbed. This practice is the vehicle that drives me out of that dangerous neighborhood of ego and brings me back to the place I want to be, free of anger, resentment, judgment, at peace with the world and myself. The key to starting my vehicle is this inventory, and the fuel that gets me out of that neighborhood is found in question three: Gratitude.