Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Scripts

Another script that runs in my head is "You're an ingrate!"

My answer these days? "No, I am a person who happens to have been ungrateful at times." I'm not immutably ungrateful by nature. If I were, would I even be aware of my ingratitude or capable of the gratitude I feel right now and which grows stronger every day?

I have not always been as grateful as I ought to have been, indeed as I would have been if I knew then what I knew now. In many cases, there is time to make amends and to express gratitude belatedly. In other cases, I can pledge to pay forward what I received, and I can take comfort in knowing that in most cases the gifts I received were freely given with no expectation of thanks.

There are other scripts to which I may make analogous retorts. I am NOT inconsiderate; I just haven't always shown the consideration that I ought to have done. I am NOT selfish; I just happen to have failed to seize on all the opportunities I have had to be generous. I don't need to internalize every misstep and failure as a character flaw. I can confess my faults and move on knowing that I am capable of improvement.

In the past, I always failed to distinguish between what I had done or failed to do and who I am. Then the scripts had me. If I denied being an ingrate, a bill of particulars consisting of a series of instances of ingratitude could be brought against me. If I denied being inconsiderate, then here would come the indictments in the form of every little instance of inconsideration. And so on with every human failing. I was not just a sinner; I was sin itself.

I'm not claiming that I have conquered the scripts, not by a long shot. But recognizing them for what they are should be a big help to me in practicing self forgiveness and being open to self improvement.

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