Yesterday, I wrote about belief system. But how many of us actually take a moral inventory of what we value, so we actually know what we believe?!
In times of stress or if you're dealing with a personal trauma, it's not always easy to distinguish between what is moral or immoral behavior. Although we may set a standard for ourselves, we often overlook behavior in others, both at home and at work. The problem with doing that, however, is that it may give someone permission to treat you in a way you wouldn't accept in "normal" circumstances, and vice versa.
This is what happened to me during my marriage, except, I wasn't aware that I was doing this--at least, not on a conscious level. I wasn't even aware that I was doing this long before my marriage. That was an important observation for me. It kept me from trying to assign blame.
As I write about often here, awareness is key.
It is for this reason that reviewing what we value, what we care about, how we want to be treated and how we want to treat others is important. It's a good reason why spiritual fellowship with others who share your beliefs is important; it helps hold you accountable.
When I first took a moral inventory of myself, I was told to ask myself these two basic questions:
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
That was easy enough. But then it got harder. I was told to dig deeper, and look at my strengths and weaknesses in relationship to or with the following:
_Those Less Fortunate
_Friends, Co-workers, Employees
When it got to the point where I had to look at all my losses from various stages in life (childhood, adolescence, teenage years, adulthood), I wasn't quite sure I could finish. I had experienced the death of a father, an abusive childhood home, uncertainty about where I'd be living, childhood abandonment, two teenage pregnancies and a marriage, single motherhood, the death of a second spouse, and on and on. It was too much when I looked at it all at once like that. I was glad to be working with a mental health expert and a spiritual guide who helped me work through these losses and what they meant to me.
I benefitted greatly when I found a 12-Step program. It helped teach me to see the losses for what they gave me and not for what they took away.
And I realized that the work never ends. Even though I took the moral inventory that first time, I knew I'd have to keep doing it for as long as it took, for as many times as I needed to be reminded of what I valued, what I cherished and what I might need to change.
If you've ever looked inside yourself that deeply, what was the greatest lesson you took away?